What is it really like to run a franchise business? The question has probably been on your mind if you’re considering the model. In this article, we’re uncovering the truth about franchising and exploring the things people don’t mention about running a franchise.
You’ve done your research and you think franchising might be for you. Your nearest and dearest are happy for you - if a little bit nervous. Friends who have launched their own businesses have warned you about the stress and heartache of being an entrepreneur and offered advice. And you’ve started organising meetings with franchisors.
So, why hasn't anyone explained what running a franchise unit is really like? You can gather all the information available, but very few brochures, websites and exhibitions will give you the ‘warts and all’ version of franchising.
The truth about franchising
Here are five franchising truths you may not hear when you first start exploring the industry.
1. You need to take on numerous roles
Although you might end up hiring employees, you must be prepared to get stuck in and do a number of different jobs to make your business successful. There will be times when you’ll be expected to be the sales manager, the marketing consultant, the financial advisor, and even the cleaner.
What’s more, you’ll have to focus on making sure your unit is consistently performing well, while thinking about how you can grow your business in the future.
You’ll have many hats to wear as a business owner, which can be draining, both physically and emotionally. But if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to provide a great service and develop your unit, you’ll reap the rewards.
2. You won’t make a profit right away
Franchising can offer a shortcut to business ownership, but there will probably still be a period of time when your revenue doesn’t cover your expenses.
When you first set up your franchise unit, your franchisor may be able to promise you customer leads from day one, but you’ll still have to pay off your initial investment. Unless you generate a significant income, you’ll struggle to make a profit immediately.
Of course, virtually every business owner is in the same boat. And if you work hard and have enough working capital to cover your expenses, you’ll be able to stay afloat until you reach your break-even point. Depending on the franchise you join, it can take anything from a couple of months to three years to make a profit, so you must work hard and stay committed (The Bardon Group).
A franchise is a ready-made business, but it will only be as good as you are.
—Greg Towers, Business Partnership franchisee
>> Read more:
- Franchising 101: The Complete Guide to Franchise Costs in the UK
- Franchising 101: 6 Top Contributors of Franchise Failure
- Franchising 101: How to Buy a Franchise Business in 10 Steps
- Franchising 101: The Official Franchise Start Up Checklist (Part 1)
- Franchising 101: Top 5 Qualities of a Franchisee
- Franchising 101: 6 Tips for Building Customer Loyalty Through Marketing
- Franchising 101: The Pros and Cons of Franchising Your Business
3. You can bring your family and even pets
Many people have the ambition, drive and expertise to launch their own business but feel unable to because of existing commitments. Whether you’re a part-time worker, a new parent or even the dedicated owner of a demanding pet, you can still follow your dream and achieve your goals as a franchisee.
These days, franchises come in all shapes and sizes, giving would-be entrepreneurs the chance to launch and run their own business around their current lifestyles. There is a huge selection of fantastic home-based, part-time and seasonal investment opportunities on offer, which can provide the perfect solution for busy prospective investors.
And there are options for you if you live in the middle of nowhere or can’t drive. By joining an online or home-based franchise, you can work from anywhere in the world.
You can even start up a franchise business with your family and, if you join the pet services sector, you can bring along your own furry friends.
>> Read more:
- 5 Qualities of a Successful Franchisor
- 4 Things Franchisees Never Have Time for But Are Essential for Running a Successful Business
- How to Launch a Franchise and Get Noticed
- 4 Elements of a Successful Franchise
- How to Start a New Business on a Shoe-String Budget
- The Ultimate Guide to Franchising Success
4. You need friends and family around you
Because of the amount of time and effort required to run a franchise unit, it’s important you have a strong support network in place, particularly in the initial stages. Your friends and family may not be able to fully understand your obligations as a new franchisee, but they should be right behind you every step of the way.
Having time to relax is just as important as putting in the hours at your franchise unit; you won't be very productive if you’re tired and unhappy. After all, a big part of being a good franchisee is the ability to maintain a positive outlook and stay motivated.
When the going gets tough, always make time for the most valued people in your life. Socialising with loved ones will reinvigorate you and give you the energy to continue, so don't underestimate the importance of relaxation and having fun.
A strong support network around you is key! Having family and friends, especially in your first year… is really helpful.
—Pia, The Christmas Decorators franchisee
5. You’ll find unexpected fun
When you start to reap the rewards of your dedication and determination, you’ll wonder why you didn’t consider running a franchise business sooner. You’ll discover the freedom and flexibility the model offers, and start to see potential everywhere.
Once you’ve completed the set-up process and settled into your life as a franchisee, you’ll recognise opportunities to learn from new challenges and improve your business. You’ll take pleasure in meeting other investors and sharing your experiences and insight, and become a more rounded, enriched entrepreneur, thanks to the skills you’ve acquired as a franchisee.
In short, you’re likely to grasp opportunities you’ve never previously considered and reach goals you never thought you’d achieve. Who knows, you may even transform your quality of life, meet a friend or partner for life or develop a thriving business empire.
More guidance on running a franchise unit
So there you have it; an honest look at the franchise system. Like any business model, franchising can involve a lot of effort and dedication, but it offers fantastic rewards.
Is it easy to start a franchise business? No - but you can rely on the support of the franchisor and their proven strategies as you develop your unit. Plus, the outcome and opportunities on offer make all the hard work worthwhile.
For more guidance on taking your first steps in the franchising industry, see our article on how to evaluate a potential investment opportunity, or see our most recent industry publications.
Alternatively, find your ideal franchise opportunity by browsing investment openings from the main menu.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©