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Is experience required in franchising?


Like 99% of people nowadays, the first thing I did when I was asked to write this article was to do a quick Google search and ask my newest buddy, ChatGPT, for their advice. The response I got back was, "Experience is not always required in franchising, although it can be beneficial." Well, as someone who had zero experience, here's how I fared.

I have always wanted to run my own business. I'm the classic example of that guy in your class at school selling you chewing gum for 20p a stick. I wanted the freedom that comes with being my own boss. Timing is everything, so in the early part of last year, when the opportunity became available to leave my job as a Transport Planner and take over the existing Plan-it Cards Bristol territory as a franchisee, I didn't need any extra encouragement.

It was a natural progression. My parents started Plan-it Cards in the early 2000s, so I've been in and around the company all my life. But I had never been responsible for owning and running an area. As a 27-year-old with no experience, this was daunting. Would my lack of greetings card experience hold me back? I had never run a business before, would that matter? How would I deal with real live customers face-to-face? But most importantly, would I be able to work with my parents who were the franchisors?!

Twelve months in, I'm surprised at how quickly I have been able to pick up and use the necessary skills needed to run my own business. When it comes to buying a Plan-it Cards franchise, I can confidently say that experience is not a prerequisite for success.

With a franchise, some of the hardest elements are already taken care of. I was buying into a business that was already established and making money from day one, and I had access to a full training package, including training days with established franchisees, so that I could experience what a 'day in the life' was like.

It's not easy starting any business, and as with anything, there have been challenges. However, as a Plan-it Cards franchisee, I feel like I have a readymade product and marketing strategy developed by the company to use. Many of the things I came up against in the first few months had been experienced before by other franchisees, and the proven business system had the answers to them. This advantage has allowed me to hit the ground running and focus on building up business relationships and sales with my retailers.

I now manage over 300 shops. I have my own van (to maximize efficiency), I have outsourced into my own storage unit, I have one full-time employee, and my partner has also been able to leave her job and now looks after a neighbouring territory.

Establishing professional relationships with retailers is the most rewarding aspect of the job, most of whom are entrepreneurs like me. It's a great feeling when you can show how you have increased their sales through hard work and a great product. That being said, some days are challenging when things aren't quite going your way, but that is when I'm able to talk to the team and draw on other franchisees' experiences, share best practices, and troubleshoot challenges.

Starting up a new business can be a lonely experience, but as part of the network, I have been able to rely on a strong support system.

All in all, if you are thinking of buying a Plan-it Cards franchise, I would say (and so would my new best friend ChatGPT) that while "experience is not always required in franchising, it can be beneficial."

Interested and want to know more about Plan-it Cards?

The Plan-it Cards profile outlines all aspects of their franchise opportunity and allows you to contact them for further information or to ask a question.

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