Utilizing your skills and experience to start achieving success on your own terms
For many corporate professionals, one of the biggest attractions towards self-employment and business ownership is the opportunity to take all the skills, experience and knowledge that you've acquired over the course of your career and to start applying them in your own way.
It's very common to hear professionals explain that as they progressed through their career, they reached a point where the thrill and excitement that they initially experienced faded, leaving them that with a realisation that they've spent some of the best years of their life working long, hard hours, with little to show for it other than a pay check that's long gone and missed valuable time with the family.
However, they are also aware that the one thing they've gained, that will never leave them, are the skills, experience and knowledge that they've acquired through the process - and they have a growing desire to start using these skills to achieve success, for them and their family, on their own terms.
For many of you, you have built up a valuable and unique and portfolio of skills as you've progressed throughout your career. From running large teams and managing million-pound budgets, through to overseeing product launches and launching new business units, you've acquired a wealth of experience that would be hard to replicate.
In addition to the direct experience that you've gained, you've also built an arsenal of personal and professionals skills that are readily transferable to new business ventures. In fact, many corporate professionals underestimate just how valuable their current skill set is; from time management and goal setting through to leadership and management, these key skills form the foundation of any good business and you would be surprised just how many small businesses don't have them.
This is where the power of franchising comes in. Franchising can be an attractive option for those considering how they can turn their skills and experience into a valuable business. When you join a franchise, you get the benefits of a proven business model and established support network, allowing you to launch a new business in a minimal risk way. However, the success of each business is still down to you and you're the one that must use your transferable knowledge, skills and expertise to bring it to life.
Having worked with employed professionals from around the globe we are firm believers that corporate employees make some of the best franchisees. There are many reasons for this but at its core, corporate employees have grown up in an environment that's not all too different from a franchise. In both a corporate and franchise environment, you're operating a business within defined parameters and have a support team readily available to help you accomplish your goal. The only difference is that in a franchise, you're the captain of your own ship and your speed, direction and success is entirely down to you.
Despite what many people think, the first step to exploring business and franchise ownership is an internal one. You must first take a step back and examine your career to date; what have you enjoyed over the course of your career, what have you been most successful at, what have you been least successful at, what did you least enjoy, what have you valued most, what have you valued least and much more. You will be surprised at how insightful this initial process can be, particularly as you may not have approached the evaluation of your career from this perspective before.
This initial process is vital because it helps to ensure an alignment between you, the prospective franchisor and the business models which are operated. You see, every franchisors business model requires a specific skill set and a matching set of values for the franchisee to be successful.
For example, a high performing business coach may require developed coaching skills, patience, has an abundant mentality and deeply values freedom and autonomy. If you go into that franchise without possessing similar skills and values that are shared by the top performing franchisees, then you are immediately limiting your potential and will build a mediocre business at best.
Here are some initial questions for you to consider when evaluating your past career as a starting point to discovering your ideal business:
- What are the three things that you’ve most enjoyed during your career?
- What are the three things that you’ve least enjoyed during your career?
- What highlights in your career are you most proud of?
- What three skills have been most valuable to your career to date?
- What environment have you enjoyed working in the most?
- What has been your biggest contribution to date?
- If you could go back, what parts of your career would you not repeat? Why?
- What has been your biggest mistake?
- What company have you most enjoyed working at? Why?
- What company have you least enjoyed working at? Why?
- What advice would you give to your younger self, at the beginning of your career?
The truth is, a large majority of franchise failures can be prevented if the incoming franchisee spent more time exploring themselves at the beginning of the process. One of the mistakes we often see, particularly with senior corporate professionals, is that they already assume they know who they are and fail to dive a little deeper to uncover those hidden interests and talents that they never knew they had.
That is why, when exploring franchising with professionals, we spend extra time exploring their career and understanding how they arrived at where they are today. We gain insight into the common threads that have contributed to how they got to where they currently are, highlighting their transferable skills, interests, strengths and weaknesses. We then take this accumulated knowledge and directly compare it with the many different franchise models, to see which ones match best.
