Franchising – Your Next Step After Redundancy?

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The current turbulent economy means redundancy has become a cruel reality for many people. However, not all is doom and gloom! As one door closes, a new one can open, as franchising allows you to turn a negative experience into a positive one and allow you to invest in a bright future.

“If you’re facing redundancy or thinking of a career change, franchising is a great option to consider,” advises Michael Johnson, Managing Director of Card Connection. “While redundancy can be a daunting experience, it can also provide you with the opportunity to reevaluate your life, career and goals, in other words to really start afresh. Franchising provides the perfect step for many seeking a new way of life and to become their own boss.”

According to the British Franchise Association, franchising has proved to be remarkably resilient during the recent recession. So whilst the overall UK economy shrunk by 2.5% over a five year period, the contribution made by franchising actually grew by 20%. Central to this success was the decision of the many people who turned to franchising after being made redundant.

An Alternative path
Franchising offers you a proven business model and strong network support every step of the way. You become your own boss but you are not all alone in running your own business. Having an established and successful business, backed by strong support behind you means you previous work history is no barrier to success in franchising, as long as you bring enthusiasm, passion, determination and a willingness to learn new skills.

“At Card Connection, we see franchisees come from all walks of life. A former coal merchant, dairy farmer, racehorse trainer and even a former Irish Olympic toboggan racer have all gone on to be successful Card Connection franchisees. Many come from the corporate world, having had ordinary office jobs, perhaps working for the council or in retail.”

Training and support
Regardless of the sector, full training is provided with any franchise. Often franchisees learn ‘on the job’ while earning an income from day one. The role of any franchisor is to ensure all franchisees are up to speed and can manage all aspects of running their own business. Training will typically cover sales, marketing, basic accounting, customer service and an in-depth briefing on the particular product or service the franchisor is offering. This means even people embarking on complete career changes can follow an easily replicable business model and instantly thrive in their new venture.

“At Card Connection, we train our franchisees to merchandise displays of greetings cards in stores to make them look attractive and appealing to customers. There is an element of creativity in achieving the very best ‘visual theatre’ to each display. However, our franchisees actually follow a tried and tested planogram, which reflects the fully researched buying behavior of consumers. This is the key point – franchisees are encouraged to follow proven systems to help maximize their chances of success. In this way, franchising provides the option for someone to set up in business, whilst minimizing the risk of self-employment.”

Network spirit
‘Going it alone’ can be daunting for anyone considering setting up a new business from scratch. A franchisee, however, joins a team of like-minded people all working towards the same goal.
Although a franchisee will be working on their own, they are supported by experienced franchise managers out in the field and head office staff, as well as having access to the network of franchisees with whom to share experiences. This extended team will all be invested in the success of new franchisees joining the network.

“Recently, one of our experienced franchisees took time out to help a new colleague by helping him replicate his successful warehouse storeroom set-up, in order to maximize the efficiency of picking and packing the cards. This is typical of the type of support joining an established network can provide.”

Do your research
For those facing redundancy or considering a career change, there are many options available. What is important is to find a franchise you will enjoy running.

Research is crucial, as franchises are as varied as the franchisees that run them. Once you’ve shortlisted one or two industry sectors, meet up with the franchisors. You’ll need to get on personally with the people that you could end up working with. When you’re further into the process of investing in a franchise, it’s also advisable to talk to some of its current franchisees to see what it’s really like to run the business. This will provide a valuable insight into how the franchise works on a day-to-day basis.

The finances and profitability of the business also need careful scrutiny, as do the accounts of similar sized existing franchisees, to be reassured that your new venture will be sufficiently profitable to support you and your family. Getting ‘buy-in’ from friends and family can is also helpful, as they will be around to support and help you when you are starting out.

Card Connection has run a successful greeting cards franchise for over 25 years and has been a full member of the British Franchise Association since 1995 and the Irish Franchise Association since 1996. They are always on the lookout for the right people to join their franchise network. For more information on available franchise territories please visit www.card-connection.co.uk