Many of us are seeking more flexibility in our careers to help us get a better balance between home life and work life. This is why a rapidly growing area is franchising.
Franchising can be a great way to gain the flexibility of running your own business, but with less risk and no need for a groundbreaking business idea.
A franchise is often described as ‘a business in a box.’ It’s a start-up business that has been successfully launched elsewhere, where its owner decides to sell the concept to other entrepreneurs.
There are a vast range of opportunities on offer, many of which work well as part-time or home based businesses. To establish a franchise, you normally pay a fee to the franchisor in exchange for the brand, its business model and, usually, some training.
There are all kinds of franchises out there, many of which you can run from home. They range from professional services such as travel agent work and virtual personal assistants, to cleaning businesses, music groups for children and many more ideas you won’t have even imagined!
There are lots of franchise websites, exhibitions and magazines devoted to franchising. You can also start by contacting the British Franchise Association, or browse franchises on offer in the workingwise franchise directory.
In terms of choosing a business that’s right for you, look at your skills and weaknesses. Consider what running the business will involve –will it play to your strengths? Avoid anything that takes you too far out of your areas of experience and expertise. Also, look at whether the franchisor provides training to get you off to a strong start.
Once you’ve narrowed down some options, speak to some other franchisees for each business. Ask them about the challenges they encountered in setting up, and whether it’s been as successful as they hoped. You should also explore the local market to see how much competition you might have and assess how good the business opportunity could be.
Do some research on the franchisor, too. Look at their accounts via Companies House to make sure that they’re financially secure and performing as they say they are. Are they well established? A very young business could be a risky franchise option.
Before you sign anything, have the franchise agreement checked by a specialist solicitor. You may also want to talk to an accountant about the cost of buying the franchise and how long it might take to drive a return on your investment.
Don’t overstretch yourself – not every franchise is a success and you need to be able to start again if the worst happens.
Consider the timing of your launch, too. You need to make sure you have a good amount of time available to get the business off the ground – but you also need to consider your target customers and what the timing will mean for them.
For example, if your business is likely to hit peak sales at Christmas, make sure you have enough time to get products ready and on the market to maximise sales.
Once you’ve done the research and found the right business you’re ready to go – good luck!