This year at the Belvoir Annual Awards our Best Newcomer Award went to a franchisee called Tom Cartwright, who opened a new office in Exmouth in 2022. Tom is an ambitious ex-marine who launched his business after completing on the purchase of a well-established business called @Home Estate and Lettings Agent and then rebranding it to Belvoir. Opening as a hot start is a fantastic way for a new business owner to hit the ground running, and it is just one of the ways that Belvoir is expanding into new territories throughout the UK. If you are a new franchisee there will always be a lot to think about, especially during that critical first year, when you are trying so hard to get established, attract new customers, and retain existing ones. This month I thought I would focus on what I consider to be some of the key issues that can help new franchisees maximise the potential of their investment.
Be prepared for a steep learning curve
If you are coming from being an employee and you are now in business for yourself for the first time. There will be so much information to try and understand, process, and implement. For example, you will need to learn about tax, cash flow, employment law, HR, new software, legal matters, and compliance etc. You will also need to learn how to deal with customers, which can be a whole other challenge, but nevertheless essential, particularly in a people industry.
If your new franchise is in an area of business that you don’t have a lot of previous experience in, you can expect there to be a lot more skills to learn. However, with the right levels of professional training this is all very doable, and our new franchisees are testament to this fact.
Concentrate on establishing and maintaining a good team of people to work with you
If you are buying an existing business, there will hopefully be an existing team in place who can provide continuity for your clients. In those first weeks, work on getting to know everyone and maintaining the team before introducing any major changes. If you are launching a new business, or some existing team members decide to leave, take the opportunity to create a new team of reliable, trustworthy people who will be as committed as you to establishing the business in your area.
When there are too many things to think about, try and focus on the things that matter most
In that first year it is natural to feel overwhelmed at times, but my advice is to purely concentrate on business performance, as everything else will feed from that. If your business isn’t performing well, everything else becomes so much more challenging. Talk to your business development manager, follow the business model of your chosen franchise, and trust that in doing so your business will become successful.
Make the most of all the support available to you
Even if you are incredibly busy, make time to attend networking meetings, meet up with your business development mentor, and of course take advantage of all the advice that is offered by more experienced franchisees. Established franchisees are usually very generous with their time and can be an invaluable source of support and guidance. All franchisees remember what those early days in business were like, and the challenges you will face. This is when being part of an established franchise network really comes into its own.
Finally, think of your first year in business to climbing a mountain
Even if you have worked on your strategy, invested in the right equipment, and gathered your support team, at the end of the day you are the person will have to put the work in and make the climb.
Franchisee Paul Collins recently sold his Belvoir Lincoln business after nearly 27 years and is now looking forward to a wonderful retirement. Reflecting on his time as a franchisee, Paul has no regrets, and said: “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now without Belvoir – becoming a Belvoir franchisee was definitely the best thing for me.” Paul has climbed his mountain and is living proof that the view from the top is definitely worth it!