By investing in a management franchise, you can use the experience gained during your career to grow your own business
Owning and running a franchise business is all about transferrable skills. And that’s perhaps best illustrated in the abundant and diverse range of businesses that operate in the ‘management franchise’ category.
Essentially, a management franchise is a business you own and run with a broad oversight, rather than being involved in delivering the day-to-day activities. Your role is to use the experience and expertise gained during your career to lead your company and manage your team effectively, with a keen focus on business development and a strong steer on the financials.
That encompasses a range of options in franchising, including home care providers, procurement experts, cost management services, commercial and domestic cleaning, recruitment, financial services, property services, gyms, hospitality, retail - and that’s far from an exhaustive list. If you’ve got the right skills, chances are you can find a franchise to fire your passion and inspire you.
This is a potentially lucrative sector, as six and seven-figure turnovers are not unusual in established businesses, some with attractive profit margins.
But if all that sounds like a dream, then be under no illusions - there are no guarantees and it requires hard work. An awful lot of it. You’re likely to work long hours at the beginning as you establish your business; you’ll need a certain degree of entrepreneurial flair to grow; exceptional ability to lead a team and develop a business; strong self-motivation, drive and determination; and a great set of skills from your career to date.
If you think you’ve got what it takes, it’s worth examining exactly what those skills are.
You’re going to need to look at your management experience and demonstrate how it will switch across to business ownership success.
That might include people management, leadership, problem solving, recruiting experience, budgeting skills, procurement expertise and excellence in client/customer care. All are highly transferrable and sought after by franchisors.
The more boxes you can tick, the more attractive you’ll be as an ideal prospective franchisee.
Keep in mind that joining a franchise is a two-way process. The franchisor needs to make sure you’re the right fit for it too and if there’s no quality control check on you, the franchisee, before signing up then walk away and don’t look back. If you’re running a business under a brand that lets anyone with a pulse and a cheque join, then that brand is only going downhill - and fast.
Because franchising is set up to allow people to run their own businesses in a field in which they have little or no direct professional experience, your interchangeable skills are all-important. So consider yours carefully when you’re looking to make the right impression on a franchisor.
Lifestyle is one of the key considerations you should be thinking about if you’re looking to transition to franchise business ownership. Even within a broad category like management franchises, there are numerous and sometimes substantial variations on the day-to-day life of the operator, depending on whether their customers are other businesses or individual people.
For example, a franchise that specialises in business-to-business products and services, such as a procurement or recruitment consultancy, will generally operate during normal office hours, Monday-Friday. You’re likely to have to complete some administration outside those times, but your business will effectively close when your clients do.
On the other hand, a gym or retail outlet will open during evenings and weekends and though you won’t need to be on-site as your staff will be looking after things, you may at the least need to be contactable in emergencies.
Similarly, a management franchise will sometimes be home based, at least to start off with, or operate from a small office. Others require substantial trading centres.
Working from home usually requires less start-up supplies or stock and therefore those franchises typically have lower start-up costs and working capital requirements than a premises-based business. In mitigation though, a gym, coffee shop or retail franchise will usually come with a well known, national brand and substantial customer loyalty behind it.
There’s no right or wrong here. What’s key is to look at what is important to you and your family/partner, what you’re comfortable doing and what you’re passionate about. Weigh things up carefully as you’re deciding which way is the right direction for you.
Hit the ground gunning
As franchising matures in the UK, more resale businesses are coming onto the market - around half of franchises are now resales, in fact.
Management franchises are perfectly suited as resales because of their structure - the staff performing day-to-day operations do not change when the ownership changes, so they can continue to make profit from day one if the business is already successfully trading. Your job will be to grow rather than establish the company in your local area.
As always with any franchise, remember to manage your expectation and your research carefully and you might just find the business of your dreams.
About the author
Paul Stafford QFP is the head of franchise marketing at Chantry (UK) Limited and the former PR manager of the British Franchise Association.