Have you got your New Year’s resolutions in place?

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Christmas will soon be upon us and before we know it, we’ll be at the start of a new year, which for many, means making New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of a new year is a great time to reflect on the year past and make plans for the year ahead and January is one of the key points of the year where people think about what they really want to do with their lives.  If you have been thinking about starting your own business then it’s a great time to look at the opportunities open to you and where you want to be in a year’s time.

Whether you’re currently working full-time, taking a career break or are retired, the New Year is a chance for a fresh start. Consider the following steps to help you decide what would work best for you to help you fulfil your entrepreneurial ambitions.

Self-reflection

Do you want more time with your family? Do you want to work from an office or from home? These are all questions you need to ask yourself in order to decide what type of business you should to invest in. If you’re looking for a better work-life balance and would prefer working from home then running a shop isn’t going to be the best option for you. Be honest with yourself about the things you want and the things you don’t.

Research the market

Before you dive into starting a business, you need to make sure there is a real market for what it is that you’re selling. It sounds obvious, but for long-term success, you need to identify a product or service for which there is an ongoing and growing need. You don’t want to invest into a business, only to realise that there’s a lot of competition or that it has limited demand.

This was one of the deciding factors when I chose to go into domestic cleaning management. With busy jobs and hectic social lives, people are finding it increasingly difficult to keep on top of the day to day chores so the domestic cleaning market is constantly growing. In addition, cleaning is a regular requirement so our clients require an ongoing service which means there will always be a need for good value, high quality cleaning services.

Choose a business structure

Choosing a business structure is one of the main things you need to consider when starting a company. You might want to start as a ‘sole trader’ which is perfect for freelancers and consultants. The other options are registering as a limited company or a partnership. A franchise is also an attractive option because you can try something totally new, get a proven model for your investment and you will have a team of support behind you to help you succeed. There are several free resources available online outlining the benefits and drawbacks of each structure. Have a chat with an accountant to decide which one would work best for you.

Calculate start-up costs and funding

Regardless of your business structure, many businesses require an injection of funds to get started. You may need to invest into a franchise, buy equipment or develop your own website. This all adds up and costs money so have a look at the different funding options for your business. This could range from personal savings to bank loans to your pension pot. You should also check whether you’re eligible for any business start-up grants.

Making your dream of becoming your own boss come true may seem daunting but spending some time now to put your business goals into place for the New Year can go a long way. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you’re interested in joining our leading domestic cleaning franchise network contact us today!

Investing Into a Franchise vs Setting Out On Your Own

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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.

Financing 

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

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.