What's it like to be your own boss? Franchisee George Zhou shares his tale

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Australian Skin Clinics franchisee George Zhou saw a business opportunity in a beauty franchise. Here he responds to our six key questions about buying a business and what it's like to be your own boss.

What was the biggest challenge moving from employee to franchisee?

As a new franchisee, the biggest challenge for me was learning how to introduce my ideas and principles to the clinic and ensuring that they filtered down consistently to all team members.

What skills did you need to acquire to be proficient in your franchise role?

Definitely business development skills. As a new franchisee, I needed to be able to build and maintain good relationships with other franchisees, local businesses, shopping centre management, suppliers, and head office.

What existing skills have you found most useful in your new role?

I have always prided myself on my communication skills. I've found this to be extremely useful since becoming a franchise owner. Effective communication can improve relationships with clients, employees, and business partners as well as improve teamwork, decision-making, and problem solving.

How difficult was it to make the leap to being your own boss – financially, and emotionally?

Purchasing your first franchise is a big investment. I resigned from my previous permanent employment to focus on the business, so I felt some pressure financially and emotionally at the time, however I am now seeing the benefits of this focus and commitment. Having the backing of a brand such as Australian Skin Clinics has also helped to fast track the clinic's growth.

What about the purchase of the business?

I purchased an existing clinic. As part of my research, I looked up the population of the surrounding region, the potential client range and the planned government development in the area. I also researched other available franchises to better understand the potential of the business and the industry as a whole. I found Australian Skin Clinics offered both proven return on investment and a sense of flexibility that’s not found in larger enterprises. They also provided me with a range of support, training and system information to assist in my transition into the business.

How involved are you as the face of the business with clients?

I'm very hands on. Australian Skin Clinics’ mission is to help people look and feel fantastic about themselves. We live and breathe that every day and place a huge emphasis on providing our clients with affordable treatments, in high quality facilities, delivered by experienced, qualified staff. I chat with our clients regularly to receive their feedback on both the clinic and their client experience. It helps me to better understand and meet their ongoing needs.

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