Make 2022 the year you take control of your career. Here’s how a franchise can freshen up your future
Many franchisors prefer people new to their industry because they are more likely to follow the methods that made the franchise a success.
Are you part of the great resignation? The pandemic has prompted workers to look again at life as an employee, and many of them dislike the view: long hours, little flexibility, pay that doesn’t reflect the level of work, and no time for family, hobbies or relaxation.
People are quitting their jobs in record numbers – and there’s more to come.
Corinne Mills, career coach and joint managing director of Personal Career Management, who offers advice at franchise shows to prospective franchisees, says: “You ain’t seen nothing yet! I expect the number of career changers to soar in 2022.
“We’ve seen an increase of over 10 per cent in the number of people coming to us considering a career change,” says Corinne. “Running your own business can be more secure than a job in a shaky sector, offers more flexibility, and controlling your own diary can be less stressful than working for a demanding employer.”
A Microsoft study published in March 2021 found that 41 per cent of the global workforce is likely to consider leaving their current employer within the next year, with 46 per cent planning to make a major pivot or career transition.
Self-employment with a franchise: an easier way to change career
As your own boss, you can set your own terms and conditions and the profits come back to you. But setting up a business on your own, especially in a new sector, can be difficult.
A franchise could be the answer. You can launch your own company with the support of a franchisor, which is an established business that already operates in the sector.
No experience needed
Most franchisors, unlike most employers, do not look for people with experience in their industry, because they provide training. In fact, many franchisors prefer people new to their industry, because they are more likely to follow the methods that made the franchise a success.
Peter Higgs, managing director at the PGH Beegone and Pest Control franchise, which provides live bee removal and environmental pest prevention, says: “You need no prior industry experience to take on a PGH Beegone franchise. It’s perfect for those looking for a complete career change.”
PGH Beegone provides classroom and practical training covering sales, finance and marketing, plus technical skills.
Once a franchisee is operational, they are enrolled in the British Pest Control Association continuous professional development scheme, get top-up training regularly and can take specific external courses.
Denise Hutton Gosney, MD and founder of the Razzamataz Theatre Schools franchise, says: “We believe that whatever career that you have come from, you will be able to transfer your skills with the right training and support from us.”
Recognising your own skills
It can be hard to recognise these transferable skills in yourself. Simon Mills, franchise developer at Franchise Focus consultancy, who has interviewed thousands of prospective franchisees, says: “Most are changing career. The biggest change I have seen is a forensic pathologist who became a greetings card franchisee.”
He adds: “Many prospective franchisees worry that they lack the skills required for their chosen franchise, but I remind them that personal experience of the product as a customer is valuable.
“Many say they have no experience of selling, but that’s because people commonly think that sales is all about talking. In fact, the ability to listen is the basis of sales. Once I explain this, they often realise that they have got sales experience.”
Simon advises: “Speak to existing franchisees who have themselves changed career, for reassurance that it is possible.”
Clever franchisors help you find your transferable skills
Peter Higgs says: “It’s important that we recognise the competencies which prospective franchisees already have. Our application form asks about prior experience in management, sales, administration, finance and customer service, as these are very transferrable skills that will benefit any franchise business owner. Once people realise they have these abilities, which they perhaps took for granted, they are better able to sell and utilise them.”
Many franchisors prize people skills and declare that they can teach you the rest. Denise says: “Regardless of your experience in the arts, at Razzamataz we look for franchisees who have excellent people skills. You will need to put customer service as your top priority. We can teach you all the skills that you need in public relations and marketing, recruitment, business plans, child safety, audits and more.”
That said, there are some franchises where many prospective franchisees have experience in the relevant sector. Ed Hyslop, chief executive of First Class Learning, whose franchisees run tuition classes for children, says: “We have been inundated with enquiries from teachers who need a career change and see running their own tutoring business as a way of staying in education, but running their own businesses.”
So, before you apply to a franchise, re-evaluate your skills in terms of what the franchise is looking for.
So what do franchisors want? transferable skills
What are they? Transferable skills are the ones that most people use all the time, so they are taken for granted. Things like:
• People skills: the ability to build relationships of trust with people – the basis of sales
• Communication skills: the capacity to explain your product or service and deal with questions and problems effectively
• Customer service
• Leadership and management skills
• The ability to follow a system (franchises are based on reproducing a successful system)
• Numerical, written and IT skills travel for international site visits. Small steps like these will help foster a truly global culture!
From accountant to theatre school principal
“By choosing the franchise route, I could start a business even without a performing arts background”
“A theatre school wasn’t on my radar,” says Claire Walford, “but I wanted a job that meant I could be there for my children at both ends of the day and that used my accountancy and business skills.”
However, her sister was working as a dance teacher at a Razzamataz theatre school when the opportunity arose to take over the school. ”I’ve always loved performing arts, but it would never have crossed my mind that I could run my own theatre school until I looked into Razzamataz and understood that as a franchise, they offer you a toolbox of training and support,” says Claire.