Franchising allows you to rediscover your freedom and unleash your potential.
Why corporate professionals make great franchise owners
At first glance, you might think that the profile of a good franchisee is that of a dynamic business owner or extraverted entrepreneur. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In some franchise systems, particularly the large global brands such as McDonalds and Domino’s where the expectations from their network is high, the role of the franchisee can be a strange mix between employment and self-employment; you are your own boss but you’re working to the strict standards and procedures set out by the franchisor. This is clearly a vast contrast to the day-to-day life of a startup business owner, who is free to do things how they wish (in fact, they have the opposite problem of too much freedom and not knowing what to do).
The very nature of franchising is that you’re following a proven system that’s set out by the franchisor. The franchisees that are most successful have one thing in common; they follow the system! You would be surprised at just how many franchisees join a franchise system and try to start changing things or taking a different approach. They fail to realise that what they have invested in is a proven business model that has been tested over again and is a short cut to success.
This is why former corporate employees can make outstanding franchisees. After spending their entire career in corporate life they have the willingness and discipline to follow established systems and processes. They have the skills and experience of bringing these processes to life and in many cases, the desire to remain as part of a community of like minded peers who they can learn and grow from. This directly conflicts with the profile of a typical entrepreneur, who would feel like a caged lion if bound by a daily operations manual and franchise agreement.
Below is a list of characteristics that highlight why corporate employees make excellent and highly successful franchisees:
- Sales Skills: Even if you’ve not been in a formal sales role, the fact that you have climbed up the corporate ladder shows that you can sell yourself and your services. This is a fundamental skill of going into business – you simply have to know how to sell.
- Leadership Skills: Many of you will have developed adapt leadership skills; the ability to inspire, motivate and channel people towards a common goal. This is a skill that is rarely developed outside a corporate setting.
- Management Skills: It’s highly likely that you will have managed several different teams over the course of your career. You’ve learned to work with different personalities and know how to get the best out of people.
- Communication Skills: One of the first skills that is developed in a corporate environment are communication skills. These skills have been further refined and built upon over the course of your career to make you excellent communicators, with the ability to manage both up and down the corporate ladder.
- Compliance: Corporate professionals are excellent at complying to systems and processes, following the procedures and ensuring that others are doing the same too.
- Risk Aversion: Believe it or not, a large majority of business owners are highly risk averse. They are not looking to take big risks and if they are to take a risk, then it’s highly calculated and the potential downside has been defined and capped. Many of the corporate professionals that we’ve worked with are highly risk averse too and are not willing to risk all they’ve built over the course of their careers in the latter stages of their lives.
- People Skills: Like communication skills, corporate professionals tend to have excellent people skills. They can build rapport, establish relationships, strengthen communications and fundamentally be ‘liked’ by others.
- Self-motivation: Senior corporate professionals tend to be highly self-motivated and inner directed. They do not need an external stimulus in order to motivate and drive performance (although external rewards can incentivize performance).
- Ambition: Corporate professionals tend to be ambitious and wish to succeed. This makes them excellent franchise owners where there is always room to grow.
- Commercial Acumen: Corporate professionals tend to have a developed sense of commercial acumen. They can identify opportunities, measure risk, negotiate, close deals and execute the given business plan.
- Perseverance: We all have times where we need to persevere, but corporate professionals seem to be exceptionally good at it. This is largely because they usually have no choice – they either persevere with current circumstances of you move jobs (and there’s only so much moving that you can realistically do)
- Mental Aptitude: Senior corporate professionals tend to have strong mental aptitude and the ability to stay focused through testing times.
If you’re currently in a corporate role and considering franchising as a next step, then we highly encourage you to explore it further. Many of the corporate professionals that we work with are surprised to learn just how many transferable skills they have that they can bring to the table, allowing them to start achieving success on their own terms. Franchising is often the least explored alternative career path, but the one that has the greatest potential of allowing you to rediscover your freedom and unleash your potential.
Brand name or brand new?
