What Franchise’s resident business agony aunt Angie Coates, founder and CEO of Monkey Music, answers your business and entrepreneurial conundrums
What can I do to prepare for a career in a franchise business?
The wonderful thing about choosing to join a franchise network rather than becoming an independent business owner is that you’re buying into a proven business model and a network of support.
There will be plenty of people who can answer any questions you have about building and running a successful franchise, but I would advise prospective franchisees to do some desk research before speaking with future colleagues.
There is a vast amount of helpful information online that will help you understand how franchise models operate and what will be required of you.
Good places to start include the British Franchise Association website - in particular the free Prospect Franchisee Certificate - and franchising communities like franchise.org.
Once you have a feel of what setting up and running a franchise involves and the variety of franchise models available, create a shortlist of franchise brands that appeal to you.
The personality and structure of every franchise network is different, the investment varies significantly, franchisee success rates differ and the assistance offered and control exerted by a head office support team is specific to each franchise.
Finding a franchise that suits your personality and skills can make a huge difference both to your chances of success and your returns.
Two variables will determine your success relative to other franchises in the network.
One is demand and competition in your sector/territory, so always do market research before investing. The second is you - your skills, experience and character - so complete a personal SWOT analysis to better understand your profile and which businesses on your shortlist are likely to match your values and help you thrive.
Finally, having settled on a franchise, during the application process I advise speaking and/or meeting with existing franchisees at different stages of their careers to get under the skin of the franchise family and the day-to-day running of the business.
How do I know if I’m going to be a successful franchisee?
The reward and satisfaction that come from building a successful franchise business are incredible, but the required investment of both time and money can be daunting.
Unsurprisingly - and reassuringly - a question most Monkey Music franchise applicants ask early in the process is: “Will I be good at this?”.
While answering this question and others raised by a prospective franchisee’s research and the discussions they may have had with existing Monkey Music franchisees, we find the conversation often turns to individual personal attributes and how they fit with the ethos of Monkey Music.
All successful franchise owners are natural communicators, hardworking, resilient and adaptable, but beyond that there is no perfect franchisee profile.
In fact, we’ve found the variety of skills, professional backgrounds and personalities in the Monkey Music network means everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. This benefits everyone, as we encourage franchisees to share best practice and learn from each other.
Shared learning from diverse approaches and providing mutual support above that offered by head office definitely makes our network more successful and enjoyable, a fact that was even more apparent during the spotlight of COVID, when franchisees were going out of their way to support one another.
Given there’s no perfect profile, I’d suggest if you believe in the brand you’re looking to work with, are prepared to work harder than you have ever worked before, can take the odd setback, are dreaming of building a successful business with like-minded people and love learning new things you will be a successful franchisee.