Striving to own one’s own business has crossed many employee’s mind, yet many don’t dare the leap. Is it the uncertainty and unending hard work without any guarantee of pay, holiday leave or regular weekends off, or the diverse tasks that are required to launch a business, that keep many in jobs rather than pursue a venture?
For those that have the inspiration, vision, motivation and willingness to launch their own business – well good on them. Knowing that only the smallest percentage of new businesses survive the first year, let alone the second or third year, makes those that do tackle their own ventures nothing short of courageous. And, it is this entrepreneurial spirit that, on one hand, lets them take on the challenge, and on the other persist to achieve the so called ‘overnight success’ that usually takes years in the making.
But, what about those out there that want to run a business, feel they have what it takes to operate it, but perhaps lack the innovation and gumption to start one from scratch or dare to create a disruptive venture from scratch, you may ask? Well, there is a thriving arena ideal for these folks; and yes, it is thriving.
I am talking about the franchise industry. For those of you not familiar with the concept, here is a wee snapshot. Franchising (yes it came from our beloved French, much like the word entrepreneur itself), is basically where a proven and successfully trading business replicates itself. Usually done so with great detail to systems and tight brand guidelines, in order to ensure similar success as its original enterprise. As such, some of the biggest brands globally are franchises. Seven-Eleven stores, Mrs Fields cafes, McDonalds restaurants, mobile coffee Cafe2U, Jim’s Lawn Mowing, Clark Rubber and thousands of other brands are all franchises.
I was recently invited to attend a Franchising Expo and the sheer size of the event and the scope of business opportunities that presented there were as broad in genre as they are plentiful. And, they differ in industry as much as they range in price tag. In short, there is a business ready packaged with a proven success formula to pretty much suit anyone. In saying this, the likely buyer of a franchise business is usually not the entrepreneur, but an employee wanting to segway out of a job.
The benefits of owning a franchise business are obvious. Firstly, you know that the business idea and concept has already been proven as working, usually successful (whatever that means to you) and sustainable. The other thing is that you have a clear set of tasks and systems you know you need to be able to follow and accomplish before you start.
And, come to marketing, one of the hardest things to do even for the best folks in business, is usually already set out for you, and often supported or undertaken by the franchise group. Most franchises offer complete marketing materials and brand campaigns in your location, so really, there is not much that can go wrong.
And, as the group has an interest in seeing you do well, there usually is a lot of support too, well, there should be at least.
If you are looking to get into your own business and have no previous experience and have not woken up in the middle of the night with an awesome business idea, or have identified a gap in the market or an industry disruptive concept, then franchising might just be for you.
Franchise businesses are often referred to as ‘cookie-cutter’ businesses because they are essentially a replica of the original ‘mothership’ business. Nothing wrong with that, but if you are the creative type and want to bring your personality and flair into your business, then you may find that you will have some limitations.
The success of a franchise business is largely based on being strictly systemised. Meaning, you have pre-determined processes and methods of operation that leave very little room for deviation or innovation. In saying this, franchises can be pretty fool-proof as long as you are good at following instructions, systems, and are happy to operate within these.
If not, well then get to the drawing board and develop your own business or buy one that is doing well enough, but has scope for growth where you can really bring your own flair in.
To learn more about franchise businesses available, attend a franchising expo (like I just did). You can also log on or grab a magazine copy of Franchise Magazine, Business Franchise Australia and New Zealand, Inside Franchise Business or Business & Franchise Buyer to get an insight into what’s out there.
Please note, it is advisable to do thorough research and due diligence before committing to buying a franchise business. While they are like a ‘business in a box’, they also face the same challenges as any other business, so you want to make sure it has all the right foundations for you to succeed.
Should the cookie-cutter business not be your cup of tea, watch this space for my article series on how to start your own business from scratch. Yours in entrepreneurship, Erik.
First published on My Entrepreneur Magazine