By Caroline Crabbe, General Manager at nationwide pre-school music & movement franchise, Jo Jingles
For many working parents, owning a franchise business can be an attractive option; especially for those looking for a greater work/life balance and the flexibility of juggling family commitments alongside an independent and rewarding career. Taking on a reputable franchise business can also provide a great solution for those who have the passion and desire to run their own business but don’t want the associated risks of starting a new, unestablished venture (an understandable consideration for families with young children).
One of the initial attractions of owning a franchise business is that you are also buying into the regular support, marketing, PR and reputation of an already established and credible brand. So it should be plain sailing then? It certainly can be, but only if it is the right career option for you.
Owning a franchise is not for everyone for varying reasons and there are many misconceptions around what’s involved in running a franchise and how you ultimately achieve success. Speaking from experience, it’s hugely important that before you consider taking on a franchise business, you are aware of what is involved, what will be expected of you and also that you consider the very real impact this will have on your life.
If you are to truly succeed as a franchisee (regardless of external support) you, and only you, need to make it happen. Yes, any good franchisor will provide you with the adequate support to get your business off the ground, and yes, you’ll take advantage of a fully functioning marketing programme, nationwide advertising campaigns, brand reputation and all that goes with that, but ultimately this is your business and you are the only one who can make it a true success.
Running a successful franchise (like any other self-owned business) means hard work, commitment and having a genuine, relentless passion for what it is you are doing. But if you have that get-up-and-go spirit and the motivation and self-discipline to run your own business, franchising can be a fantastic career move for you and your family.
Here are a few tips on how to succeed:
• Know your customer and your market and when selecting a franchise to buy, always try to choose a sector that you have a genuine interest in.
• If you’ve chosen to purchase a franchise in a certain region then hopefully this is because you have evidence that there is a sufficient demand for this product/service. Adapt your business to local cultures and trends to make your business relevant to the audience you are targeting.
• Make the most of the nationwide marketing programme already in place for your business (this will usually be provided by the franchisor) but you should still expect to invest time and money in doing your own PR and marketing too. It’s great to have nationwide appeal and recognition for your brand, but use that platform to create more local exposure for you and your business and you’ll reap the rewards directly.
• Invest in your customer base – once you’ve got them you need to keep them coming back, so consider running special promotions, loyalty programmes, referral rewards, giving away freebies, competitions, attending networking events, sponsoring local charities etc. This is a great way of attracting new customers and raising awareness of your business in the local area.
• Word of mouth – get your happy customers to tell others! Asking for testimonials is a great way to shout about your success on social media platforms, websites etc. Most large franchises will have their own mainstream, website but many are supportive of local-focused sites and social media pages too. Equally, join a local business committee to make contacts, spread the word about your business and share knowledge with other likeminded business people.
• One step ahead – know who your local competitors are and keep your franchise alive through your own passion and determination. If you wake up every day and love what you do, you’re on your way to a successful business because if you believe it, others will too.