When thinking of large franchises, we often think of these brands as having a cooperate infrastructure. But, did you know that these multi-million-pound brands such as Boots began as family-run businesses?
In addition to financial and administrative challenges, having a business partnership within the family can be a difficult balance to manage. Whilst Bloom Baby Classes was founded singlehandedly by Victoria Jennings, a baby development specialist, many of its teachers have launched their classes alongside relatives. Below, Victoria discusses the importance of balancing work and play when launching alongside a family member.
Make sure you are covered
Whilst you might be the best of friends with your relative, it’s important not to let legalities slide – you will both need secure foundations in the business just in case something goes wrong. It’s important to remember that having a legal agreement doesn’t mean you don’t trust your family member. Instead, it simply means you are both aware of your responsibilities to the franchisor and each other. Whilst you are on this exciting new career path together, you also need to be covered – as a unit, and separately. It’s also important to be open to talking about finances too – you will both need clear business plans to ensure your targets are met and your business is a success.
Hannah-Mae Pinder, a teacher who launched her Bloom classes based in North Leeds and Wetherby alongside her mum in September 2022 recognises the importance of covering each party equally. “Franchising with your family is amazing, just make sure you know each other inside out and are willing to take the necessary steps to practically own the franchise together. Have the same values and be on the same page about the future of your business. Go into the partnership as equals and try to keep it that way – legally and personally.”
Keep work and play separate
Even if you don’t live with your family member, it can be easy to make your entire relationship about work. If you are collaborating together on building your franchise for extended periods of time, the lines between your professional and personal life can become blurred. Therefore, it’s crucial to make rules and stick to them, such as no discussion of work at family gatherings and no business strategy chats during your weekly coffee together. Appreciate your time together as relatives rather than colleagues – having quality downtime ensures you’re not constantly in work mode and allows you to properly rest and relax.
Honesty is the best policy
For a business partnership to succeed, there is nothing more important than honesty. As family members, you will both want what’s best for each other – but this doesn’t mean you need to put on a front for each other. Honesty is always the best policy and, if you want your relative to succeed as much as you do, it’s better to come together and honestly share what you think would be best for the future of your business.
As new business partners, it’s also better to work to each other’s advantage. Communicate these strengths and shortcomings openly and honestly with each other and with your franchisor – this will help you formulate a plan to help your business thrive. “Being a teacher is more physical than we thought it would be, and, with mum having MS, we’ve communicated honestly and found a dynamic that works for us,” says Hannah. “I do the back-to-back teaching sessions and she works more behind the scenes, helping to teach when our classes are busier.”