Is joining a well-known franchise system, like Subway or Domino's, better than joining an up and coming brand? How does it make a difference to your ultimate success as a franchisee? While there’s no hard and fast rules, there are certainly benefits to both.
With an established brand like Domino's for example, you have almost guaranteed success and a far lower risk profile. They have superb support teams, practically bullet-proof systems and a global network of franchisees who can validate the concept.
On the other hand, with an up and coming concept, you can snap up prime locations, you tend to have a better relationship and more flexibility with the franchisor, the room to grow with the brand is unlimited and in many cases, you are able to access much greater levels of opportunity, such as multi-unit and area developer rights.
The truth is, many of the big name franchisors are no longer accessible to everyday franchise prospects. These brands have saturated markets and are generally looking for new franchisees who have both capital and substantial operating experience working in similar type businesses and who are willing to dedicate ten to twenty years developing their franchises. If you’re coming from a successful corporate career, that is often the last thing you’re looking for.
Often, the best time to get into a franchise system is typically when the franchise has between 50 and 200 franchisees. This shows that the franchise has a level of validation; if fifty existing franchises are performing well then, the franchisor has done something right, but provides enough room for you to grow as the franchisor continues to grow. When you get the timing right, it usually opens you to opportunity that you may not get with older, more established franchisors.
An example of this is if you joined a franchise brand when it had 50 franchisees. As the franchisor continues to grow, they may give you the opportunity to open more locations, spearhead new initiatives and represent the franchisor on a paid basis. Opening multi-locations can be particularly lucrative – imagine if you were one of the early Costa Coffee or Starbucks franchisees? You would be selling your business for seven to eight figures now.
When looking at franchise brands with fewer than 50 units you should remain more cautious and conduct extra research. Franchisors with this level of franchisees typically have less established vendor relationships, less established training and support systems and less experience launching new businesses successfully.
Leveraging your transferable skills
Over the course of your corporate career you will have built up an arsenal of skills that can be taken and readily applied to the launch and growth of your own business. In fact, many corporate professionals underestimate just how valuable their skillset is. The truth is, what might be common practice for them, such as having clear agendas for meetings, weekly/monthly/quarterly reviews and regular training to name just a few, may be a complete mystery to existing small business owners who are struggling to get by.
There are many transferable skills that you will take from the corporate world into your own business, however some of the most common transferable skills that we see include:
- Leadership and Management Skills: Your ability to organize, focus and inspire a group of people towards achieving a common goal is a key component of business success, regardless of industry, product/service or geography.
- Time Management: Being able to organize your time, prioritize key activities and align yourself to your calendar during your working week, navigating obstacles as they arise, is a skill that can only be learnt through experience. With corporate environments usually being fast paced it’s one of the first skills that you really learn to master.
- Communication: The ability to clearly articulate your ideas, understand where a person is coming from, to read the dynamics of a social situation and to anticipate next steps are vital skills that are honed and refined during a corporate career. Applying these skills to your own business ventures can have a significant, positive effect on your overall business success and the enjoyment you get from the journey.
- Sales Skills: You may not have been in a formal sales position, but the ability to sell yourself, your ideas and your deliverables is a key skill that will have grown and refined over your corporate career and can be readily applied to your own business venture.
- Agility: The ability to see around corners, respond to emergencies and adapt when needed is a key skill that can only be leant through experience. Small business is a continuous process of responding to unknowns and the more flexible and agile you are, the more likely you’re going to succeed.
In summary, never underestimate what you can and cannot do. Some of the critical activities that you do day-in, day-out can play a key role in your own business success and are often the reason why existing business owners do not fully realize their own business success.
The realities of business ownership on family life
If you've spent your life working as an employee, the idea of running a business and being your own boss can be appealing. No longer would you be a slave to your corporate agenda, missing those key moments and events such as a family birthday or a kid’s rugby game. As your own boss, you'll have the freedom to work when you like, where you like and to answer to only you and your family. Or will you?
Small business ownership can bring freedom, but with freedom comes increased responsibility. While the dream of small business ownership can certainly be attractive, it’s easy to look past the realities of small business ownership and not truly consider how it will impact your family life.
