Start-up tips from leading franchisees

Looking at becoming a franchisee? Some top South African franchisees share their advice on taking the entrepreneurial leap.

Buying a franchise doesn’t guarantee success. As in any other business, hard work and tenacity is crucial.

Deciding to purchase a franchise is never an easy decision to make. After all, you will be putting down a lot of money in the hopes that your business will become successful. Seeing a return on your investment can take time. So how should you prepare for this decision?

fr“I would recommend spending as much time as possible at an existing franchise,” says Sharon Tattersall, a Supa Quick franchisee. “If you can spend a whole month there, do it.”

ACDC Express franchisee Sharon van Rhyn adds that doing research and improving your business acumen is incredibly important: “If you don’t have management experience it’s going to be a challenge, so upskill yourself in that department. And if you lack technical knowledge, hire for it.”

Of course, no amount of training and research can take those butterflies away. Buying a business will remain a nerve-wracking experience.

“Honestly, the first days were very scary,” says Body20 franchisee Charlene Chiang. “It was a whirlwind of activity – going through the franchisee training, finding premises, wrestling with landlords – all while planning a wedding as well. From making the decision to opening our studio took a mere three months.”

And once the fitness studio actually opened, things didn’t slow down: “I used to be at the studio from 05h00 to 21h00 every day. It was tough, but as the owner I had to make sure that the running of the studio was done in a manner that did ourselves and the brand proud. The long hours bore fruit quickly, resulting in a team I can delegate to with confidence.”

Indeed, the ability to manage people is crucial to the success of most franchises. You can’t do everything yourself, so you need people you can delegate to.

“Prospective franchisees often underestimate the people management component of owning a business. Owning a restaurant, for instance, means managing around 20 people daily. It can be very difficult if you don’t have the right people,” says Maxi’s franchise owner Tim Apostolides.

What it all comes down to is that, in many ways, a franchise is a business like any other. True, it usually offers a proven business model and process that have been thoroughly tested, but it still demands a lot of hard work.

“When thinking of opening a business, you have to remember that you will be responsible for every aspect of that operation. You will have to manage the business’s finances and staff, keep an eye on stock levels and deal with customers. There’s tons of admin to deal with, especially in the early days,” says Supa Quick’s Sharon Tattersall.

DO THIS

  • Do loads of research before investing in a franchise
  • Upskill yourself if you lack business acumen
  • Be prepared to work hard
  • Make sure that you have the right personality to deal with employees and customers daily.

Source: Standard Bank BizConnect

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