Start-up on your own or buy a franchise in 2023?

If returning to work has made you question your current employment and you're thinking about starting up your own business, have you considered buying a franchise instead?

Start-up on your own or buy a franchise in 2023?

Darren Taylor started life as a franchisee himself and now owns multiple franchise businesses. Here he shares with you his honest evaluation of whether it is best to start up your own business or buy into an existing franchise.

If you’re reading this article, presumably you’re looking for advice on which road to take, starting up your own business or buying into an existing franchise operation, and, as an experienced franchisor, I’d have to say that each has its own merits. Remember, at the beginning of every franchise story is a man or woman who was brave enough to start that business in the first place, so in no way would I ever discourage it, but I’d suggest you weigh up the pros and cons and see which suits you best.

Starting up your own business

The great thing about starting up your own business is that you can do exactly what you want. No one is going to tell you how much to charge, where to buy your products, how to handle invoices, what colours, fonts or logo to use, none of it. You can build your own website, run your own social media channels, do your own digital marketing, write your own copy, hire as many staff as you need, choose where and how to run your business and ultimately keep all the profits. It is 100% down to you. Exciting huh? Or terrifying?

Being an entrepreneur suits some people, they live for the buzz, and they don’t mind risking it all on a venture. In fact, most millionaires will tell you they had to lose their entire fortune, once or twice, before they learned how to run a business properly, so if that’s you, go for it!

Investing in a franchise

If you fall into the other category of people who like their life with a little less drama, then franchising could be for you. They are similar in that you still get the thrill of starting and running your own business, seeing the rewards grow as you work hard, but with overall less risk. 

Why? Well for starters, as a franchisee, you’ll be using tried and tested business methods, which automatically makes it a safer bet. Not only has your franchisor spent many years running the business themselves, but they’ve also almost certainly spent a long time helping other franchisees do the same. There won’t be much that’s new to them and they’re perfectly placed to help you make a success of your business.

When you buy a franchise, you will be fully trained, from providing the actual service (eg washing commercial vehicles, sweeping chimneys or grinding tree stumps), to accounting, advertising, admin and everything in between.

At the point where the entrepreneur is looking at a blank excel spreadsheet wondering where on earth to start, you will have already been through weeks of training and have a hefty operations manual beside you, or online, to double-check anything you might have missed. You’ll have a franchisor on the end of the phone for questions and a network of other franchisees, all running the same kind of business as you, ready and waiting to help you. Joining a franchise can be like joining a family, all looking out for each other.

As long as you choose wisely, you’ll also be joining a brand with a great reputation and a Google position to match. When someone looks up your business or service, they’ll hopefully find the link near the top of Google and will eventually arrive at a well-established, professionally designed website, full of stories about the success of the business. Your new business will look established and reputable, something that would take years to build on your own.

Which to choose? Franchise or start-up?

That’s a hard one and only really something you can answer. If you have a burning passion and genuinely believe you can build a business from scratch, then go for it. Who knows, you might even franchise it and help others to enjoy the freedom of being self-employed one day.

If, however, you are edging towards investing in a franchise, then I’d say do large amounts of research and reading and have a look at some of the other articles I have written for about buying a franchise.  With these as your guide, you won’t go far wrong.

Top tips to turbo-charge your new franchise purchase

Killer questions a franchisor won’t want you to ask but you absolutely must

Three surprising facts about owning a franchise

Three unforgivable sins in franchising

Avoid a Halloween fright – three facts you need to know before buying a franchise

Give yourself the greatest gift of all, a new career for 2023

Whatever you do, good luck, give it your all and make sure you always have a specialist franchise solicitor (not the one who helped you buy your house), to look over the franchise agreement before you sign anything. You can find a list of them on the British Franchise Association website.

Darren Taylor
Darren Taylor