Drawing the line: top tips for launching a franchise with family members

Going into business with family is incredibly popular in this country. In fact, a staggering two-thirds of UK businesses are family owned

Drawing the line: top tips for launching a franchise with family members

Going into business with family is incredibly popular in this country. In fact, a staggering two-thirds of UK businesses are family owned – 4.8 million in total. But with so much advice circulating on how to approach business operations with a family member following a franchise launch, it is rarely addressed just how important it is to nurture professional partnerships and adopt the right mentality long before even becoming a lead. Here, Ryan Armitage, director of healthcare recruitment franchise, Tezlom, discusses what to consider when prospects decide to bring ‘home’ into the workplace and equally how to forge incredible success from managing a professional family dynamic.

Work out the dynamic

When you decide to go into franchising with a partner, it’s important to remember that the impression you make must be doubly impressive to franchisors and recruitment teams! So, one of the top priorities when preparing to launch a franchise with a loved one is to put it all in black and white before you even make initial contact with a brand. Ask yourselves, what will your professional partnership look like? How will you ensure your personal life doesn’t impede the development of business ownership? What processes will be in place to keep work and home separate? It doesn’t have to be about reinventing the wheel, but stripping your relationship to the bare bones and establishing hard rules and values to live by professionally is a great way of protecting yourselves. Franchising with family can further embed a culture of collaboration and trust into the workplace. Considering this, it is a great idea for each party to ‘sell themselves’ professionally, highlighting exactly what they would bring to the partnership. This, in turn, is a great way of adjusting your thinking to begin distinguishing what defines your personal relationship against your professional one. 

Consider your legacy

Family legacy is a huge motivating factor for prospects looking at business ownership today. Even since the industry’s earliest days, franchising has served as a vehicle for those looking to forge a legacy in business. Whether it’s the freedom to run a business in a local community, being given guidance and well-structured support in a professional development journey or simply the motivation to say, “I’ve got this!” – the importance of those driven to leave a legacy behind can’t be discounted. When you sit down and discuss the idea of co-owning a franchise with a loved one, think about the lasting impression you want to leave on your community, your network and even those in your family who aren’t involved in your business. 

At Tezlom, for example, our whole business has been built on the notion of family legacy through a mother-son partnership. It’s therefore imperative that we appreciate our individual strengths and do everything we can to support one another. Our different skillsets and understanding where to ‘draw the lines’ consistently help us transition between our professional and personal relationships. It’s this unwritten understanding which can certainly be maximised in any family dynamic – while every family is different, there are always ways to find common ground and identify what it is that makes your relationship special and unique. So, as you’re entering this next exciting chapter, check in regularly in a wound down setting and take each day as it comes – your partnership means you have each other’s backs, so enjoy the process!

Start professional discussions early

Sure, experience, ambition and passion are all important characteristics of successful franchisees, but mentality – especially when making the distinction between personal and professional family relationships – is imperative. Whether seasoned entrepreneurs or relative newcomers to the franchise industry, you should adopt good habits and practices before even looking for the brand to invest in. This way, you won’t feel rushed into making any decisions and you’ll also have ample opportunity to consider what might have changed about your dynamic as you prepare to enter the next stage of your franchise journey. Remember, the franchise industry has evolved throughout history, thanks to incredible networks of people making brands work for them as opposed to it being the other way around. You’re about to embark on a huge journey in your professional (and personal) lives, so make sure your own relationship marries well with the values, mission and feel of brands you plan to approach. Consider scheduling specific times to begin discussing the more serious things, which will also involve putting home life to one side as you work out your own dynamics and ambitions as business partners as well as family. 

Seek a third pair of eyes

It’s fair to say that, if you’re considering franchising with a loved one, having seen the incredible possibilities of co-ownership and management, you’ll already be perceptive – but we all miss the occasional detail! Bringing in an external and impartial third pair of eyes will help drive your partnership and bring to light things that have been missed or ignored. As much as you want to keep home and work separate in situations such as these, overlap is very natural – especially in the early days. So, whether they’re friends, other family members or business consultants, seek help from someone who can cast a completely unbiased eye over your evolving plans and newly struck relationship. They don’t have to be a permanent party in your business operations moving forward, but having someone to iron out creases and suggest things that may not have been brought to light early on is a brilliant way of helping you maintain an obvious distinction between home and work.

Ryan Armitage
Ryan Armitage