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Three top tips for starting a franchise in an unfamiliar sector

Three top tips for starting a franchise in an unfamiliar sector

As long as you bring the will and dedication, any quality franchisor can support you in running a franchise even if you lack experience in the sector

Say the word ‘franchise’ and all manner of responses spring to mind. For many, the term ‘business in a box’ has become synonymous with franchising. This stems from the idea that a franchise model offers would-be entrepreneurs the opportunity to follow a fail-safe business plan that is bound to guarantee success.

Unfortunately, this approach isn’t as cut and dried as it sounds. Whilst it’s entirely possible to successfully start and operate a franchise in a sector you are completely unfamiliar with, there’s no alternative to good old-fashioned hard work and determination. So, as long as you bring the will and dedication, any quality franchisor can support you in running a franchise even if you lack experience in the sector. 

David Mathie, UK general manager of Just Cuts, is here to offer three top tips for franchisees looking to start a new venture in virtually unknown territory.

1. Do your research

Any astute entrepreneur will understand the basic principle of supply and demand. If there’s a need for a particular service or product in your area, then it stands to reason someone should fulfil that demand. That someone could be – should be – you.

Establishing the long-term scope for growth of a franchise is a fundamental component of any business plan. The service or product you’re investing in needs to fulfil a need that is going to stand the test of time, not just a solution to a short-term problem. A great example of this is the rather unpredictable British weather. Investing in an air-conditioning business is bound to see you make a killing during a two-week-long heatwave in August, but is there still money to be made during the other 50 weeks of the year? Probably not unless there is a wider range of heating and cooling products in the mix.

There’s always a certain level of risk involved when starting any sort of business but, by doing your research, you’re determining the long-term demand of your service and whether the risk of going into something completely new is viable.

2. Find the perfect franchise fit

Now you’ve established the need, you can find the perfect franchisor to support you in your endeavour. And the right guidance is paramount. Unless you’re extremely experienced or knowledgeable in that field, before long you could find yourself up the proverbial creek, without a paddle.

This is where the support from a franchisor comes in – what you don’t know, they will teach you. This is true for all franchisors but the key to success is finding the franchisor who does more than handing you a toolkit and sending you on your merry way. Opt for a brand that continuously refreshes and updates their training programmes or goes above and beyond to equip their franchisees with everything needed to succeed.

For instance, at Just Cuts, we put a great deal of emphasis on setting our franchisees up with all the tools for success. We equip them with an online dashboard, which allows them to check in on their salon from wherever they are – they can even message stylists or check inventory. This essentially allows them to work from wherever they are and, because most employ a salon manager to handle operations, many of our franchisees have never even worked in the hairdressing sector before.

3. Keep your eye on the ball

They say that nothing worth having comes easy and that is so true in the case of franchising. To build a strong, profitable and scalable business, you must be willing to work hard. If you didn’t know anything about the sector before you entered it, then this is the time to roll up your sleeves and learn.

In theory, if you are following the model and processes of your franchise correctly, you stand a great chance of developing an exceptional business. But don’t become complacent by solely relying on guidance from your franchisor. Use your initiative, keep an eye on the numbers and implement innovative strategies where needed.

Our franchisees can vouch for the liberating opportunities that come hand in hand with taking a leap of faith and trying something completely new. Following these steps will guarantee you’ve made the right decision, whether you choose to opt for a new challenge in franchising, or two new challenges in franchising and a completely new sector.

The author

David Mathie is the UK general manager of Just Cuts. He has 19 years’ experience working in the hair and beauty industry and heads up Just Cuts in the United Kingdom. A Just Cuts franchise owner himself, David spent the previous five years running national operations for Just Cuts in Australia and New Zealand before moving to London.

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