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Do you have these fears about starting a franchise? (here's how to overcome them)

Starting and owning a franchise can be a scary prospect, you are taking your hard-earned cash and a leap of faith that your new venture will work and not lose money. Now I don’t know about you, but this is usually money that you don’t have to lose. So why take the risk?

Working for yourself whether in your own business or as part of a franchise certainly has it's rewards, such as freedom and flexibility, and the ability to fit working perfectly into your family life. It is, however, not for the faint of heart and at the centre of most of our fears are these three things.

1) Money

Not only do you have your initial outlay to buy into the franchise, but you then have some additional costs to cover each month, venue hire, fees, insurance, your household expenditures. It soon mounts up and can seem overwhelming. So how can you combat money being an issue? Well I don’t have a magic solution to make the bills go away I can perhaps help with some practical tips to prepare you for managing your finances through the early stages of running a business.

The first step is to be very sure that the franchisee that you are investing in is a good match for you, and that it fits with your skills, interests, and lifestyle, as it is very hard to make a business work if you don't believe in the product or service you are offering. Do your research, speak to franchisees and the owners of the franchise, attend an open day and be sure before making the initial investment.

Second, plan ahead. Can you live without earning money for a period of time? What you do actually need to live on (as opposed to what you might be used to)? This is often less than you think, especially when considering changes to your lifestyle that would come from running a business rather than going to a job every day. Expenses that may be lower could include childcare, travel costs, clothing, even picking up lunch or coffee at a shop or cafe each day can add up. Consider then what you need in order to pay your basic expenses and make a plan for how to ensure these are covered. Do you have savings or another source of income to sustain you during the early stages of your business should you need them? Create a budget and stick to it and you may be surprised at what's manageable for you.

After that take advantage of all the support given to you through a franchise. This help and guidance will be especially important thorough your first year as this is the most crucial time to learn and grow into your new role and where it can be easy to make mistakes,but should be available to you on an ongoing basis too.

Choose a reputable franchise and the the money will come, but it will require hard work and commitment. How quickly you reach your financial goals will be relative to your consistency in the business and your effort, but once you get your business established there are no restrictions on how fast you grow or how much you can earn (no more waiting for someone to leave, or the end of a year, before you can get a promotion or pay rise!).

2) Not having customers

You start a business, have a launch and there is a distinct buzz around this time. There are people interested and attending your launch to see what this new business is all about and then ……. a scary wait, will they all come back? Realistically know there is a high chance that you will not see a percentage of them again, but that's OK!

No product or service appeals to everyone, and you only need a small percentage of what is a huge potential market to have a very successful business. (I bet you have a number of supermarkets and convenience stores in your town, for example, all able to trade successfully). Through spreading the word about what your business offers in a variety of different ways (which you should get support with through your franchise), you will attract people who are a great fit for what you do, and really benefit from your service. Soon, they start to tell other people about you, more people come along to enjoy those benefits too, and your business grows.

Will your classes automatically be full from the start? Again unlikely, but this is also OK. You build a business by building solid relationships, and those first few customers will be invaluable to you if you spend the time getting to know them and making sure they receive a great service. This will give you a solid foundation from which to build, but you will still have to put the work in to promote and build your business to make it a success. If everyone could start a business and have full classes without there being any work involved, then everyone would be doing it! How do you make a success of it all and attract customers? Marketing, customer service and planning your time effectively to ensure you can do both. Your Franchise support system will also be a huge advantage here over trying to figure everything out by yourself.

3) Not getting the support you need

I have touched on support in both sections above as it truly is important to have. With a good support network around you everything is easier. Having a family about who can pick up the slack for you when you have a busy time, or a good tribe of friends about to call on when you need them is ideal, but support can come in all shapes and sizes, from great business systems to online forums to having someone do your ironing once in a while!

Franchising is often described as being in business for yourself but not by yourself, and one of the great benefits of joining a franchise is the support that should come along with it. Often this will not just be from the head office (although this, of course, is vital), but also from the other franchisees in your network, who will truly understand the journey you are on and be able to offer both practical and emotional advice from their own experience. You should never need to feel alone or stuck when part of a franchise.

During your research into which business will suit you then, it is a very good idea to ask what support the franchise that you are buying will offer you. What do they have in place to make sure you have the best possible start to your business journey and who can you turn to when you need help and support.

What's Stopping You?

See, when you start to break these fears down and tackle them one at a time you may just find that the idea of a franchise is not so scary after all!

If you take your time and do your due diligence, then buying a franchise can be an exciting and exhilarating experience. So have a think about what might be stopping you, and whether those thing really need to prevent you from following your dreams.

Could a Tots Play Franchise be for you?

Tots Play is an award winning multi-activity developmental play programme for babies and toddlers. You can learn more about what we do (and why) HERE. Our franchise programme is designed to provide the freedom and flexibility needed to create a lifestyle that really does work for you, your family and your bank balance.

We understand that taking on a franchise is a big decision and our aim, from the moment you start to look into the business, is simply to provide all the information and guidance you need to help you make decisions that are right for you. You don't need to worry about a hard sell or being pressurised at any stage of the process, it's all about finding out if we would be a good fit for each other, and only proceeding if that is the case! We take you step by step through everything involved, from our tried and tested business model to the range of training and support we offer, to how it might work for your individual situation, all with no obligation.

So are you ready to put aside your fears and instead embrace the benefits that starting your own franchise business could bring? Let those fears win, and nothing will change, so if you know that a change is what's needed in your life then it's time to consider new possibilities and start taking action towards them. Take the first step today. Request a franchise information pack HERE, and see where it leads you - you might just be glad you did!

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