Are you really your own boss as a franchisee?
by Lynne Rawlinson

Is franchising really being your own boss?Many people state 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, 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 really working for yourself as a franchisee? We asked two Business Doctors franchisees what they think.

What does being your own boss mean and what are the advantages?

Being your own boss and running a successful business brings a degree of freedom, allows you to to determine your own future and to concentrate my efforts on what brings you most joy, and of course results. It also means being ultimately accountable for success or failure, which is both good and bad.

For Andy Mee, 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 Ryan Cartern (Coventry), work life balance is key.

He 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 your own boss?

To seasoned entrepreneur Andy, 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.”

Ryan, like many of the self-employed, struggles from time to time with blurred boundaries. “Now I’m self employed,” he 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,” he adds.

Another new experience for Ryan, who launched his franchise in November 2023, is accountability. “As a franchisee, the buck stops with you and no one else. There’s no hiding, no ducking and no blaming.”

What support do franchisees get that someone running a business on their own wouldn’t?

It takes a massive amount of expertise, time and effort establishing your business, even on a local level. The additional support a franchisor invests in a new franchisee is priceless and crucial to their success. You will also have the chance to benefit from using a recognised and trusted brand name.

For Ryan, the training, collateral and marketing support that came as part of his Business Doctors franchise package were crucial.

Ryan 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?

There’s a clear difference between successful franchisees and entrepreneurs. Running a franchise requires entrepreneurial skills to manage and deliver a trusted model. Great franchisees require more entrepreneurial abilities.

Franchisees need to be good team players says Ryan. “You must be comfortable with a collaborative way of working to get the best out of franchise,” he 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”.

“I think they’re both all about the desire to want more,” says Andy “and both routes require self-motivation. Before I bought a Business Doctors franchise I thought long and hard about starting up myself however franchising appealed more as it allowed me to fast track my success; the path had been cleared for me to reap the rewards sooner.”

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Who calls the shots? The franchisee or the franchisor?

“Franchising is collaborative,” says Andy. “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 Ryan. For this reason, he 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 as a Business Doctors franchisee please get in touch.

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