“Working as an accountant meant that I got involved in many different aspects in a business including marketing, sales and IT. I had been a manager and understood how to recruit people so although I didn’t have strong performing arts skills, I felt confident that I had the knowledge needed to recruit the best teachers.”
Claire is now the Razzamataz franchisee in Yeovil. “By choosing the franchise route, I could start a business even without a performing arts background. Without Razzamataz, I definitely wouldn’t have thought of this option for me, but I have access to everything I need to know.”
Razzamataz provides initial and ongoing training and the network of franchisees is very collaborative, says Claire. “We all believe that performing arts can teach children amazing life skills, but we all have different experience and skills which we share so we learn from each other. Everyone is happy to share their success and also what went wrong, so we don’t all have to make the same mistakes.”
From chef to bee specialist
“Meet the franchisors, ask them questions and probe for information”
Louchlan ‘Locky’ Deeming started in hospitality at 18 and became one of Hilton’s youngest chefs aged 24. After going into hotel management he set up his own outlet working out of a country club.
“During the second lockdown, I realised that the industry I loved and worked in for 37 years would never be the same. COVID was the last nail for me. It was time to find something else,” says Locky.
He is now a franchisee with PGH Beegone, which is a business where the franchisees relocate live honeybees and their combs and then bee-proof the structure, as well as delivering environmentally-conscious pest control.
Locky says: “I’ve got many hospitality and staff training qualifications but my best transferable skills are dealing with customers concerns face-to-face, upselling myself and the product, marketing, and ensuring that customers are happy.”
As for new skills, he says: “My learning curve is almost vertical but it’s exciting. I’m learning insect and rodent control, plus advanced DIY skills, and I need to refine my IT skills, with a lot of help from PGH Beegone.”
He is adjusting to self-employment. “I ensured that I was in a reasonable financial position for the first three months, so as to cushion the blow. It’s important that my family do not feel undue pressure.”
Locky advises others to change careers with a franchise: “Take time to think. I started looking at franchises 18 months ago, signed up to franchise magazines, websites and went to a franchise sow at the NEC, as initially, I was not sure what I wanted to do.
“When you have found a franchise you are interested in, research it as much as possible, meet the franchisors, ask them questions and probe for information.”
Stressed teacher gets her life back with a franchise
“Life is too short to live it on someone else’s terms”
Ex-headteacher Shazia Hussain had been teaching for over 20 years but decided during the pandemic to get her life back with a First Class Learning franchise.
Shazia explains: “I realised in the pandemic that to have some flexibility and time with my family while creating my own business will pay me in my old age better than a pension that I may not live to receive or that may be too little to live off.”
Shazia started her First Class Learning business in October 2020, but lockdown delayed the official launch to June 2021. “I used the initial time upskilling myself around business development and networking with other franchise centre managers, so I was ready to hit the ground running. My business has generated lots of interest as families are keen to supplement their children’s learning after school.”
Shazia adds: “Life is too short to live it on someone else’s terms. I think everyone should self-assess their circumstances, career and self-worth and then decide what life should look like for them. This will enable them to set bigger goals and take massive action.”
Vacancies reach record highs
Vacancies rose to a record 1,172,000 in August to October 2021, an increase of 388,000 from the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic January to March 2020 level, with 15 of the 18 industry sectors showing record highs. Vacancies in all industry sectors were above their January to March 2020 pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, with accommodation and food service activities increasing the most by 66,500 (79 per cent).
Do I need a new CV?
A CV geared to showing your transferable skills might help your application – because the best franchises attract lots of applicants.
DO: Include your previous jobs, but when listing job tasks, highlight your transferable skills, backed by evidence of where you used them successfully. Highlight instances where you have increased sales or profits or contributed to the success of a project. Quantify your achievements in numbers, if possible, so, “My team training meant sales increased by XX%.”
Include evidence of successful staff and project management, capacity to achieve targets, and times where you have been responsible for the performance of your section.
DON’T: Focus on your technical skills except where they may be relevant. Research the franchisor’s business and highlight any technical or practical skills that may transfer to something similar in the franchise.
If you are having trouble with your new CV, or any aspect of applications to become a franchisee, consider seeing a franchise recruitment consultant. They will usually offer initial help for nothing.
Ready to move to self-employment?
Experienced franchisors will help you with the transition. Janet Walmsley, franchise recruitment manager at pet food delivery franchise OSCAR, says: “We work with new franchisees to set their own goals and decide the behaviours they will adopt to achieve them, then put a structure in place to monitor them.
“It’s about getting used to not having a boss setting your goals, but being your own boss and discovering your own motivation.”
Linda Whitney writes about franchising for the Daily Mail, What Franchise and many other publications.