Professional Development

Women in business: how I grew my franchise

Written by Guest Contributor

Many people consider running their own business to be a very appealing prospect. The opportunity to put your own stamp on a set of products and services is obviously a very strong draw – as is the potential for you to make great progress as a direct result of your own hard graft.

One area that you may not have considered is that of working as a franchise holder. There are many benefits to this career that aren’t as easily achievable as a result of starting a business from scratch. I chose to go down this line of work over four years ago, and I haven’t looked back since! I am extremely proud of my work with Rainbow International, and this year, I was thrilled to achieve the BFA Young Female Franchisee of the year award 2019.

In this article, I’d like to share with you the steps I took in order to get to where I am today, and how you can see the same success in your career.

The beginning

Since I was young, my parents had been deeply involved in business ventures – so taking on my own enterprise was always a firm option for me.

Prior to owning my franchise, I was self-employed as a commercial scuba diver working in the film industry. While this may sound like a fairly major change to undergo, I drew upon my experience of working for myself when I first started out with my franchise.

Making it work for me

One of the major benefits I discovered early on was that I had bought into an already successful company – meaning the main building blocks of reputation and visibility were already there. But owning my own business still came with its own unique set of roadblocks. My main challenges were:

  • To ensure my branch performed and operated to the same exceptional standard as the others
  • To maintain the brand’s great reputation and build that of my own branch
  • To spread our reach and tap into newer audiences through marketing and public relations

I knew to invest in this business was going to be tough, but it was comforting to know that this model had worked many times before. And this added to my confidence from the start, as the risk factor wasn’t as high. With the franchisors at the head office always available for guidance, the provided manuals to follow and other franchisees around me who had been through similar experiences – I felt supported from the very start.

I mentioned earlier that I previously worked as a professional diver – and I quickly found that this allowed me to offer a unique selling point through my particular branch. I was once tasked with removing a build-up of algae from the bottom of a lake, for example!

The lesson here is to take stock of your special skills and those of your team, and to see how they can be harnessed to create something individual and interesting.

Golden rules

If you’re thinking of investing in a franchise of your own, here are the main tips I’d like to offer:

  • Do your due diligence before applying. Taking on a franchise is a huge challenge, and it has to be right for you. However, it’s an extremely rewarding experience when you succeed!
  • Listen to the guidance of your franchisors, adhere to regulations and implement any changes or updates in a timely and thorough manner.
  • Be willing to throw the concept of a 9-5 out of the window. You’re a franchisee 24/7, and you need to be on call at all hours.
  • Make your family, friends and loved ones aware of the nature of your work. You should ensure you have someone there to support you when things get stressful!
  • Remember, franchise holders are there to assist if you need help – but at the end of the day, you are a business owner, and you need to take ownership of your own part of the franchise.
  • Think of your branch as an individual entity as well as a part of an umbrella group. Check with the franchisors before you do anything drastic. However, you should always work hard to market your individual branch and actively come up with exciting ideas in order to make it feel special and unique.
  • Keep on top of your branch’s PR and social media and ensure that everything you present to the public is consistent, high-quality, current and on-brand. Forge strong connections with relevant media publications and make yourself available for comment when necessary.

After a lot of hard work, I am now proud to have been granted the title of BFA Young Female Franchisee of the year. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for me and my team, and for others who decide to follow the same path!

About the Author:
Jennie Mills, who is the proud owner of a Rainbow International franchise in Derbyshire, has owned her business since 2015. Diligent and passionate, she is the proud recipient of the BFA Young Female Franchisee of the Year 2019 and Rainbow International Franchisee of the Year 2018. Jennie took advantage of one of Rainbow’s franchise opportunities in fire and flood restoration and hasn’t looked back since. Rainbow International offers a number of franchises for sale in various locations.

About the author

Guest Contributor