Top tips from Dave Lister of X-Press Legal Services
After the festive season is over, people often long for new challenges, excitement and adventure.
This time of year is a great opportunity to reconsider and implement long-standing plans that have been shelved for a while. People may start to think seriously about moving house, having an exotic holiday, changing job, taking early retirement or starting a new enterprise.
Fortunately, New Year blues is temporary for most people, who soon begin to look optimistically to the future and explore ways to achieve their ambitions. Many recognise the opportunity for a fresh start in a completely new direction and, for those wanting to have their own business, franchising may be their way forward, given its advantages and benefits.
The essence of franchising is that you are your own boss, but without being entirely on your own. Help and support are always available - when you buy a franchise, you’re buying an established brand and a proven system, with training from experienced business professionals.
If you like the concept in principle, how do you make it happen? Thorough research is the first step. Examine every aspect of franchising in minute detail to ensure you understand the method, as well as the obligations and commitments of both franchisee and franchisor.
Then, when you have identified the business you think you would like to join, check out everything there is to know about it and, finally, appraise honestly your attributes and abilities, qualifications and experience, as well as your personal circumstances and commitment, to make sure you’re a good match for the franchisor’s requirements.
Apart from fact finding, prospective franchisees need to be certain they are suitable to be self-employed. Some people thrive on it and are supremely self-confident. Others miss the buzz of being in a workplace with other people.
Being your own boss is extremely rewarding and offers freedom and flexibility, but it can also be lonely and frustrating, especially in the early days when you’re the only one around to do everything that needs to be done.
While it’s true that anyone can become a successful franchisee with the right training and attitude, it’s better to give yourself a head start by choosing something you can do and will enjoy. Buying a franchise means making a commitment for, typically, a minimum of five years, so it’s important to be happy while you work.
In my own franchise, X-Press Legal Services, we have a clearly defined franchisee profile that identifies the things that are essential to the smooth running of our business, which is providing a wide range of property searches and reports - a large and important part of the property buying process in the UK - to solicitors, licensed conveyancers and property developers
Over the years, we have invested large amounts of money and resources in new technology, imaginative marketing programmes and personal development opportunities for our franchisees.
Our expansion continues to be driven by advanced technology, which enables us to provide an unprecedented and innovative range of systems for our franchisees to maximise for their clients’ benefit. This approach has taken our business to a new level, with big strides forward that have been warmly welcomed by our franchise network.
Put simply, we want to recruit confident people who share our vision for the future, will embrace change, who are willing to adopt new ways of working and invest time in their own personal development to acquire new skills. In short, people who are hungry for success and will work hard on their own account and with the network to achieve it.
Franchisors warm to prospective franchisees who do their homework before the first, crucial, meeting and demonstrate they are serious candidates who are worth considering. It’s important for prospective franchisees to impress the franchisor by showing they understand the sector, have researched the business and are willing to invest effort in it - as well as money.
Meeting to discuss a franchise is, of course, not the same as going to a job interview. The fundamental difference is franchising is a personal investment. It’s definitely not buying a job.
Prospective franchisees should be self-motivated, quietly confident and determined to succeed, if they want to impress franchisors. At the same time, they should recognise the opportunity the meeting offers to have a full and frank discussion and to ask their own questions of the franchisor.
The right chemistry, hard to define but essential in any relationship, is what makes a strong franchise. If it gels on first meeting, the chances of lasting success are very high and encouraging, since franchising depends on the mutual success of both parties.
Something for everyone
There’s a huge and growing choice of franchised businesses, across a range of sectors and industries. The most recent research confirms that franchising’s contribution to the UK economy is £15.1 billion, an increase of 20 per cent in the last three years and 46 per cent in the last 10 years.
The number of franchisee owned businesses has increased by 14 per cent in two years and the sector employs 621,000 people.
Franchising has something for everyone to suit all interests, abilities and budgets. With so much on offer, it’s important to think carefully about the many possible opportunities before deciding which is the right one for you. Franchising is often compared to a marriage, because the similarities are obvious. It’s important, then, to remember the old adage: ‘Marry in haste, repent at leisure’, so don’t rush anything.
Instead, quietly consider the options and concentrate on making a good first impression with the franchisor. You only ever get one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure yours is truly outstanding.