Is Franchising right for you?
Following her feature ‘First steps to your new franchise’ Sharon Bassett, from Enjoy-a-Ball (001) Ltd, asks the question as to whether being a franchisee means surrendering business freedom, and recommends taking a test to see if this way of working is for you.
Safety in numbers
With ownership of franchises on the increase, many of us have chosen to invest in an already established business idea and format. And there is obviously a good reason why so many of these businesses succeed.
Look no further than your local newspaper or magazine, village hall or school notice board to find dozens of franchisees tapping directly, and brilliantly, into local markets with ready-made campaigns with larger franchisors providing a more rounded national approach.
Quite simply, not all of us are administrative demons, PR & marketing gurus or creative social networkers. Buying into a franchise can give you a flying start in all of these areas – a kind of freedom in itself – and leave you the quality time and energy to invest in the delivery of your chosen product or service.
On the other hand, depending on your individual needs and talents, this convenient ‘off the peg’ approach can appear prescriptive and inflexible with a mass-produced style and a lack of personalisation.
How much freedom do I need?
The level of freedom you need in a business depends on many things – for example, your personality, preferred management style, prior experience within the particular area of business and how well you know any potential franchisor.
The Franchise Group, a USA based company offering free support to potential franchisees, advises that true entrepreneurs may not make the best franchisees. There are franchisors out there who encourage new ideas, feedback and positive change, giving franchisees a substantial amount of influence over day-to-day and even core management and strategic issues, but it isn’t total control. In exchange for the risks they have taken, franchisors always retain a certain level of control (usually defined in your contract).
If you are at the early stages of deciding on the kind of business you would like to invest in, why not try The Franchise Group quiz (www.thefranchisegroup.com) to see how much you know about franchising. Although clearly aimed at the American market, the Group’s personal and business information questionnaire also offers some practical pointers to the questions we should be asking ourselves when considering self-employment, franchise or otherwise.
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