Looking to invest in a franchise and set some smart goals for the next 12 months? read on, Paul Boniface says
Before I became franchise director at Ableworld, one of the leading mobility retailers in the UK, I was a management trainer for many years. This time of year was always an opportunity to pull out one of my favourite mnemonics. It was setting SMART goals for the next 12 months. The theory being that just wishing something would happen was often not enough - you needed a plan.
SMART, as you may know, stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed and you construct your goal - or New Year’s resolution - by checking it against each criteria.
Since many people consider making a change at this time of year, including investing in a franchise, I thought I would see if the model still works.
### Specific ###
You think you want to change your career or lifestyle and invest in a franchise? What type of franchise would suit you best? There are job-style franchises and there are management-style franchises, where you do not perform the actual job. The Ableworld franchise is a combination of the two. Running a retail operation means you have to be hands on, but you also have to manage staff.
What sort of sector appeals to you? Services, property, outdoors and pet-related industries are all possibilities, as is retail. Is owning your own shop something you’ve ever dreamed of?
Would you like to go into a steady sector or one experiencing growth? The mobility retail sector, for example, is set to grow dramatically over the next few years. Government statistics show what we all know - our population is growing and people are living longer. As they age, a large number of people will require the products and services Ableworld supplies.
### Measurable ###
How do you want to measure your success? Money is an obvious one. Consider how much you want to earn over the life of your franchise and whether you need to own more than one franchise to achieve your goal. What about job satisfaction? Many people in the mobility sector say that helping people to live more comfortable and active lives is an important part of how they feel about their job.
### Achievable ###
Is your goal within your grasp? Setting up in business on your own is not without risk. How can you reduce that risk? The facts strongly suggest that setting up in business via the franchise route gives you a greater chance of still being in business and profitable after five
years. After all, with a franchise you are following a proven model.
### Realistic ###
Is your plan achievable? Do you have the right resources, both personal and financial? Financially you will need to make a commitment of several thousand pounds. Do you have access to liquid funds to cover that or will you need to borrow money? The banks are keen to lend to the right people investing in the right franchise because they perceive franchised businesses to be less of a commercial risk.
Check your personal skill set for your chosen franchise, but do not let yourself be limited by existing skills. Many skills are transferable and all reputable franchises offer training. It can be energising to learn new skills in a second or third career.
### Time-Framed ###
Consider the important element of timing. Often there is a best time in the business cycle to open. Do you have to give substantial notice to your current employer? What about your family? When is the best time for them?
Find out how long it typically takes to set up your chosen franchise and how much time you will have to devote to training. How long will it be before you break even? Finally, begin with the end in mind - what is your long-term plan for the business?
As you consider your plans for the next year, I hope my SMART mnemonic helps. However, don’t deliberate too long. Good opportunities tend to come and go very quickly.