Below is a list of key things to consider when thinking about how small business ownership could impact your family life.
- On call 24/7 - As a small business owner you are head chef and bottle washer, and ultimately responsible for every aspect of your business. If something happens, be it good or bad, you are the one who has ultimate responsibility. When you move into business ownership you will quickly find that you’re on call 24/7 - and even if there are no emergences that require your attention, you're still thinking and speaking about business.
- Being physically present but mentally absent - There will be times in business when things go wrong with no apparent or quick fix solution to be had. This can result in weeks, sometimes months, of being physically present but mentally distracted and it can have a very real impact on your family life. It requires an emphatic spouse who understands what you’re going through and who sees the bigger picture of why you’re going through it.
- Adjusting lifestyle - When you start your business journey one of the first things that a family tends to notice is the change in lifestyle habits. Whereas before you may have had enough surplus income to support extracurricular activities, as a business owner, you become naturally more cautious with your time and with spending money. This is largely because as a business owner there are always so many things to do, with fewer resources to do them with. Time out of the business can have a double hit, as you have to consider the cost of missed income in addition to the cost of your holiday or extra-curricular activity.
- Holidays become more expensive - Until your business is at a point where it can run itself, you will, find that family holidays will become significantly more expensive! This is because you are not only paying for the holiday, you are also missing out on income that you would be earning if you were working. Things such as holiday pay are a major perk of corporate life and only truly appreciated when you no longer have it.
With all of the above considered, there are also many positive ways that business ownership impacts family life:
- Greater control over your destiny - At the end of the day, you’re the one who has the final say over where you’re going, what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. This can be all that people need to wholeheartedly pursue small business ownership as a next step in their life. Small business ownership is a vehicle that gives you control over your destiny and this can have an amazing impact on your family life; not only by better charting your family’s destiny, but also by serving as a positive example for your children to follow.
- Rediscover your freedom - Small business ownership allows you to rediscover the freedom that you may have thought you lost. This can be the most liberating experience that brings out a new and better side of you. As you progress down the path of small business ownership, you will notice yourself changing in many positive ways, you will feel freer and more energized with life. This will have a direct and noticeable impact on your family life and we have heard many say that the depth of their relationships have improved considerably.
- The ability to prioritise key events and occasions - One of the greatest benefits of business ownership compared to corporate life is the significantly increased ability to take the time out of your business to attend key events. No longer do you have to have to miss these milestone occasions, ask for permission to attend, or keep one eye on your email in case an emergency arises. Many of the former corporate professionals that we’ve worked with have commented that the freedom to attend key occasions has had a significant impact on their home and family life.
- Family involvement - For some people, starting a small business is not only about increased freedom and autonomy, it's also about having a vehicle to teach children and younger relatives the realities of business. The long term, positive impact this can have on a family can be tremendous and can truly change the charting of a family's destiny for many generations to come, leaving a legacy of business and knowledge for others to benefit from.
- Unleashing your potential - Finally, business ownership provides a vehicle and platform from which you can truly unleash your potential. It can cause you to impact the lives of others in ways you couldn’t imagine and achieve things you never thought possible. This can leave the most positive and inspiring impact on children, who naturally look up to their parents as positive examples to follow. By unleashing your potential, you’re directly encouraging and inspiring your children to do the same.
Comparing franchise support vs. corporate support
One of the reasons why franchising can be an attractive option to employed professionals considering a career change is that the dynamics and support found in a franchise can be very similar to those found in a corporate environment.
When coming from corporate employment, you will have grown up in an environment where you have been used to having certain resources available to you. These resources can be easily overlooked and taken for granted, largely because they are so readily available and easily accessible.
Such resources include:
- IT systems for customer management
- HR functions for employment related questions/issues
- Accounts team for payroll queries
- Sales teams for lead generation and business development
The support structure of these resources allow you to focus on your core responsibilities, facilitating the accomplishment of your goals while minimising distractions.
