Starting your own business is a major life decision and even though passion and enthusiasm are essential to your business success, there are several other things you will need to consider.
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make relates to the type of business you will start. There are a number of different business models to consider but one of the first things you will need to decide is whether you go it alone and start up from scratch yourself or you consider franchising, which is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.
Whatever business model you choose, there are going to be key differences that need to be considered when determining which type of business is the best fit for you.
Autonomy and Culture
When you set out on your own, every business decision rests on you, while in a franchise business there is a proven business model and systems and processes which have been put in place by the franchisor. You’re in control of your own business when it comes to day-to-day operations and recruitment, however, bear in mind you need to choose a franchise which aligns with your own values as you will need to adhere to the culture and values set by the franchisor which are there to help and support you and to ensure that the franchise as a whole runs efficiently. You’ll also need to keep in mind that franchise owners are not able to change their offering to reflect their personal preferences or changes in the market – although you can talk to your franchisor about your suggestions and a good franchisor will always listen to their franchisees’ views. On the other hand, independent business owners don’t benefit from the security of knowing that their products or services have already been tested and optimised for the current market by the franchisor. You may be sacrificing some of your independence to a certain extent but at the same time you can enjoy the security that comes from belonging to a network with a proven track record.
The investment required in a franchise varies hugely but it is usually far cheaper than setting up your own business from scratch. New businesses can require some start-up capital and the good news about franchising is that because it is recognised as a safer route into entrepreneurship than simply setting out on your own, many high street banks will be happy to lend you a substantial percentage of the initial investment if you have been accepted by a reputable franchisor.
Brand awareness is where the success of franchising lies. Consumers recognise the brand and buy into the reliability and familiarity it offers. When it comes to brand recognition franchise owners definitely have an advantage over independent business owners who have to gradually build their brand and build trust and goodwill, however, you need to keep in mind that brand awareness can also have an adverse effect on your business. If the franchisor or another franchisee does something which results in negative publicity then your business can suffer as well.
Training and ongoing support
When you start your own business from scratch you will need to learn how to run the front and back-end of the business on your own while developing new skills along the way. When you invest into a franchise, you also invest into training. Franchisors provide franchisees with training on every aspect of the business and make sure they feel confident in running the business before launching it. Franchisors can also offer ongoing training as part of their role to ensure franchisees are staying on top of their expanding business operations.
Return on Investment
Whether you decide to start your own business or opt for the stability a franchise operation offers, you’ll still need to put in hard work to build your client base and get your business off the ground and offer quality services or products on an ongoing basis. The advantage of franchising is that when you advertise a known brand name in your market, customers are more likely to recognise the brand name which can get the cash flowing faster.
Ultimately, the decision to buy a franchise or start your own business from scratch boils down to your personality. If you can’t really see yourself not having total control of the operational decision making, then a franchising might not be the right business route for you, however if you prefer the security, the ongoing support and the benefits of being part of a bigger network, then investing into a franchise can help you achieve your business aspirations.
Whichever you choose you can look forward to the excitement of owning your own business as well as the hard work, but huge satisfaction, of being your own boss and the knowledge that it’s your drive that is making your business grow and become successful.