A franchisee can come from anywhere. This isn’t to say that anyone can do it – rather that franchising skills don’t stem from privilege or prejudice. The right people can become the leader they’ve always wanted to be; nothing’s stopping them but talent and the will to use it.
Personal qualities and (admittedly) some sense of leadership experience can bolster your bid to become a franchisee. Today, we’d like to explain what they are. If you’ve ever wondered which business owner traits are most desirable, you’ll find here a character study based on our lessons over the decades. But we’ll also cover the practical and financial commitments that must follow, so you’re aware of how they match up.
A personality dissection
From a broad perspective, we should first look at the type of person who may be seriously considered for a franchising role. Good business leaders should know themselves, inside out, before applying. There’s no point making a bid if you aren’t confident in what you can bring to the table.
Jeff Elgin’s 2012 article on franchise success is one good point of reference. So is Fiona Simpson’s writing in Forbes, where she explores some of the most popular traits in the franchise playbook. Below we’ve collected some of the best suggestions, and added a few of our own too.
- A driving passion to earn and learn: Ideal franchise candidates care about what they’re hoping to do. For them, it has to be more than just about the money. Franchisors like to welcome new members in as if they’re family. That means a genuine desire for great work has to be the foundation for whatever’s to come. Arduous hours on the job, taking constructive criticism and suggestions on board, thinking about the brand on a very personal level… These are just a snippet of the traits you’ll command when presenting yourself to the franchise partner.
- Persistence in the face of adversity: Franchising can be tough going in the early days. Many business leaders stick with a small team whilst they earn back their startup investment. Can you display numerous examples of determination and endurance in a professional capacity? Great – consistency under stress is a huge boost for your franchising potential.
- A calm mindset: While we’re talking about stress, good leaders should be able to absorb and assuage the concerns of their staff; after all, you’ll be the go-to figurehead when they aren’t sure of something. The same is true of client concerns, which will be unavoidable in time no matter how capable you are. Evidence the fact that you can meet pressurized situations head-on.
- You’re results-oriented, for the most part: We’re not saying that soft skills are invalid during a franchise tenure. Of course they are – a happy workforce fosters the best results. Yet those results are, ultimately, the measure of success. Franchisors need to have faith in your ability to put figures, targets and KPIs first, and to meet them.
- Leadership comes naturally: Beneath everything else, you should have always wanted to manage people. Being at the centre of attention, relied upon, and giving instruction doesn’t scare you. Neither does juggling payroll, administrative and travel duties, dealing with sick days or keeping up with clients.
Your own professional context
As we’ve alluded to, there’s no single reason for anyone to chase a franchise bid. Life is often messy; so too are the motivations you may have to pursue something new.
For instance, your present job could be wearing you down. It’s easy for people to fall into a line of work and stay there, long after it no longer satisfies them. Security is seductive. Yet sometimes, we have to cast off those assumptions about who we are and what we deserve. That often carries a franchisee to their new destination – especially if they feel underused or limited in employment.
On the other hand, you could be weighing options after trying to start your own business and finding it tougher than expected. This is a common occurrence. As we’ve stated before in our guide to franchises vs. startups, there’s a lot more reliability in the former model. You aren’t left alone, or in the murky waters of an earning strategy that hasn’t been proven. Franchising gives entrepreneurs the risk aversion they may be in desperate need of. You’ll be joining a brand, of course, but the whole point is to make it yours to a certain degree. All of the qualities that launch an independent business are in a franchising opportunity, just with more of a template to follow, and a great deal of training and support behind you.
The list of reasons runs on. Leaving the rat race is a sensible directive: few of us want to be in a dense, congested city forever. Some franchises operate around the UK, meaning you can pick a rural location and work in the fresh air.
Even the industry you’re looking at – whether that’s retail, food and drink, crafts or a service business – could be the guiding factor. The important thing to note is that any and all motivations are acceptable. It doesn’t matter why you want to make the switch and become a franchise business owner – what matters is your talent, and your self-belief to make a success of it.
How to buy a franchise
No discussion of franchising skills is complete without a close, realistic look at your finances. When we get down to it, money talks – every franchisor will request an upfront capital investment before you launch under their name.
How much is this commitment? Usually tens of thousands of pounds. The upper-tier contracts (i.e. the most expensive, but not necessarily the best) can soar to £300,000, according to Franchise Direct, but there are more affordable options available.
These fees pay for the initial resources you’ll use such as equipment, insurance, office costs, bills, vehicles and centralised marketing. They ensure you stay on your feet for several months as profit margins start to expand. But you’re also paying for the training you’ll receive prior to opening day. Like we’ve explained, franchisees must be good listeners, otherwise they won’t absorb the tips and commercial guidelines that extract success from the business model.
Don’t worry if you’re financially restrained. Personal savings shouldn’t be the be-all and end-all marker for who gets to apply. Instead, worthwhile franchisors are able to…
- Give applicants access to a lending pool made up of mainstream or alternative finance providers that have placed trust in the brand over the years. Such lenders will look at your credit history, outgoings and other points of interest, yet they’ll be more forgiving than their usual standards. That’s because they have partnered with the franchisor for a significant amount of time, and therefore know a candidate can fulfil their debts.
- Guide the franchisee on a core business plan. Usually, the contract won’t be signed unless senior brand leaders recognise that you have a grasp of how to make and sustain a profit. Variables like gains and losses have to be analysed, with a forecast relying on data and regional market trends.
- Stay on call whilst you find momentum. Learning as a franchisee never stops, but training is particularly crucial when you’re new to the network and your branch is carving an identity. If you run into any financial trouble, the franchisor does what it can to steer you back on course. From organisational advice to the delegation of duties, replacing tools or strengthening client outreach, it’s in their interests to act as a stabilising force when necessary.
Join Rainbow International
Finances shouldn’t put you off the idea. Remember that anyone can grow their franchising skills, including the tenacity to raise and manage your cash investment. By bearing our advice in mind, on all the levels we’ve tackled in this guide, your future is glowing with potential. Just ask yourself one question: which franchise do you want to go for?
Rainbow International could be the answer. We’re a specialist cleaning and restoration force, serving thousands of clients in the UK and, more broadly, millions around the world. Every franchisee who pledges themselves to us is rewarded in kind. A two-week training course awaits, plus the guarantee of meeting and learning from our current and former franchise professionals.
Sound exciting? We think so. Let’s take your existing skill set and see how it’ll be shaped. Speak to Rainbow’s recruitment team today.