A franchise is a logical choice for someone who aspires to own a company but wants the safety net of a trusted business model.
Taking on a franchise is a logical choice for someone who aspires to own a company but wants the safety net of a tried and tested business model.
Nick Taimitarha, director of the Richmond branch of online business and lifestyle directory Thebestof, had always wanted to try something entrepreneurial. ‘It was a bit daunting as I hadn’t run a business before, so the idea of franchising appealed to me because there is a lot of support and a model to follow,’ he says.
It’s a mistake to think that a franchise is a guaranteed cash cow. Taimitarha had a small amount of his own money to invest in the initial franchise and managed for the first few months until it grew enough to start replacing his income. ‘You will often need an upfront investment as well as having to support yourself for a while,’ he says.
It’s not a good option for free spirits, either. ‘The whole point of buying a franchise is that you go by the rules. The successful franchisees are those who stick to what’s been shown to work rather than cutting corners because they think they know better.’
Franchising - Recipe for success
Putting your own flavour on Subway, for instance, is strictly off-limits. Daniel Simons opened a branch of the sandwich giant in Lancashire and found that contracts dictate the lease of specific, expensive equipment as well as more obvious items such as the menus.
However, franchisees can still find ways to save money without breaking the rules. ‘The franchisor will recommend a certain company to service the PC, but I might find it too expensive and take it to the local shop,’ says Simons. ‘I have reduced a lot of my costs by sourcing some of my own suppliers rather than going with the ones suggested.’
Car club Ecurie25 has an unusual franchise model, but one that has spawned four branches. Paul Brown took on the Yorkshire outlet and quickly assumed a hands-on role with the franchisor. ‘When I started, the franchisor and I had an agreement that we would become part of a steering committee for the franchising of the business.’
Brown expected to have 20 members by the end of the first year but hit 37. The plan now is to grow to 12 franchise outlets in the next two years. ‘Choose a franchise that you believe is right for you, but make sure the franchisor is someone you can get along with,’ says Brown. ‘That said, you have to think of it as your business and no-one else’s.’
See also: Is franchising for you?