Unlocking potential through franchising

Aspiring entrepreneurs face a pivotal decision when starting out. Should they embark on the challenging journey of building an independent business from scratch or explore the world of franchising?

Unlocking potential through franchising

Paula Murphy is a mum-of-three and a multi-unit franchisee for Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries. Having opted to do the latter, she offers her insights on why it’s increasingly advantageous to choose a franchise as your next business venture. And, in Paula’s case, how she overcame the personal and professional setback of developing Bell’s palsy during pregnancy through the freedom found in franchising. 

Not many people know that Bell’s palsy is a common side effect of pregnancy, I did, but it was still a shock. I’d always been prepared to resume my previous career, but the diagnosis changed my plans. I had been a qualified occupational psychologist and even owned my own training company. However, given my circumstances at the time, I retrained as a childminder so that I could spend time at home with my daughter and earn an income simultaneously. Through hard work and ever-increasing demand, I grew my childminding business to a level where the next logical step was to open a nursery. This is when I decided to invest in franchising.

Despite the confidence I had in my own business abilities, I knew that starting my own independent nursery could have been an uphill battle, simply because I didn’t have the background in early years education. Securing the finances and getting all the required paperwork and permits was going to be tough. I was familiar with franchising from my previous career, and I wanted to explore the opportunities that were available to me. That’s when I found out about Monkey Puzzle Day Nurseries.

My decision to invest felt like a no-brainer. Like so many new franchisees, I felt reassured by the quality of the model and the support available. In fact, I was taken aback by just how much support you get as a franchisee – and I know that is commonplace throughout the industry. 

Consumers feel inherent trust in a recognisable company or service which was a major benefit of investing in a franchise. I knew Monkey Puzzle was a serious brand just from my research – they’ve been operating for 20 years and have over 70 locations. If I’d have started on my own, I would’ve had to have built up the brand from scratch and wouldn’t have fostered the level of trust parents already had in Monkey Puzzle.

And from a financial standpoint, starting any nursery has significant upfront costs. So, securing a location and building a presence through marketing are all costs franchisees need to factor into their budgets, the support you can get in bringing this to fruition is worth its weight in gold. Back in 2011, when I launched my first location, I didn’t have the finances to open a new nursery. Franchising gave me the opportunity to access a payment structure I could afford and from there I could go about growing the business. 

But, for me, the biggest benefit of franchising was in my journey to overcome personal struggles and achieve my own goals as a busy working mum. Bell’s palsy really affected me back then and is still something I deal with today, but I was very self-conscious at the start and didn’t share the experiences a new mum should have. Franchising provided me with the opportunity to embark on a new career in early years education. I have since become a multi-unit franchisee with a large team of wonderful staff. 

I was at a career crossroads and franchising set me on the path to success. I don’t think I would be in this position if I’d started my own nursery. Falling back on the support and systems provided by Monkey Puzzle has meant my work-life balance is so much better.  I can fit work around my kids’ lives, and we can spend so much more time together as a family.

I am of the mindset that franchising can be beneficial for budding entrepreneurs from all walks of life, regardless of circumstance. Franchising empowers people to reach their full potential, allowing people, like me, to flourish.

Paula Murphy
Paula Murphy