Are you really your own boss as a franchisee?
by Lynne Rawlinson Jun 14 2017
Many cite being their own boss as their main reason for exploring franchising. A recent study found that one-in-ten people plan on starting a business within the year. And of those who actually do it, the over 50s are the fastest growing group.
So what about those who launch into self employment through franchising. Is buying a franchise the same as going it alone? Are you your own boss as a franchisee? Who really calls the shots? We asked three Business Doctors franchisees what they think
What does being your own boss mean and what are the advantages?
David Hill, Business Doctors franchisee for Slough and Maidenhead says: "For me it means some degree of freedom to determine my own future and to concentrate my efforts on what brings me most joy and of course results.
"It also means being ultimately accountable for success or failure, which is both good and bad. Having always been in employment, I wanted to test myself, so for me, becoming a franchisee had an element of self-fulfillment."
For Ian Roberts, who owns the Business Doctors' Oxford territory, it's all about leaving behind the restraints that a traditional career can bring.
"Being able to be creative and find and increase your own wealth from your own hard working efforts appeals very much to me," he says.
"Creating your own destiny feels amazing. Your earnings and possibilities are only limited to your efforts and ability to create and dream.
"Self employment can bring with it increased wealth, flexibility and a better family life."
And for Sussex Coast franchisee Sandra Murphy, work life balance is key.
She says: "Knowing that you can have flexible working hours when you need them is so important to me. I can make up hours during the evenings and weekends, which frees me up during the week if I have other commitments."
What are the disadvantages of being you own boss?
To seasoned entrepreneur Ian, self employment, whether as a franchisee or independent business owner comes with few negatives.
"There's no disadvantages really," he says, "other than sometimes you will have to work long hours. But then that's the same for people in employment.
"The way I see it is, if I need to work beyond the 9-5 on occasion, then I'd rather be doing it for myself than for someone else."
Sandra, like many of the self-employed, struggles from time to time with blurred boundaries. "Now I'm self employed," she said, "I do find it harder to switch off from what I'm doing and separate work time from non-work time.
"But the freedom to be able to plan my own working week far outweighs any problems caused by this lack of imposed routine," she adds.
Another new experience for Sandra, who launched her franchise in November 2016, is accountability. "As a franchisee, the buck stops with you and no one else. There's no hiding, no ducking and no blaming."
To David, it all boils down to one thing: "There's no monthly pay cheque!" he says.
What support do franchisees get that someone running a business on their own wouldn't?
David says he chose franchising because he wanted the ready made business model, established branding, back office support and associated training. "All this has by and large been recognised," he says.
For Sandra, the training, collateral and marketing support that came as part of her Business Doctors franchise package were crucial.
Ian says: "My own experience is that to have a clear path with proven strategies is way better then working on your own.
"Connecting to a wider network of like-minded and forward thing individuals offers you the support that you cannot truly fine working alone."
He also applauds the wide knowledge base that you gain access to when you join a franchised business, the professional image and the cost reducing economies of scale.
Do you need the same skills to successfully operate a franchise as to run an independent business?
Franchisees need to be good team players says Sandra. "You must be comfortable with a collaborative way of working to get the best out of franchise," she says. "Being a franchisee comes with a ready made support network. If you're not calling on it then you have to ask yourself why you wanted to be a part of it in the first place. Franchising is not an appropriate territory for lone wolves".
To David, there is a clear difference between successful franchisees and entrepreneurs. "To be a successful independent business owner requires more entrepreneurial abilities whereas running a franchise is more about exemplary management skills: managing and delivering a previously tried and trusted model," he says.
"Great franchisees are methodical, operational managers who can work a proven model and deliver to this. It is very different from starting something from scratch with no branding, no collateral, no systems."
"I think they're both all about the desire to want more," says Ian "and both routes require self-motivation. Before I bought a Business Doctors franchise I had already grown and sold a number of businesses of my own, but franchising still appealed as it will allow me to fast track my success; the path has been cleared for me to reap the rewards sooner."
Who calls the shots? The franchisee or the franchisor?
"Franchising is collaborative," says Ian. "It's not a boss-employee situation. The franchisor provide the support and proven mechanism but the franchisee must call the shots in his or her own franchise to ensure their own success. Without both sides taking their responsibility and pulling their weight, the venture would fail.
The franchisor and franchisee are in it together, echoes Sandra. For this reason, she emphasises the importance of finding a franchisor who has the same values as you." The franchisee calls the shots for their part of the business. But in terms of the presentation of the franchise and franchisee recruitment, these are both aspects of the business that are out of the control of the franchisee. This is why it is vital that your values match those of the franchisor and that you can trust them to make these decisions wisely."
To find out more about being your own boss with a Business Doctors SME support franchise give us a call now on 01774 833 778.