Getting your ducks in a row

So, you've signed on the dotted line, completed your training and now you'reu2026 waiting?

Getting your ducks in a row

So, you’ve signed on the dotted line, completed your training and now you’re… waiting? Whether you’re a business which holds a grand opening event, or you’re ‘open’ but need to land your first customer, this ‘in between’ time is the ultimate opportunity to prepare before the biggest year of your life kicks off – use it wisely. Regardless of whether you have two days or two months, now is the time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s to make sure you’ve got everything in check.

Your training might take you across the pond to Toronto, as it does for all Tutor Doctor franchisees, or you might stay in the UK. Either way, don’t let the buzz overshadow why you went. Your training is designed to give you all the information you need to ensure that you get the best start possible. Are you certain what’s expected of you? There’s no harm in reminding yourself – in fact, I would highly recommend it.

It’s so beneficial to revisit your business plan to refresh your memory on what you’re aiming for. It might have been months since you last opened the document and, with all the additional information that is swirling around your head, it’s easy to lose sight of your direction and destination. Have you got your activity sorted for your first month or three? Get a schedule set up to really focus on what is imminent. Before you know it, your first four weeks will be over and you’ll have to take precious time to stop, regroup and get going again.

If your franchise involves working from home, get an office space ready. You might think you can manage at the dining room table or on the sofa but there are real benefits of having a space where you actively ‘go to work’. Make it comfortable, but professional, to give you the best environment for boosting productivity levels. And, once you’ve got that sorted, use your revamped office to run through the systems that you’ll be using day-to-day. Do they work like they should? Do you understand what they’re for? Check these to avoid any unnecessary bumps along the way.

You might want to think about getting your marketing campaign kicked off. By raising awareness in these build-up weeks and months, you can create a sense of excitement with potential customers ready for when you do officially open. Are you thinking of doing a PR launch? Do you want to invite local reporters to celebrate with you? Build these relationships as early as possible to increase the chances of generating some interest.

Ensure that you know where to turn should anything go slightly askew. Do you know who your contact points are for support? If it’s your franchisor, the rest of the network or your regional franchise support, ensure you’ve got their details to hand.  

If your franchise requires staff, you need to plan when you’ll be recruiting them. Do they need to be there when the business launches or will it take time to get to that point? When will that point be? These should all be reflected in your business plan, whether it’s a long or short term option.

When you’ve inspected every aspect with a magnifying glass, turn your attention to your personal life. Although you’ve already had the conversation on the impact that your franchise is going to have, it’s important to go through everything again with family and friends just in case anything has changed. Discuss things such as your budget and the impact on your personal life. It’s crucial to take your loved ones on your journey with you – let them know what you’re working towards and what the end goal looks like as they’ll be able to recognise the time and effort it takes to reach it.

Some people might think that the time between training and launch is downtime. In reality, it’s an opportunity to get your ducks in a row before becoming swamped with daily operations and, hopefully, enquiries! What may feel like excessive preparation and planning now means that, when the pace really does pick up, you’ll be ready to tackle anything business ownership throws at you.

Frank Milner
Frank Milner