The thought of running your own business at any age can be daunting. But the franchise world can be particularly bewildering if you’re just starting out in your career. Here are the steps you can take if you want to start a franchise unit at a young age.
Did you know that 18 percent of all franchisees are under the age of 30? This may not seem like a huge proportion, but given there are over 48,000 franchise units across the UK, there must be a fair few young entrepreneurs trading successfully.
Don’t be discouraged if you’re wondering how to start a franchise unit with little experience – or how to start a franchise unit just out of university. By following the steps below, you can put yourself in the best possible position as a young franchisee.
1. Do your homework
Research, research and research some more. Choosing the right franchise is critical to both the success of your business and the longevity of your enthusiasm for it. You should take the time to find out whether you get on well with the franchisor and whether they offer the support you will need.
You’ll know a franchise is right for you if it reflects your own values and attracts people you identify with. And before you commit to a franchise, make sure you review the Franchise Disclosure Document, as it will give you a full understanding of your obligations.
American franchisee, Aubrey Janik, who launched her business at the age of 21, suggests talking to franchise teams over the phone during the research stages:
Information on franchising is very difficult to find online, and the information you do find tends to be unreliable. Because of this, I started cold calling franchisees to get their opinions on the industry and on the concepts they owned… Over the course of a year or so, I called hundreds of franchisees and the experience was incredibly helpful -- more useful and informative then online research would have ever been.
>> Read more:
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- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 2)
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- Franchising 101: 8 Signs You're Ready to Start a Franchise
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2. Practice makes perfect
You may not have a decade of business management experience behind you, but you can take on small jobs to boost your knowledge and confidence before starting your own business. If you know which industry you’d like to work in, why not take up a role in an existing business, to get a feel for how the company operates? You could even become an employee in one of your chosen franchise’s units – this should give you time to glean tips and learn best practice.
Let’s go back to Aubrey Janik to see how she prepared to enter the franchise world. During high school and college, the budding entrepreneur owned and operated a pool and lawn care company, invested in the stock market and took on various other small jobs. Later on, Janik worked alongside a restaurant franchisee in a number of different roles, from cook to shift manager, which gave her a valuable insight into the food sector. Now, she runs a successful sandwich shop business.
3. Start small
If you’ve recently left school or graduated from university, chances are you don’t have a lot of cash at your disposal. You may even find lenders are reluctant to approve loans for younger applicants. But there are plenty of low-cost franchise opportunities out there to help new investors achieve their goals.
Many franchisees use them as a way to try out the franchise model before deciding to commit to a more expensive alternative or building it up and employing other staff members. Starting your own business can be overwhelming, so launching a small operation and growing over time takes away some of the worry and stress you might otherwise feel.
We have a selection of fantastic low-cost franchise opportunities for you to browse.
4. Use your support network
If you’d like to start a franchise unit, you should know the model offers a huge number of benefits compared to launching an independent start-up. But there will inevitably be difficult days, where you’ll be stressed, tired or frustrated. For this reason, it’s important you have a support network to build you back up when you feel down.
One of the advantages of becoming a franchisee at a young age is the close family members many people have. If you live with your parents, your partner or even just your trusty pet, seek comfort in your loved ones when times are tough. Hopefully, they’ll be able to offer words of kindness and plenty of distractions when you’re not feeling positive.
5. Follow the rules
When you start a new franchise business, it can be difficult to contain your excitement, and the urge to be creative and innovative may be overwhelming. But consistency across franchise units is key to your – and your fellow franchisees’ – success, so it’s vital you follow the rules. By doing this, you’ll protect your franchise brand into the future.
If you stumble across an issue and feel you have the solution, you can always raise it with your franchisor. Then, they’ll be able to decide whether to implement your idea across the entire franchise network, or just allow you to take your proposed course of action.
6. Use your skills
Even though you don’t have a lot of business experience, there are skills you can draw on. Try to identify your natural strengths and work to them. For example, many young people are familiar with using social media, so you may be able to improve sales by creating effective online promotional campaigns.
Chelsea Segura, who joined The Little Gym two months before graduating from Louisiana State University explained how she’s been able to use social media to her advantage:
“Social media is really fabulous for our business, especially with the reviews and referrals from clients… For example, if a parent posts about a child who made great grades, we send them a congratulatory postcard in the mail. It brings our relationships to another level…
“We see people talking us up on Facebook, and we watch and boost the posts. You can see the results live, so it really makes us feel like our money is being well spent.”
7. Be the boss
As a young entrepreneur, it’s unlikely you’ll feel confident all the time. In fact, it’s natural to be apprehensive about your new venture and unsure about the results you’ll get. But, if you want to see positive results, you’ll need to ‘fake it to make it’. If you’re hiring staff, they’ll need a strong leader to look up to.
It can be tough to ‘be the boss’ if your staff are the same age as you, or older, but your business needs a strong leader, and you should assume the role with confidence. If you’re ever feeling anxious, just look at how far you’ve come, and all the challenges you’ve faced in the process so far.
8. Don’t give up
As a young franchisee, you may face many setbacks, but that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your goal. Be inspired by all the thriving entrepreneurs who have managed to set up profitable businesses before you, and take note of their words of wisdom. For example, Aubrey Janik says:
There are going to be days where you just want to cry, curl up in a ball, and lay in bed and binge-watch Netflix – days where you want to do literally anything other than think about work. But you can’t let those bad days get to you.
>> Read more:
Achieve your goals
Whatever your experience, background or age, it’s important to perform a self-assessment before you embark on a career as a franchisee. As a young entrepreneur, use your positivity, high energy levels and ambition to your advantage to drive you towards the ultimate goal of becoming a successful business owner.
If you’re ready to start a franchise, kick things off by browsing our catalogue of excellent investment opportunities.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©