You're Never Too Young to Become a Franchisee

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Graduate franchise owner

Young adults have many of the attributes that are necessary to be a successful entrepreneur. Big aspirations, motivation, optimism, less personal responsibilities and passionate about the future. So, its surprising that only 22% of franchisees in the UK are under the age of 35, according to the Franchise Direct 2016 franchising survey.

Buying a franchise business appears to be the perfect fit for young budding entrpreneurs who want to be their own boss. The whole franchise model provides inexperienced business owners with both support and credibility when its needed most - at the start of their franchising career. With training, coaching, ongoing support, a proven business system, existing customer base and a reputable brand, young franchisees have all the necessary components to build a successful business.

Why franchising is a wise choice for young professionals

There are several reasons why franchising may be the answer for young people wanting to start their own business. Firstly, the success of a franchise relies on the franchisee following set rules, responsibilities and obligations, which younger people find easier to adhere to. As entrepreneurs get older and gain more experience, following a prescribed business model may not come so easily. Secondly, if a young franchisee has only recently left higher education, the amount of training and self-development thats needed to succeed in franchising wont be so daunting. Often eager to attend training programmes and sharing innovative ideas, a young adult can be a franchisors idea of a perfect business partner.

Also, to be able to invest time and energy into running a profitable franchise business, the support of family and friends is essential. Generally, young people have access to a large network of family and friends who can provide advice, support and, in some cases, money. The Franchise Direct franchising survey found that 22.1% finance their franchise through family and friends. Its likely that a large majority of those that fund their franchise this way are in this younger age bracket.

Considerations for young prospective franchisees

Of course, there are some drawbacks to starting a franchise at a young age. Even though younger franchisees may have less personal responsibilities, such as children or elderly relatives to care for, its still a very big commitment. The average length of a franchise agreement is five years, so a lot of thought and research should go into a decision about dedicating time and effort for that length of time.

Another challenge may be the lack of business experience. Of course, older franchisees may also have the same hurdle to overcome, but typically a young adult may not have even held down a full-time job before. Choosing the franchise route will help to overcome this inexperience with the support and training available and so is a much more protected option that starting an independent business.

Top 5 tips for young franchisees

Once the pros and cons of starting a franchise have been considered, you may feel ready to take on the challenge of running your own business with the backing of a franchise system. Heres some top tips to take on board before you sign on the dotted line.

  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 passion. Make sure you review the Franchise Disclosure Document so you have a full understanding of what will be expected of you. Also, be certain that the level of support youll receive from the franchisor is adequate to support your first steps in the world of franchising.

  2. Start small
    There are plenty of low cost franchise opportunities available to invest in which give you the chance to try out the franchise model before you decide to commit to a more expensive alternative. Starting your own business can be overwhelming so starting small with the option to grow takes away some of the worry and stress that being the boss can bring.
  3. Use your support network
    Its easy to confuse the benefits of running a franchise network with thinking that its an easy route to profitability with guaranteed success. In truth, running a franchise can be just as demanding as owning an independent business. Having the support of both the franchisor and your social network will be the key to your success. So, whether it's for financial, operational or emotional support, make sure you involve your loved ones in the good times, and the bad.
  4. Follow the rules
    When you start your new franchise business, it can be difficult to contain your excitement and the urge to be creative and innovative may be overwhelming. However, its important to remember that consistency is key for a franchise to succeed so its imperative that the rules are followed. This will ensure that the franchise brand, products and service is protected and quality is maintained.
  5. Be the boss
    If you need to recruit employees for your franchise business it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate between the different roles you play as a franchisee. At times, youll be learning new skills and following the franchise system standards, and at other times, youll be hiring and training staff. It can be tough to be the boss if your staff are the same age as you, or older, but your business needs a leader and you should assume the role with confidence.

Whatever your experience, background or age, its important that you 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 franchisee.

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