If you are considering transitioning out of corporate life into business ownership, then one of the biggest shocks that most people encounter is just how much work there is to do and how little resources you have. From administration and book keeping through to marketing, sales and product/service delivery – you are chief cook and bottle washer. While certain functions can be outsourced early, such as book keeping, a large majority of the tasks can’t.
This leads to much slower progress than you initially anticipated (and would like) plus it leaves you spending a large majority of your time completing activities that you are not naturally skilled at. Not only can this leave you feeling frustrated and questioning your move from the safety of employment, it can also be quite risky financially as it will probably take you longer to generate a sustainable income that can support you and your family than you initially anticipated.
This is where the value of franchising can come in. When you transition out of corporate into franchise business ownership, one of the first things you will notice is that the dynamics of a franchise aren’t too dissimilar to those that you’ll have experienced in a corporate environment. In a franchise there is a clear hierarchal structure and support network available to you from day one, which will include resources such as:
- IT systems for managing customers, inventory control and invoicing/book keeping
- Marketing systems for attracting clients to your business, including pre-built (and tested) advertising campaigns that you can turn on/off like a tap
- Sales systems for turning those prospects into paying customers, with things such as sales scripts (telling you exactly what to say) and stepped processed for moving leads through a proven sales sequence.
- Operation manuals that have detailed, step-by-step processes on what to do and when so that you can effectively deliver your product/service to your customers and can easily train others to do the same
- Head office support who are readily available to answer your questions, guide your next steps and who have skin in the game when it comes to you being successful.
Having worked with employed professionals from around the globe, we are firm believers that former employees make some of the most successful franchisees. There are many reasons for this but at its core, former employees have grown up in an environment that's not all too different from a franchise. In both a corporate and franchise environment, you're operating a business within defined parameters and have a support team readily available to help you accomplish your goal.
Why it’s important to work with a career transition specialist
There is a concept called liminality. Liminality is the space between where you’ve been and where you want to go. It can be a confusing place, a scary place. It can be a place filled with pitfalls and dead ends. To help navigate this space and successfully transition from where you are to where you want to go, it’s important to work with somebody who has seen it, done it and helped people in similar circumstances to you get safely to the other side.
Transitioning from an employed role to a franchise owner is a big step – not only are you heading into the unknown, you’re putting your own capital at risk. If you’re thinking of making a change in your life and moving from being an employee to a franchise business owner, then you would greatly benefit from working with a career transition specialist.
A career transition specialist operates in a very similar way to an executive recruiter. They spend a time getting to understand you, your career and your aspirations moving forward, then they match you with the most suitable career opportunities. They help you make life changing decisions and move from where you have been to where you want to go.
Your ultimate success in franchising will depend largely on how well matched you are to your chosen franchise model. The closer your match, the higher your chances of success.
Some of the things to consider when it comes to selecting the right franchise opportunity for you are:
- Business Model Alignment – How well does the business model fit with your background and experience? Will you be able to leverage a broad range of your transferable skills, or dies it require learning a whole new skill set? Do you share the same values as the franchisor and the top performing franchisees? A career transition specialist will help you find the answers to these questions and use their knowledge of the industry to align you with the franchises where you will be most successful.
- Franchisor Alignment – How well do you get on with the leadership team of your chosen franchise? Do you buy into their vision for the future? Do you share a similar outlook on business and on life? A good career transition specialist will not only be great at matching you to the right franchise models, they will be great at matching you to the right people and culture. A key component of franchising is the network of support – if you’ve got the right business model but the wrong people supporting you, then you’re going to find things challenging the moment a small issue arises.
- Financial Alignment – Will your chosen franchise generate the financial returns that you’re looking for? How long will it take to get to your desired level of income? What are your financial options when it comes to exiting the franchise? A career transition consultant will help you look past the financial claims on the sales and marketing prospectus and give you real insight into the financial earnings based on their knowledge of the market.
