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With home-run franchises rising, Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, looks into the benefits this will bring to mums looking to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.
Becoming a business owner may seem like an impossible feat if you have a family. After all, a business is similar to having another baby; you are putting your heart, money and soul into its growth and development, and it requires constant care and attention.
However, having a family usually sets off re-evaluation, with many working mothers unable to continue with their current careers as many positions still don’t cater for their need for flexibility. It is also a time for re-evaluation of interests as having children tends to reinvigorate passion and a realisation of professional unfulfillment dawns. So self-employment starts to become a very attractive option.
The franchising industry is in constant evolution, with franchise models developing to suit the needs of diverse groups and entrepreneurs. This includes a significant rise in home-operated businesses, with four in 10 systems now available to run from a home office, a development that proves the industry is hearing the calls of business mums looking to build their own business alongside a growing family.
Furthermore, the industry is diversifying at a fast rate, with the 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Survey revealing that there are now nearly 1,000 franchise models available in the UK, allowing prospective franchisees to find a business that suits their passion, experience or skills.
Sarah Edston Johnston, a former social care worker, discovered her love of travelling and decided, after having her family, that she wanted to pursue this career. She found The Holiday Franchise Company and now runs her own business, Edston Luxury Holidays.
She says: “Having a young family encouraged me to re-evaluate my career. I wanted a career that reflected my interests and give me the opportunity to work from home so I could be available for my children when they need me. To make such a change, I had to be certain this was something I wanted to do and have the support of my family and friends.”
“For over a year, I researched different careers in the travel industry and through this I concluded that I wanted to buy a travel franchise as it meant I could own my own company, take the business in a direction that reflected my interests and have the support of a business infrastructure that is proven to work. I spent about a year talking to different travel franchises and weighed up my options. Eventually I chose to buy a franchise with a company that I made my initial enquiries with, the Holiday Franchise Company.*”
For mums, choosing to become a franchisee for a home-run franchise offers them the chance to follow their passion, but with significantly less risk than if they were to go it alone as they can benefit from the resources of their franchisor. This includes a working business model, training, guidance and networking opportunities with their other franchisees.
Siân Partridge had a successful career in marketing, but this was not her dream job and having her family reignited her passion for travel. After unsuccessfully pursuing this dream through other channels, she found The Holiday Franchise Company.
She says: “I’d just turned 40, had no travel agent experience or training and all the companies I wrote to wouldn’t give me the time of day. I just knew I could do this, but couldn’t find a way in.
“It was then that I stumbled across franchising and I could instantly see the advantages. I could control my own business to fit around my family life. I’d get the training I needed and I’d have the support of a proven business model and people on the end of the phone to guide me.
“The Holiday Franchise Company took time to find out about me and gave me time to consider the huge commitment I was about to leap into, patiently answering the barrage of questions I threw at them.
“Now I have my own home-based company with access to the franchise’s booking systems, infrastructure, suppliers and experience. Their designer worked with me to create my perfect brand image and they hosted my website with a template that allowed me to easily create content. Make Holiday Memories was born!”
It is important to understand that while joining a franchise grants you a licence to their established name, business model, training, support from a network and access to head office, the business is not guaranteed to be a success. This comes down to the franchisee and the work they put into the business. Most franchisees put the same, if not more, hours into their business than if they were 9-5, but with franchising, you can mould your hours to fit your schedule and needs.
However, if you find a business that you’re 100% passionate about and committed to, the hard work will result in a thriving and rewarding business. There is no cut-off time to follow your passion.
For more information, visit www.thebfa.org to find out more on franchising.
*Typical start-up costs for the Holiday Franchise are: Holiday Designer Package £13,745 and Holiday Designer Plus is £15,795. Costs exclude VAT. Minimum Personal Investment – £20,000