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There are two primary entities involved in a franchise: the franchisor and the franchisee. The franchisor is the owner of a company that they want to expand, and so sell a package including the right to use their name, trademarks, products or services, and know-how to a franchisee, who is the owner of their own business. The franchisee’s business operates to the exact format specified by the franchisor, which has already proven to be successful.
There are hundreds of franchised companies in the UK today. The most famous ones are fast food restaurants such as McDonalds and KFC, but franchises come from every industry, from dog-walking to sign companies. Each franchisee is bound by their franchise agreement to adhere to certain standards, which is why most franchise branches have the same decor.
Why work from home?
If you’re reading this, you probably have your own feelings about why you want to work from home. The usual reason people cite is the same as why people purchase any franchise – they want to gain a better work/life balance. If you are a business owner, you might work from home to keep your overheads down, saving on rent and the associated bills.
Working from home, you can work around your childcare commitments – since you’re your own boss and there’s nobody else around, who’s going to tell you that you can’t stop working and take your child to ballet?
With the rising use of the internet, you can run a global business from your kitchen table, although it still pays to do a spot of live networking.
It’s quite a small reason, but you can also save money on clothes – who’s going to know if you’re sending your 3pm email while wearing your pyjama bottoms and a hoodie? Working from home can be comfortable as well as convenient.
Why a franchise?
Franchising provides a lot of the benefits of owning an original business, but with greatly reduced risks. According to the British Franchise Association/NatWest 2012 Annual Franchise Survey, around nine out of ten franchises trade profitably in their first five years. This is largely because a franchise is a copy of a proven business format that has been tested repeatedly, meaning that most avoidable problems have already been worked out.
Franchisors also should provide long term support in areas such as marketing for the duration of your franchise agreement.
There are a variety of opportunities that allow you to work from home, including internet, PA, and finance franchises.
Is working at home right for me?
Working from home requires a great deal of willpower – you need to be able to ignore distractions, keep yourself motivated, and know when to stop and put your work aside.
You also need a family that will support you in your new business, and who will respect the time and space you need to do your work.
If you struggle to stay on track when you’re at home, or you find yourself constantly disturbed while trying to work, you may want to look at a franchise or other business that is office-based in order to create a clearer distinction between work time and leisure time.
If you do have the discipline to run a business from home, a home-based franchise could well be your route forward.
*Steve Jones is Managing Director for Select Your Franchise UK Ltd, a website promoting womens’ franchises and information relating to the franchise industry. He is a prolific blog writer on the subject of franchising and small business issues.