Franchising is a great way to run a business with your family. David Glover, acting managing director of Caremark, explains why
When you start a business, you want to work with people you can trust with your investment and who understand what it’s taken for you to reach this point.
You’ve worked for other people who haven’t appreciated you enough, you’ve helped grow other people’s businesses without the relative rewards and you’ve saved enough money to set out on your own.
So who best to trust with your new venture than the people you most trust in life - your family. There are so many benefits to working with your family, including some aspects you may not have considered as positive.
Have you ever thought that your family are quick to point out the harsh realities of a situation? Imagine if you could have that reality hit when it comes to running a business. Working with your family means you have someone you can implicitly trust, giving advice and feedback that gets straight to the point.
Of course, there are times when you’ll disagree, but you’ll also have more incentive to work through disagreements to ensure a happy home life. Communicating with an open and honest approach will also help with sharing workloads and giving tasks to people with the best skills.
A level playing field
So apart from having open and honest communication with people you trust, why is working with family - and in particular, running a franchise with family - a great opportunity for so many people?
With franchising, your family are all on a level playing field. Each person has the same starting point in terms of training, knowledge and understanding of the business - from initial training to ongoing support.
Creating a larger family
When you join a franchise, your family becomes part of a larger family within a network of franchisees and the support team. If you already enjoy working with family, then this will suit you down to the ground.
You’ll attend events put on by the franchisor and speak to neighbouring franchisees - many of our franchisees speak through Facebook groups to share best practice or just to encourage each other. We celebrate success together and step in when someone needs help.
Expanding the family business
When your friends and family see how running a franchise can be a better way to start a business than starting on your own, they will begin to consider franchising for themselves. We have several franchisees in our network who are related, but operate separate territories.
Father and son, Charles and Michael Folkes initially worked together in another franchise brand before joining Caremark. After Charles made a success of his business in Redcar and Cleveland, he supported Michael to open Caremark Cheltenham and Tewkesbury.
Charles says: “I knew Michael’s capabilities and, in his heart, he wanted to go back to business ownership.
“The opportunity came along to open a Caremark franchise where he lived and we were in a good position financially to help him. In the longer term, it’s an investment and a future income for me when I eventually retire.”
Michael adds: “When it was time to become a business owner again, franchising was a natural choice, as there’s a balance of not being completely alone.
“My partner Jo is a physiotherapist, but has also been our interim care manager and we plan to expand to include rehabilitation work in more of our complex care packages.
“Everyone in our family plays to their strengths within the businesses and we employ a fantastic team to complete the picture. Dad and I speak on a regular basis to check how his investment is progressing.”
I’ve talked about some of the benefits, but working with family can be stressful and being a business owner also comes with huge responsibilities. So what can you put in place to mitigate stress and create success?
Creating a strong culture
When you’re running a family business, the people you employ need to be made to feel part of a strong team.
You don’t have to treat them like a family member, but they do have to feel a belonging, otherwise staff turnover will become an issue. A strong culture will foster trust and you’ll end up with a team who you can rely on, whether they’re part of your family or not.
Separate work from home life
It’s a good idea to separate business time and family time, so think about agreeing a cut-off point.
We all fall foul of talking about work after we’ve left the office, but deciding to swap to family time as soon as you sit down for dinner and leave it behind until the next morning is a great way for both you and your family to switch off. You’ll find it actually creates an environment for more productive work days when you can appreciate a worklife balance.
Take time out to reflect on the progress you’ve made. Anyone running a business will focus on what they’ve done wrong or what targets they’ve missed, but rarely do they stop to congratulate themselves on what they’ve achieved.
Celebrating success as a single business owner can be lonely, but celebrating as a family is much more enjoyable.
When you work for a care brand, it seems natural that caring, family oriented people will make great franchisees, but there are many franchise opportunities suited to families wishing to work together.
Ask to speak to franchisees working with their families when you’re looking for a franchise and you’ll find the pros definitely outweigh the cons.