When to consider starting your own business

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When to consider starting your own business

Have you always dreamed of owning your very own business, but donít know where to start? This is probably the position that the UKís 44,000 existing franchisees were in at some point, but they chose to trust in the franchise model to make their dreams come true.

Starting a franchise is a great way to become a business owner, as youíll have the safety net of an established brand with a proven business model. Choosing to sign a franchise agreement rather than starting a business from scratch alleviates many of the fears you may have about becoming a boss. This doesn't mean youíll definitely become successful, and itís bound to involve a lot of hard work, but franchising can be extremely rewarding, both financially and emotionally. If you're unhappy with your current work situation, itís also an exciting way to change your career and your life.

So, if your nine to five job fills you with resentment, the commute home fills you with dread and you're sick at the thought of doing it all again tomorrow, starting a franchise could be the right decision for you. But if youíre still not sure, here are the top 10 signs youíre ready to become a franchisee.

1. You feel stuck in a rut

Not liking your job isnít really reason enough to consider starting your own business, but if the bad days outweigh the good, the chances are you feel unfulfilled. And you donít feel fulfilled because youíre in a job you donít love, with someone else calling the shots. So, if the thought of being your own boss, setting your own schedule and being in control of your career excites you, now might be the right time to become a franchisee.

2. You've always dreamed of being your own boss

Dreaming of owning your own business is one thing, but making it happen is another thing altogether. As weíve mentioned, starting a business requires a huge amount of hard work and dedication, so donít be under any illusions that itíll be easy to realise your dreams.

Itís no good fantasising about inspiring a crowd of employees and smashing profit margin targets if you donít have the skills or motivation to actually achieve this. But, if youíve already started to research whatís involved in a franchise model, attended franchise exhibitions and narrowed down your preferred franchise choices, youíre preparing yourself well for franchising life. In fact, by doing this, youíre demonstrating that you are a conscientious and thorough worker, which bodes well for your future as a franchisee.

3. You have passion

If youíve always envisaged working in a particular industry, or a specific franchise brand really resonates with you, your passion can fuel your ambition. Being dedicated and believing in what your franchise stands for can help you to get through the tough times. Thereís no point investing in a business that doesnít inspire you, as youíll end up losing momentum and underachieving.

However, passion alone isn't reason enough to sign a franchise agreement. You should still perform the necessary due diligence to make sure itís the right opportunity for you. Make sure youíve got the necessary hard and soft skills to carry your business through to profitability. In short, youíll need more than just passion to be a successful franchisee, but it can be difficult to get by without it.

4. Youíre motivated

If you donít like working long hours and want to start your own franchise to work less, you may be disappointed. Yes, being a franchisee does give you flexibility, and youíll be able to control the hours you work to a certain extent, but itís not all early finishes and weekends off.

Whether you launch a part or full-time franchise, starting a business takes hard work and can result in long hours, particularly in the early days. To get through this, think about why you became a franchisee to help keep you motivated. If you believe the thrill of taking control and building a profitable business will be enough to motivate you to work harder, you might just have what it takes.

It may also help to opt for a personally rewarding franchise, such as a healthcare or childrenís business. Helping others all day long may give you an extra sense of achievement and boost your morale.

5. Youíre a risk taker

There are risks involved in any business. Of course, choosing to invest in a franchise eliminates some of them, as youíll get to be your own boss while receiving the support and backing of an experienced franchise. This will help you avoid many of the mistakes independent business owners make.

However, buying a franchise is no guarantee of success; there is still a possibility, however small, that your business venture may fail. Performing thorough research on your chosen market and your preferred franchise network should reduce the chances of things going wrong, but you must be prepared for the worst to happen. After all, if you donít take any risk, you may be shutting yourself off from brilliant opportunities.

6. You want flexibility

Franchise opportunities that can be operated from the comfort of your own home or managed on part-time hours are becoming increasingly popular. Whether you want to operate your franchise around personal commitments, keep your job and have a franchise on the side or work the hours you choose, there will be a franchise opportunity out there for you. This can be great for new parents, people with an active role in the community or those who simply want to spend more time with their family or friends.

Remember, to manage a successful franchise from home, youíll need to be disciplined and maintain a structured working timetable. If youíre easily distracted or find it hard to focus outside of an office, you may be better off looking at more conventional franchise opportunities.

7. You want a challenge

Becoming a franchisee can certainly be challenging at times. When you own and operate a franchise, youíll have to wear many hats. One minute you'll be interviewing potential employees and the next, youíll be cleaning the toilets. Many people relish this variation, as it makes the day interesting and helps you keep up momentum.

Your many roles should be set out in the franchise agreement, so make sure you understand what your obligations will be before you sign it. To do this, you may need to enlist the help of a franchise solicitor or other professional with franchising experience. Also, take the time to chat to your would-be franchisor to make sure youíre not in the dark about your duties.

8. You're willing to learn

For many franchisees, one of the biggest benefits of the franchise model is learning from the experience and expertise of your franchisor. Not only will you get the chance to be enrolled onto an initial training scheme, but youíll receive ongoing support throughout your franchise contract.

Once your initial training has been completed, you should continue to make the most of the training opportunities available to you. Take advantage of mentor sessions with your franchisor, complete online training programmes, attend events with fellow franchisees and network at annual conferences. There is always room to learn and improve, so donít get complacent. Always being open to new opportunities to develop your skills and knowledge will help you hugely in your business life, whether youíre franchising or not.

9. You're a born leader

If, from an operational perspective, you need to recruit a team of employees to support you, having strong leadership skills is a huge advantage. Your workforce will look to you for inspiration, guidance and direction, so itís vital youíve got what it takes to be a great leader.

There are lots of differences between a manager and a leader, and many of the skills required for each cannot be taught. As well as the confidence to stand up in front of a group of people and the ability to explain tricky concepts clearly, youíll need charisma to engage your workers. If you're a born leader, you've already got a head start.

10. You want to have fun

While business ownership does require a lot of hard work, it should also be a lot of fun. If youíre brimming with ideas about how to improve your franchise unit and bring in extra customers or clients, you may well make a fantastic employer.

As Confucius said over 2,500 years ago: ďChoose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your lifeĒ. This principle is still relevant today, so donít underestimate the importance of finding the right franchise for you. Starting a company can be fulfilling, exciting and rewarding, so do your research, invest wisely and have fun making your business ownership dreams come true.

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