Carol Rawson, Managing Director of made-to-measure tailoring franchise Suit the City, reveals what franchisors look for in a franchisee
It goes without saying that to make a success of running your own business, you must be self- motivated. Franchisees invest in an opportunity to become independent and free of other people telling them what to do - there’ll be no boss breathing down their neck if they turn up late at work, so arguably they could stay in bed that bit longer.
But if that sounds like you, you’re probably not suited to franchising. With your own franchise, you are your own boss. So lay down some rules and stick to them, as only your own ambition and hard work will ensure you succeed. As franchisors, we’ll be there to help you every step of the way, but while franchising is a proven and safer route to successful self-employment, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s an easy ride. Results depend upon the effort you put in.
Professional people who can follow our formula
Although some franchisors may say they want entrepreneurs, in some ways this isn’t altogether true. We want successful business owners with the vision and tenacity to build and develop their own operations. We also want people with initiative who have good ideas and lots of energy.
However, key to franchising, compared to ‘go it alone’ start-ups, is that there is a given template to follow. We know that if our franchisees follow our proven business model and listen to our advice, they can achieve success. It’s a matter of taking advantage of an established brand and product or service and a system that works. If you prefer to do your own thing, with your own plans and ideas, you might be better considering setting up on your own rather than becoming a franchisee.
We expect you to be well organised
Good organisational skills are vital to effective business management. In the early days, you will need to ensure you utilise your time effectively and later, when you are more established, operating efficiently will be key to keeping customers happy and maximising profitability.
You can expect your franchisor to provide time management training, which will give you the skills to plan your days and weeks to include new sales prospecting, handling enquiries, managing your database and keeping admin up to date, as well as delivering your product or service. Going forward, it will be up to you to plan for success on a day-to-day basis.
We’ll look at your experience
For some franchisees, previous experience or a particular background is not relevant, as in these cases the required skill set can be taught. In other instances, franchisors - including Suit the City - will take a closer look at your former business life. This is often particularly true for so-called white collar franchises, where business acumen, connections and networking skills are essential to building your franchise.
Of course, like all good franchisors, we provide comprehensive training and plenty of ongoing support, but our own experience tells us that those with strong interpersonal, communications and sales skills will make the most successful franchisees.
We want positivity
Whether your chosen franchise requires previous experience or specific skills or not, all franchisors will look for one key thing - personality. This is possibly the most important asset all franchisors want in their franchisees.
Running your own business is incredibly satisfying and rewarding, but it’s challenging too. You need to be a positive person with initiative and imagination, always seeing the opportunities and the potential ahead of you, rather than being easily disheartened. You will need to be hard-working, tenacious and passionate about what you do. If you are focused, ambitious and have a strong, determined streak, it’s likely you’ll make a great success of your business.
We want your family and friends behind you
Becoming self-employed is a major life change and not a decision to be taken lightly. You will be able to depend on support from your franchisor, but the support of your family and friends is imperative, so as franchisors we like to know you will have the personal as well as professional support you need.
Occasionally, partners or other family members may become involved with office admin or answering the phone. Others simply lend their enthusiasm, interest and a sympathetic ear, sharing the ups and downs that inevitably come with running a business. Such support is invaluable and can make a significant difference to the success of a franchise.
We need to know you can afford it
It seems obvious, but as franchisors we need to make sure you can afford to take the leap into developing your own business. Your overheads and lifestyle expectations should suggest to you what income you need and how quickly you need to achieve it.
Obviously, you cannot expect the same returns from a franchise that costs you £10,000 compared to a business that costs £250,000. But irrespective of the level of investment, you may need to add working capital to the franchise fee and also have sufficient money to live on while your business grows. Some franchisors, including Suit the City, can offer help with sourcing funding if you don’t have the capital.
What do you want?
So you’re a determined, hard-working and organised person able to get out of bed in the mornings, but what about choosing the franchise that’s right for you? Think carefully about what you want from your business and consider your strengths and attributes before drawing up a shortlist of potential opportunities.
There are plenty of franchises on offer, so do your research too. Try to visit the franchisors on your shortlist. You are making a life changing decision and will need to scrutinise their operations, franchise packages and ask as many questions as you can.
We’re selecting you, but you’re selecting us too, so meet your franchisor face to face and find out whether there’s the personal chemistry to make you want to join the team.