Reality of work-life balance when taking on a franchise

Reality of work-life balance when taking on a franchise

The headlines are regularly littered with stories linked to the increasing demand for flexible working; more parents are wanting part time roles and careers that work alongside family and lifestyle commitments, but is franchising a viable solution and is it really a part-time role?  

Anyone who has ever been self-employed will know that the first year of starting any business is extremely hard work and is by no means a part-time job. Successful businesses, including franchises are built on commitment and self-discipline.  

You get out what you put in and in the beginning that means it’s a full-time job. That said, how you manage the hours around that full-time job are often a lot more flexible than they would be were you working nine to five in an office.

Business health first

Franchising is a great way to test what you are made of in terms of running a business with the security of an already established brand behind you.

Going it alone also means you are in complete control of your own destiny and that means that although your business can be managed and developed around your family commitments, you may find that initially, it is a ‘business first’ approach.  

Once a franchise business has been established and is up and running over a good period of time, flexibility will become more fluid however, your business has to be healthy first.

You need the right people in place to ensure the business is fully functional from a marketing and operational perspective right through to your finance and accounting.

Once you have reached this point in the lifecycle of your business, as a franchise you will be able to operate smoothly and more flexibly.

The question for many people is: how do I know if franchising is the right career path or decision for me? Another consideration is whether a decision to franchise should be based on a desire for greater work-life balance or is there more to it than that?

Undivided attention

In order to make any business successful business owners need to give their businesses 110 per cent – especially in their first year.  Giving the business a well-prepared and researched launch platform is vital to its on-going success. 

You have to get the beginning part right if you are to be successful long term.  A franchise business is scalable and flexible and having your own business in the long term once the right structure is in place, can be a fantastic way to create a better work-life balance.

You have to get the beginning part right if you are to be successful long term.  A franchise business is scalable and flexible and having your own business in the long term once the right structure is in place, can be a fantastic way to create a better work-life balance.

But, forget about focusing your efforts around flexibility in the early days because you may be disappointed. You have to give the business a great launch pad and your undivided attention for at least the first year to ensure the correct structure is in place. 

As a franchisee, you need to be willing to go the extra mile as it’s going to be an extremely busy full-time year to get the business where it needs to be. 

It’s worth remembering that just because a brand is successful nationwide you are the only person who can make it a success in your own territory.

Founder of Turtle tots  Gaby Lixton with kids

Founder of Turtle Tots Gaby Lixton with kids

There are of course many common misconceptions about running a franchise business too.  One of the main myths is that buying and running a franchise is easy.  

Although any reputable franchisor should offer a huge amount of support and business guidance, just because it is a profitable and proven business model in other locations across the country doesn’t automatically mean success for you. Success still relies on the franchisee’s hard work and commitment to help the business flourish ongoing.

A franchise is an asset

Franchising does mean buying into an already established brand, it might also mean buying into an already functioning localised and national PR and marketing programme, but it is an individual business like any other with its own market and its own value. Many franchisees don’t realise that their business has an end value and that it is essentially their own asset. 

It is interesting to look at the kinds of people that make a successful franchisee too.  No two people are the same, nor do they need to be in business. 

The franchisor has a proven business model so is best placed to understand the market you are operating in and can give the right support early on. 

Like many employed positions, we often know within the first two meetings whether someone is cut out for franchising.

Not for everyone

Around 60 per cent of our franchises have come to us through either being customers or teachers at our classes. They have come to our classes whilst on maternity leave, loved them and haven’t wanted to return to their previous corporate career.

They are looking for a flexible, scaleable and lucrative business model – this should be the same mindset for any would-be franchisee across any industry.

As the saying goes: “The harder you work the more successful you will become” – but that means different things to different people. A myth is that anyone can be a franchisee, but the reality is the reverse.

Franchisees are usually tenacious, passionate and determined individuals who possess the right skill sets and personality to make a great success of their business from day one. Flexibility will come in time, but hard graft comes first.

 

 

About the author

Gaby Lixton is the founder of Turtle Tots, an award-winning swimming programme, which includes aqua-natal yoga for pregnant women which continues once the baby is born with specialist and progressive baby and toddler swimming classes.

Since 2011 Turtle Tots has licensed the programme and there are now over 40 licensees across the UK who run their own Turtle Tots businesses. Each licensee is required to donate a percentage of their business revenue to a chosen charity; charities supported include The Scottish Spina Bifida Association, The National Deaf Children’s Society, The Cots for Tots Appeal in Bristol, Ickle Pickle in Hampshire, and Balloons in Exeter.

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