Franchising – Is It Right For You ?

Franchising – Is It Right For You ?

Being our own boss is an ambition that many of us harbour. We wonder how much better would life might be if we were free of the restrictions and bureaucracy of employment and in control of our own destiny, to be the boss making the decisions?

Self-employment can be very liberating and rewarding, from both a financial and lifestyle viewpoint. However, it’s definitely not for everyone. Many of us may have the desire to run our own business, but the reality is we don’t all have what it takes to go it alone and be successful. Lack of confidence, limited capital or simply being too risk averse are common and understandable reasons why a lot of people shy away from leaving the relative security and comfort of being employed to start their own business.

Which explains the popularity of franchising. Franchising represents a great way to overcome some of the typical obstacles confronted by budding business owners because it offers the chance to run a business that’s already proven, with an established brand, system and methodologies. You are trained to run the business and given on-going support. So, it’s a ‘fast track’ route to setting up a business with the associated risks considerably reduced. That benefit is very appealing and so franchising has matured into being a major contributor to the UK economy.

Franchising does not, however, overcome the importance of having the right character, attitude and personality. A franchise is not a soft option for owning a business. In fact, the demands can be greater because not only are franchise owners accountable to themselves and their family about how the business performs, they are also accountable to the franchisor. The franchisor expects that franchise owners will rigorously conform with prescribed systems and methods and they will set performance standards which franchise owners will be carefully measured against.

There are certain attributes that franchise owners must have which are common to all business owners:

  • Self motivation – you have to be driven and pro-active
  • Ambition – you need vision
  • Determination – a full and determined effort is essential
  • Commercial acumen – you need to have a good understanding of the
    basics of business
  • Leadership skills – if the business employs staff you need to be capable
    of giving clear direction
  • Communication skills – you need to be able to positively engage and
  • Mental fortitude – able to maintain focus through difficult trading
    periods as well as the good ones

When appointing franchise owners a franchisor will look for all of the above, plus a number of additional vital attributes. Specifically, candidates will usually be required to demonstrate that they are able to conform. To reiterate, franchise owners must organise, administer and develop the business exactly as the franchisor dictates, using the tools that it provides. For this reason, being prepared to conform is important and it explains why people with maverick tendencies are rarely suitable franchise owners. Franchise owners will also be expected to display genuine enthusiasm for the business and to show that they share the values on which the business has been built.

There is good reason to justify these extra attributes. A franchisor is entrusting a person with its brand, its reputation and its method of operating, all of which will have been carefully developed and refined over time. They expect that franchise owners will use those ‘assets’ to replicate the business and therefore be capable of achieving the same level of success. So, franchisors will grant franchises to people who they feel confident
will be compliant brand ambassadors.

There are a wide number of franchise opportunities available and so it’s not difficult to find a type of business that will be suitable. Buying a franchise means you have the reassurance of knowing the business works, hence the risk of failure is significantly reduced. There are many advantages to franchising but it’s vitally important that you fully understand what’s expected of you and, most crucially, that you take nothing for granted about the effort and endeavour involved in running a business.

Clive Smith
Franchise Consultant
Franchise Focus