- Lifestyle Alignment – What are the real lifestyle consequences of your chosen franchise? Can you really work nine-to-five, Monday to Friday, or does the business require evening and weekend work? What are your lifestyle goals for your business? A career transition specialist will bring clarity to all these questions and help you be certain of what you’re going into.
At Knight Franchises, we are a team of executive search consultants and career transition specialists that help corporate professionals successfully transition from corporate life into franchise business ownership. Coming from a corporate recruitment background, we have a key understanding of both the corporate and franchise worlds, and help professionals successfully transition between the two.
We approach the transition from corporate employment into franchising in the following way:
- Discovery – our unique 1-Hour Discovery allows you to quickly ascertain if franchising is a viable vehicle for you, while simultaneously increasing your knowledge base on franchising. By the end of this 1-Hour Discovery, you will have reached a conclusion as to whether franchising is a viable option for you to continue exploring further.
- Calibration – As we move through the discovery process we will provide you with an executive summary to summarise your exploratory process to date. This helps you clarify your thought process while simultaneously confirming our understanding of what good looks like for you.
- Presentation – With an understanding of your background, experience and aspirations moving forward, we are able to begin presenting the franchise opportunities that are most relevant for you. We explore business model, industry and deep-dive into the mechanics of each opportunity, looking for alignment and validation.
- Introduction – with one or two franchise concepts to explore further, we begin to introduce you to each franchisor at the appropriate level of the business. We schedule introductory calls, setup Discovery Day’s and arrange for you to speak with existing franchisees so that you can effectively validate each concept.
If you’d like to discover whether franchising is the path for you, schedule a 15-minute exploratory conversation and let’s see whether franchising is the vehicle that will help you rediscover your freedom and unleash your potential.
Transitioning from an employed role to a franchise owner is a big step – not only are you heading into the unknown, you’re putting your own capital at risk. If you’re thinking of making a change in your life
Top ten tips for successful career transition
If you’re considering a change in career, transitioning from a known path to an unknown one, then the journey can seem daunting and unnerving. Having worked with thousands of professionals, helping them to make pivotal decisions, we’ve compiled a list of the top ten tips to consider when thinking about and exploring the idea of making a career transition.
Tip One: Timing
The most important thing to consider when exploring career transitioning is timing. While there will rarely be a ‘perfect’ time to make the transition out of corporate life into small business ownership, there will certainly be ‘preferable’ times. Redundancy, completion of a major project, new corporate leadership and mergers/acquisition are always good times to stop and re-evaluate your career. Do you want to continue down the same path for the next five years? Do you share the same vision, values and goals as your new CEO? Do you see a redundancy on the horizon, or will a upcoming merger put you in a position to negotiate an exit on favorable terms? These major events will often serve as key points to stop, re-evaluate and refocus towards a new direction. Of the thousands of conversations that we’ve had with corporate professionals across the world, timing has proved to be the most important factor when it comes to successfully transitioning out of corporate into a new career.
Tip Two: Family Alignment
Following on closely from timing is family alignment. It is critical that you have the backing and support of your family as you transition from a secure corporate role to the uncertain realities of business ownership. Business ownership is an exciting journey that will be filled with many highs and lows. While similar journeys may be had on the corporate rollercoaster, there is one primary difference; in a corporate role you are guaranteed a paycheck at the end of the month. In many cases, you will also have the security of great benefits such as pension contributions, car allowances, paid holidays and private health. As a business owner, you have none of these guarantees. Unless you have a large cash cushion to support your first few years, it’s likely that you will have to adjust your family lifestyle so that you can elevate your business to a place of stability. This can cause challenges in your family dynamics unless they are fully behind you and emotionally invested in your shared vision of small business ownership.
