Dreaming of owning your own business? Then you’re not alone. For a variety of reasons, thousands of Australians want to move on from their current role and take charge of their future.
Business ownership can be a great way to achieve the working life that many people hanker after – greater day to day flexibility, a financial return on hard work, being the boss, creating a viable business.
So every year people dive into the business ownership pool intending to emerge as successful entrepreneurs. There is no doubt that swimming your own race can be a thrilling, empowering process but there is a way to have a support team on hand to help you on your way.
Franchising is all about building on the experience of others, whether that is the knowledge gained by the entrepreneur who built the original business concept that you buy into, the specialist knowledge of marketing and IT departments, or fellow franchisees.
A franchise network is just that – an interconnected group of people who are working together to enhance and promote the brand, and in the process build a strong and financially successful business.
The appeal of a franchised model is that many of the difficulties of building a business are eased with the back-up of experienced practitioners in fields such as marketing, IT, finance, admin, even site selection and rental negotiations.
You might not have the freedom to set up and run your business exactly as you like but this is countered by the support you will receive from a good franchisor that runs the umbrella business and has learned the hard way what works and what doesn’t.
This means you don’t have to endure the full series of trials and errors that mark a fledgling independent business.
For starters franchisees undergo training. This might take a matter of days, weeks, or famously in the case of McDonald’s, months. So when you start up on the first day you know something of what to expect, how to manage processes, deal with customers and talk about your product or service.
A first class franchisor will offer ongoing support with business matters, either formally with benchmarking performance and regular support team visits, or through mentoring from fellow franchisees.
Franchisees are given operations manuals to follow that guide the daily running of the business. This includes assistance with local area marketing and sometimes there is centralised admin for invoicing or a call centre that processes customer leads.
There also may be a recommended supplier for products who will offer a negotiated rate.
Leveraging the brand
Above and beyond this of course is the appeal of a brand, and that is what can be a particular attraction. Many people see the benefits of trading under a well-known name: there is the advantage of customer awareness enhanced by national marketing campaigns.
While there are costs to be paid for the support franchisees receive, and the need for compliance doesn’t suit everybody, many people see the value in building their future within a franchise model.
Although fast food franchises come to mind easily, the reach of the franchising method of business extends into all fields from mobile dog washing to accounting, from home renovations to aged care support.
Some franchise systems rely on particular technical skills and knowledge and look to practitioners in these areas to take on a franchise. But the vast majority of franchise models expect their franchisees to be inexperienced in the new field of business and arrange their training and business support accordingly.
Route to independence
A franchisee invests in a business for a specific time period, often three or five years. In many cases the agreement with the company is renewed so the franchisee can continue trading if they so wish.
Franchising can be the pathway to independence, even to a mini empire as franchisees themselves replicate their success across more than one outlet or service location.