According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, Britain’s new business owners reached record numbers in 2021.
The research found that the percentage of adults starting a business reached 12.6 per cent last year, the highest since the study began in the late 1990s. The researchers also noted that the UK had enjoyed strong employment growth in 2021 and that the business owners could have found jobs if they had preferred, so there has been a shift to self-employment with a desire to take control.
You may be thinking about self-employment yourself but wondering what you could do, as well as being nervous about the prospect of going it alone. The idea of having more control over your working life as well as the satisfaction of building a business can be very attractive so looking at franchising is a great start.
There is a lot of advice out there about what you should look for in a franchisor. You should check them out thoroughly before you part with any money and be completely happy that it is the right franchise for you.
The franchisor should also check you out, ensuring that you have the right experience, skills, and ambition to become a successful franchisee in their network.
So, what do you need to do to ‘prove’ that you are the right fit for a franchise and how do you give yourself the best chance of success?
Be honest with yourself
How much do you really want to be your own boss? Is running your own business something you have always had in the back of your mind, or is it just that you are currently fed up at work? There’s nothing wrong with that but be honest with yourself about how hard you want to work and what risks you are happy taking.
Think about your skills and experience and what you enjoy doing most. What sort of business will those skills contribute towards? Is there an industry sector that you have an interest in? Many of our franchisees at Revive! love cars and have an interest in the automotive sector (even though that isn’t vital to becoming a franchisee!).
How self-motivated are you? Running a franchise will come with training and support but you will normally need to be very involved in the business, especially in the early stages.
My previous Elite Franchise column went into more detail about the research you should do before buying a franchise. This is so important to ensure that you choose the right one for you but also one which will provide you with the support and training you need. Check out the British Franchise Association directory of members, speak to existing franchisees, research the franchisor itself and make sure you do your due diligence. Buying a franchise is probably one of the most important decisions you will make, after buying a house!
Don’t think it will all be done for you
Franchising isn’t about sitting back and letting the franchisor run the business for you. It gives you a structure to work to and support and training, both at the outset and on an ongoing basis. It will probably involve much harder work than corporate life, without the monthly salary and perks. You may need to take a cut in salary at the beginning while you build the business. But it will be a business of your own, where you take your own decisions and have the freedom to run your work life in the way you prefer. No more commuting or dealing with colleagues you don’t get on with!
Follow the model
Once you have bought a franchise, take advantage of the wealth of knowledge your franchisor should have! Don’t try and reinvent the way the model works or add in additional products or services before you have established your franchise and know how the business works. You have paid to access the franchisor’s know-how and experience so make sure you follow the guidance they provide.
If you are struggling with anything, ask for help and additional support. Sometimes it is hard to take everything in at your initial training, there is always a lot to cover so you might need a refresher or two.
It will be hard work at the outset, you will need to build up your business, employ staff, find and keep your customers and everything will be your responsibility. In order to be a successful franchisee and business owner, you need to have resilience and perseverance. Not everything will go exactly to plan, things outside your control will happen.
Ask for help when you need it, that is what your franchisor is there to provide. You can also get support from your fellow franchisees, sometimes all you need is the knowledge that you are not alone.
And that in a nutshell, is the strength of franchising at its best – you are in business for yourself, but not by yourself!