Tip Three: Desired Exit Strategy
If you’re planning on starting a franchise in the latter part of your career, then it’s likely that you have a clear timeframe in mind on when you want to begin slowing down and changing pace. That time frame may be five, ten or even fifteen years – what’s important is that you have a clear number in mind and you have a couple of scenarios of what a good exit might look like for you. This could be selling the business, handing the business over and receiving passive income for the lifetime of your clients, passing on to children or completely winding things down. Your exit will be personal to you and therefore the exit strategy will vary from person to person. What’s important is that you have a couple of clear strategies in mind and that you validate these strategies by speaking with your franchisor. How many previous franchisees have successfully exited on your proposed strategy? How does the franchisor help you exit the business? Does the time it take to build the business align with your timeframes? These are some of the questions that you want to think and speak with experts about. This is one of the many benefits of going into a franchised business; there are people who’ve walked your intended path before and therefore more reassurance behind the validity of your intended strategy. Some of the most successful business owners that we see have a clear exit plan in place before they even start a business.
Tip Four: Business Model Alignment
It is critical that you take a step back at the beginning of your franchise exploratory process and evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, values and goals. You must know what you’ve enjoyed over the course of your career, what you’ve not enjoyed, what your financial and lifestyle aspirations are moving forward and what type of business models appeal most to you. Only then can you make a true comparison and evaluation of the various franchise opportunities available to you. Evaluating a franchise is much more than seeing how you like the industry, brand and people. At it’s most fundamental level, you’re looking for business model alignment – how does the business model align with your strengths, values and goals. Will this business model allow you to tap into your core interests and strengths? Does the revenue model support your financial goals? How do the business hours support your intended lifestyle? One of the best ways to check for business model alignment is to work with experts such as Knight Franchises, who can help you identify the business models and franchise brands that will most likely align to your highest potential, therefore increasing your chances of success.
Tip Five: Franchisor Alignment
Franchisor alignment is how well aligned you are to the franchisor, their vision, their people and their values. You may find an excellent business model that engages you in work you enjoy and delivers the level of ROI that you’re looking for, but if there is a fundamental misalignment between you and the franchisor, then it’s never going to work. Common misalignment issues include not buying into the franchisors vision, not trusting the leadership team, not sharing the same values and not having rapport with the key people within the organization. Having a personal relationship with the leadership of the franchise that you’re going into is critically important, otherwise the franchisor-franchisee relationship becomes nothing more than a business relationship that is governed by your franchise agreement. Remember, franchising is like a marriage – it takes two to participate and work is required by both parties. If there is no personal relationship with the leadership of a franchise, no shared vision and no shared values that govern the relationship, then it’s the equivalent of marrying someone you don’t really like, who wants to go in a different direction than you do and who lives their life in a different way. The fact that you have a marriage certificate is meaningless and the relationship will almost certainly end up in divorce.
Tip Six: Excited and Passionate
You may have spent most of your career working in a particular industry, such as IT, Consumer Goods of the Motor trade, however you’d be surprised to learn that the majority of the people who go into franchising often end up in an industry that’s completely new to them. As this is largely the case, it’s important that the industry and franchise you’re going into fills you with an air of excitement and passion. You must be excited about the franchise that you’re going into and passionate about the products and/or services that you’re delivering. The excitement for the business, the passion for the products/services and the overall enthusiasm for this new phase of your life is the secret sauce that will make all the difference between you being successful and scraping by at best.
Tip Seven: Get Professional Advice
Franchising is a whole new world and as with most industries, it requires inside knowledge to successfully navigate it. The importance of this is magnified when you consider that you’re investing your own time and money, with no guaranteed outcomes to be had. For such a critical step it makes sense to utilize the skills, knowledge and experience of professionals who have insight into the inner workings of the industry. They can help you successfully navigate the many different options available to you and connect you with specialist industry professionals who can help with tasks such as raising the finance to purchase your franchise or reviewing franchise agreements. They can give you insight into the real workings of a franchise, helping you see past the sales and marketing material to the real dynamics of how the franchise operates. They can connect you with franchisees who come from a similar background and who have already walked your intended path, providing insight into the realities of making such a move. At Knight Franchises, we help professionals do just that, acting as a bridge between the corporate and franchising worlds.
