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Love Franchising?

Being a business owner, the pinnacle of some peoples ambitions for their working career. I always liked the idea of running my own business: I spent the summer before my first term at secondary school walking around with a new briefcase I‘d insisted on getting from the school shop which contained an OS map, a compass, my passport, an empty notebook and a couple of pens…heaven knows what my business would actually have been based on the choice of items because I certainly didn’t have an aptitude for geography at that time. I remember the briefcase cost my parents £25 and at the time was a bit of a waste because whilst most of the intake at my school started with the briefcase, very few moved beyond the first couple of terms before reverting to a standard rucksack or holdall of the classic secondary school male pupil. Maybe though, just maybe this was the start of something that was going to carry on with me throughout my journey towards being a successful franchise owner.

At the age of 14 my mother told me she thought I had the right personality to run my own business one day, which I thought was one of the nicest things she had ever said to me, until she followed it with the observation that I had neither capital or a product to launch into a business, which I regarded as a spectacular return to form after the formative ego boost she had just given me. But still I had a feeling that was still clinging to and scraping at my ambition offering a distraction whenever I went on to make a career move in the future. It remained something that I wanted to do if the right circumstances presented themselves, like one of those computer games where the floor is turning and you have to time the right moment to step onto that particular path or road. Still I was doing better than some of my peers at that time that still wanted to be a ninja turtle or wanted to be in a band without being able to play an instrument, I just needed to wait for the right moment to step off the turntable onto the path of a growing business owner.

Franchise personal prerequisites.

Would I ever profess to be an expert at franchising, or anything for that matter? An expert at some things perhaps, but I would always concede that there is another level to take things to, a new level or rank to attain in knowledge and experience so would never claim to know everything about a particular topic. Some of this expertise can be accrued from simple knowledge from books, podcasts, lectures and seminars, and others comes down to simple experience, a bit of trial and error. This is the success to running any kind of business, the ability to try something, assess what worked and what didn’t and then adapt and try again. With my first franchise I spent most of my time drilling into people that as long as they kept moving forwards, no matter how many times they got knocked down, if they kept going forwards it is impossible to fail. Anyone that doesn’t have that level of tenacity should stay in employment and having someone else work out their tax calculations for them in my opinion. People with a glass jaw have no place running a business because it’s a messy world out there in business. The great thing about franchising is that from day 1 you are surrounded by people in that opportunity who can cut lengths off your learning curve.

Which franchise?

Not all of us (like me) make the connection at that one singular moment to birth a new product that’s going to one day put the company on the FTSE 100. We aren’t all inventors like Sir James Dyson that revolutionised an existing industry with a new way of doing something better, faster or stronger; or even like one business owner I knew who after a scary experience one night walking with her pram launched a successful business of reflective stickers and products to promote night safety for children and pets. For those of us who don’t have the creativity or the problem-solving acumen to isolate a problem and design a solution there is still hope to live the business owner dream. You can run your own franchise! They come in all sectors and varieties. After I left my last employed role I looked at the range of franchisees on offer and for my first attempt even considered the largest franchise on the planet basking under the glow of the golden arches, however with the golden handshake I’d received from my last role I doubted I would be able to fund such an enterprise, but it made me realise that the beauty of a franchise is the model has already been created, providing that mode is strong enough, all one needs to do is bring enough self ‘grit’ and ‘determination’ to the table and follow the model to make my own success. Sure, I’ll be paying a portion of my earnings to the franchise in royalties, but I wouldn’t have any costs of development or prototyping or IP protection to do. It would simply be a spring-loaded box whereby the business pops out and is ready to go. All I needed to do was stand back in my captains’ hat with the tiller nestled under one arm and enjoy the ride.

Of course, running a business is never about standing back and watching, and the idea of a director’s lifestyle of sitting on a beach and earning 20% is laughable, it just isn’t something self-employed people and business owners do in reality. I used to think that I would have a business and then I would live off the fruits of other people’s labours: people whom I rewarded richly from my business’s profits making them happy and me content to dig my toes into the sand on my beach drinking something cold, sugary, and refreshing with a little straw hat in the sun.

Select something that you enjoy, when I started my first franchised business as a consultant my friends from my days in school asked what I did and I said I went and met people for a cup of coffee and chatted to them about how to help their business at networking events. I, in essence, hobnobbed for a living, and they said that was crazily brilliant, and I was inclined to agree! But I then went on one step further to secure a franchise that did exactly that!! Everyone has a network, even the guy that rarely leaves his house still has a family that brought him into the world, a next door neighbour and a postman, all of whom you could argue are part of his network. Networking is something that humans as social animals need to do. We do not do well in isolation if that was something the Covid-19 pandemic made clear was people do not like to be shut up, we want to be out amongst other people as often as possible bonding and socialising and for those of us In business we want to be out securing the next deal. So for me a networking franchise was the ultimate way of securing my future whilst adding as much value to as many people as I possibly could, by giving them the forum with which to secure what it is they needed.

Concluding statements

Running your own business is no easy feat, there aren’t many shortcuts, but if you don’t have a product or a lot of capital to invest in starting from the bottom: consider a franchise, the only real limiting factor (if you do your due diligence and select the right franchise to join) is yourself, the time and hard work you are prepared to put into making it successful, and often if the model is right, a couple of years of hard work will yield a successful business that you can accelerate to the next level and sell for a fantastic price, buy it: build it: sell it, buy it: build it: sell it…and so on. What you will quickly come to realise is if the model is mapped out so well, all you really need to do is focus your energies on building and growing it, everything else can be done by someone else:

Love Franchising.

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