Is 2018 the year to try something new? Joining a franchise could be right for you

By Sarah Stowe | 18 Dec 2017 View comments

Inside Franchise Business: is 2018 time for a new life in franchising?The beginning of January is a great time to get thinking about what you want to achieve in the year ahead. Are you looking for a change in lifestyle? Do you want to spend more time with your family without sacrificing financial security?

Joining a franchise can offer a happy medium – it is both challenging and rewarding, with ample financial benefits for those who work hard.Griffith University’s most recently released report, Franchising Australia 2016, articulates a positive story for franchising, particularly in the retail sector.

Despite the relatively flat economic environment we’ve been operating in, the report found that franchise brands have grown internally. This has been mirrored by increased sales turnover across the industry, indicating that the franchising sector is indeed alive and well in Australia.

So why is franchising a career worth considering, and what are some of the key elements you should look out for in 2018?

I’ve been in the franchising sector for over 20 years, and in that time I’ve picked up some important learnings around what makes a franchise successful and what prospective franchisees should look out for.

Achieve a work/life balance with a franchise

There are many reasons people go into franchising – financial benefits, a change of scenery and independence are some of the most common examples.

However, for the majority of people, the promise of having a flexible work/life balance is the greatest appeal. When you join a franchise, you immediately become part of a wider community; you have a whole network of experienced professionals dedicated to helping make sure you succeed.

Things that would ordinarily take up a lot of time for business owners, from site selection and development to marketing and advertising strategies, are largely taken care of by the franchise network.

Most franchise networks also have a vested interest in keeping you happy – which means helping you to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

While work/life balance is often touted as a benefit by many networks, it’s important you do your research to find out how it really works in practice.

Go out of your way to get to know existing franchisees in a network. You have a wealth of resources at your fingertips – research online, read industry publications, or simply walk into a store. Can you gauge existing franchisees’ level of satisfaction?

Financial security in a franchise

It’s all well and good to love the job you do, but most of us want a level of balance when it comes to our careers. While we want something that’s rewarding and challenging, we want something that’s going to sufficiently support our family and lifestyle. At the end of the day, the bills still need to be paid.

The great thing about franchising is that the profit you make goes into your pocket, rather than an employer’s. Therefore, the incentive is there for you to work hard and smart.

You’re your own boss in a franchise

When you join a franchise network, you become your own boss. This means you can be flexible in determining the hours you work, rather than having this dictated to you.

Of course, there are certain procedures and protocols you’re obliged to follow in line with what the franchise network has set out; make sure this has been made very clear to you before you commit to any network.

Essentially you are the one who calls the shots when it comes to your store.

You’ll be in charge of managing schedules, staff and relationships. In certain networks, including Bedshed, you’ll also have sufficient opportunity to input into a broader range of macro business decisions – should you wish to have input into the franchise.

Career security as a franchisee

With a constantly changing workplace, digital transformation and conflicting reports of economic uncertainty, it’s no secret that many Australians are on the hunt for a secure way to future proof their career.

Joining the right franchise network offers both a safe and secure career option; you’re able to invest in something that has a proven track record of successful operation, mitigating much of the risk associated with starting a new venture.

Once you become your own boss in franchising, the risk of losing your job, whether by replacement or redundancy, is mitigated.

Franchisees can enjoy sustainable working

While being your own boss can sometimes feel draining, joining a franchise means you have access to a wealth of information and shared knowledge. Most good franchisors will assist you with everything from marketing to finance, and can promptly assist with any potential problems before they arise.

Remember, your franchisor will likely have been in the business for a long time, with valuable experience around best practice. They should be more than willing to share this with you.

Before joining a network, it’s also critical to consider what it is you’re going to be selling every day. Will that product still be in demand in 10 years’ time and do you believe in the quality of that product?

Equally important is thinking about the time and energy it will take you, both physically and mentally, to sell that product. For example, Bedshed’s latest range of Kingsdown luxury mattresses retail for around $10,000. On average, someone working in a coffee shop would need to sell 2,857 coffees’ to match this price, which is almost 8 years’ worth of coffee for one person.