Tip Eight: Get your Finances In Order
If you’re considering moving from a stable job to that of a business owner, then it makes a lot of sense to get your finances in order before you do. As a business owner, you need to give yourself time to get your business up and running profitably, therefore, it makes sense to give yourself as much runway as possible. This goes far beyond ensuring you have enough capital for your business and for you to live on during the initial start-up period. You need to think about your bigger financial picture; when is your mortgage up for renewal? Do you have any car leases that are due to expire during your start-up period? Do you have any major expenses coming up that would impact your business start-up? These are critical things that could have a big impact on your journey as a business owner. For example, mortgage lenders will often look at household income and if you’re just starting out on your franchise journey, then you will have minimal, if any, income. This can have a big impact and we have seen many former high earners struggle to secure a mortgage renewal due to them no longer being in a salaried role. They needed to get their businesses up and profitable before they could seriously consider looking at new mortgages.
Tip Nine: Validation
One of the best things about franchising is that you’re not entering unchartered water. There are many have that have gone before you, who have walked the same paths as you and encountered the same challenges. These are the ones who can give you true insight into a franchise and how it operates. Validation, or Due Diligence as it’s sometimes called, is a critical part of your franchise discovery process. It’s when you get to speak with existing franchisees, ask them questions and listen to what they have to say. It’s important that you speak with a good cross-section of franchisees – you want to speak with a mix of the best performing, the lowest performing and the ones in the middle. You want to start each conversation with a similar set of questions and see how each respond. You’re looking for the difference between what each are saying as much as you’re looking for what they’re saying. You want to take notice of the top performing franchisees, how well you can relate to them and how similar your approaches are. One of the best ways to predict success as a prospective franchisee is to see how the top performing franchisees are acting, how they operate and what they value. If you see yourself approaching the business in a similar way, then it’s a good sign that you would do well in this model.
Tip Ten: Commit One Hundred Percent
Don’t make this move half-heartedly. If you’re transitioning from corporate employment into the world of franchising then you’re going to reach what we call a ‘Geronimo’ moment – a point when you have to make a leap. This could be handing in your notice, signing a franchise agreement or getting your first pieces of marketing collateral out the door. From a conceptual perspective, it means is closing an old chapter and starting a new one. The best way to way to do this is to jump-in with both feet and give it everything. Don’t keep looking back or swinging between one or the other. Do your research, formulate a plan and then make a decision. Commit one-hundred percent and you will find that the skills and resources that you need to succeed will come to you as and when you need them.
About Knight Franchises
At Knight Franchises we help professionals successfully step out of employment and transition into franchise business ownership. We first help you evaluate whether franchising is a viable vehicle for you and if so, we educate you on the industry and help you identify the two or three models that will best meet your financial and lifestyle aspirations.
For many employed professionals, you have built up a valuable and unique and portfolio of skills as you've progressed throughout your career. From running large teams and managing big budgets, through to overseeing product launches and launching new business units, you've acquired a wealth of experience that would be hard to replicate.
In addition to the direct experience that you've gained, you've also built an arsenal of personal and professionals skills that are readily transferable to new business ventures. In fact, many employed professionals underestimate just how valuable their current skill set is; from time management and goal setting through to leadership and management, these key skills form the foundation of any good business and you would be surprised just how many small businesses don't have them.
This is where the power of franchising comes in. Franchising can be an attractive option for those considering how they can turn their skills and experience into a valuable business. When you join a franchise, you get the benefits of a proven business model and established support network, allowing you to launch a new business in a minimal risk way. However, the success of each business is still down to you and you are the one that must use your transferable knowledge, skills and expertise to bring it to life.
Having worked with employed professionals from around the globe, we are firm believers that former employees make some of the most successful franchisees. There are many reasons for this but at its core, former employees have grown up in an environment that's not all too different from a franchise. In both a corporate and franchise environment, you're operating a business within defined parameters and have a support team readily available to help you accomplish your goal. The only difference is that in a franchise, you're the captain of your own ship and your speed, direction and success is entirely down to you.
If you’d like to discover whether franchising is the path for you, schedule a 15-minute exploratory conversation and let’s see whether franchising is the vehicle that will help you rediscover your freedom and unleash your potential. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedue an appointment .