Why fran­chis­ing is the smarter form of en­trepreneur­ship

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a great surge in the num­ber of Aus­tralians mak­ing the switch to self-em­ploy­ment with many in favour of be­com­ing their own boss. But for those who are new to busi­ness, is this re­ally the best move?

Business First - - FRANCHISING - By Peter Thomas

It’s no se­cret that the startup cul­ture is thriv­ing, but for en­trepreneurs with­out ex­pe­ri­ence, the road ahead can present many risks with fail­ure rear­ing its ugly head at ev­ery turn. Many at­tempts to go it alone and start some­thing from scratch but I be­lieve that this is riskier than in­vest­ing in an es­tab­lished brand and sys­tem which is what fran­chis­ing pro­vides.

I be­gan my ca­reer with Stock­dale & Leggo back in 1981 as a real es­tate agent be­fore quickly recog­nis­ing the po­ten­tial to turn the busi­ness it into a fran­chise, ef­fec­tively in­tro­duc­ing the fran­chis­ing busi­ness model to the real es­tate in­dus­try in Vic­to­ria.

In 1986, I pur­chased what was then a seven-of­fice com­pany and set out on my mis­sion to trans­form it into what is now a 70-of­fice strong agency. It wasn’t long be­fore other real es­tate agen­cies also in­tro­duced the fran­chise model to their brands. Why? Sim­ply be­cause it works.

Here’s why I be­lieve Stock­dale & Leggo has seen so much suc­cess, and why fran­chis­ing re­ally is the best busi­ness foun­da­tion in to­day’s econ­omy.

RE­DUCED RISK

Per­haps the most at­trac­tive as­pect of buy­ing into a fran­chise as op­posed to launch­ing your own busi­ness ven­ture is the fact that a fran­chise of­fers an added layer of pro­tec­tion and re­duced level of risk. While sign­ing on to a fran­chise can’t guar­an­tee your busi­ness suc­cess, it can of­fer a tried and tested busi­ness model with proven suc­cess. As the old say­ing goes, you can lead a horse to wa­ter but you can’t make them drink, and ul­ti­mately it is up to the fran­chisee them­selves to take ad­van­tage of the tools of­fered. As with most things in life, those who are will­ing to put in the work are the ones who will see the great­est suc­cess, and fran­chis­ing can of­fer a fast track to get­ting there that is free from the set­backs that so of­ten oc­cur when launch­ing your own start-up.

STRONG SYS­TEMS

As any­one in busi­ness would at­test to, strong sys­tems are vi­tal to busi­ness suc­cess – and this is some­thing that the new en­trepreneurs of­ten seem to strug­gle with, es­pe­cially dur­ing a growth pe­riod. Cre­at­ing an ef­fec­tive set of sys­tems is no easy feat, and of­ten these sys­tems can start to fall apart once you ex­pe­ri­ence any con­sid­er­able kind of growth. How­ever, when you’re op­er­at­ing as part of a fran­chise net­work, the fran­chisor will have al­ready put in the hard work so you won’t have to. What­ever prob­lems you en­counter are likely to have al­ready hap­pened at least once be­fore, so rather than floun­der­ing when is­sues arise, you can ex­pect to have an ef­fec­tive strat­egy to fall back on. Real es­tate in par­tic­u­lar re­lies heav­ily on strong sys­tems, and I would ar­gue that with­out them an agency would have a re­ally hard time in try­ing to grow.

ES­TAB­LISHED BRAND

An­other chal­lenge that is of­ten faced by new busi­nesses is the fact that they are essen­tially un­known. Try­ing to con­vince a new client or cus­tomer to take you on when they’ve never heard of you isn’t easy, as they lack the brand aware­ness that is closely linked with trust. On the other hand, when your busi­ness is part of a

highly rep­utable fran­chise such as Stock­dale & Leggo, they are likely to al­ready have a cer­tain level of un­der­stand­ing about your ser­vice, re­gard­less of whether they have worked with you in the past or not. In an in­dus­try such as real es­tate where trust is so im­por­tant, you sim­ply can’t un­der­es­ti­mate the value of a well-es­tab­lished brand and a strong rep­u­ta­tion.

PROPER GUID­ANCE

Fi­nally, per­haps the sin­gle most valu­able thing about fran­chis­ing is the sup­port and guid­ance you re­ceive along the way. This is some­thing you just can’t find in any other busi­ness model, and cer­tainly not as a solo en­tre­pre­neur. When you be­come part of a fran­chise busi­ness, the fran­chisor acts as your men­tor and will guide you through the process and help you stay on the right track to achiev­ing your goals. By de­fault, they have a vested in­ter­est in your suc­cess, and as such, they are com­mit­ted to teach­ing you all that you need to know. At Stock­dale & Leggo, my busi­ness lead­ers know that my phone is al­ways on and that they are al­ways wel­come to con­tact me at any time if they are in need of some guid­ance. How many start-ups can say they have the same level of sup­port?

They say that life is bet­ter when shared, but I be­lieve the same is true in busi­ness. While the fu­ture of the en­tre­pre­neur­ial world cer­tainly looks in­ter­est­ing, it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Fran­chis­ing re­ally does have so much to of­fer and could open up a whole new world of op­por­tu­ni­ties you might have never thought pos­si­ble. Peter Thomas is the Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of na­tional real es­tate net­work Stock­dale & Leggo and in­dus­try pi­o­neer, cred­ited with in­tro­duc­ing the fran­chis­ing model to the Vic­to­rian real es­tate in­dus­try in 1981, when he be­came the group’s first fran­chisee be­fore ac­quir­ing the busi­ness in 1986 and grow­ing it to 70 fran­chises across Vic­to­ria, New South Wales, Queens­land and the North­ern Territory.

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