With SME owner burnout at an all-time high, it is crucial to step back from operational duties and pursue new growth opportunities.
According to Mental Health U.K. and Iwoca, about four out of five small company owners suffer from mental illness. The same study revealed that panic attacks and depressive symptoms are more prevalent than before the epidemic.
Against the backdrop of a worsening cost of living crisis – characterized by soaring inflation, fuel and energy prices, labor shortages, the war in Ukraine, and difficulties trading with the E.U. – an increasing number of small business owners are faced with the decision of whether or not to persevere.
However, there is a third option: franchising their firm and therefore boosting their well-being.
Existing franchisors and franchisees can also profit from a return to fundamentals. Consider how far we have strayed from the initial concept.
Approximately 2.9 million U.K. SME owners report experiencing burnout as a result of the epidemic (FreeAgent, 2021).
Burnout is a condition of physical and mental weariness. It can appear in a variety of ways, such as waking up exhausted after having slept for several hours. Increased conflict, fueled by emotional or aggressive speech, may have negative consequences for both personal and professional relationships. Once a source of excitement, the prospect of caring for more workers or clients now feels daunting. Low emotions might be accompanied by mounting worry or dread and gloomy thinking. In addition to a variety of new or intensifying bodily symptoms, you may also experience palpitations and stomach knots. Working additional hours is not the solution. Ask yourself, if any of the preceding is true, how sustainable it is for me to continue?
What are the repercussions for my health and well-being if I do this?
Exists another method of operation?
One solution is to construct a blueprint of your firm, using your company’s beliefs, operations, and regulations as its DNA.
License franchisees to operate under your company’s brand, and then step back from day-to-day operations and managing vast teams of employees.
Are franchises a good fit for you?
Some owner-operators prioritize being small and retaining personal involvement in service delivery. They prefer to be at the center of an elite squad. Other SME owners, on the other hand, seek to be a leader by duplicating their business strategy in many areas. Having a single unit and limited ability to service consumers feels restrictive to some individuals.
Neither alternative is “good” or “bad.” The goal is to be loyal to one’s own nature, which should then influence one’s decisions. For some individuals, ambitious objectives may increase feelings of burnout. They are the entrance to grandeur and liberty for others.
If you have franchised your business in the past or if you have been a franchisee for a long time, is that decision still in your best interests?
Is your company franchise-capable?
Shift your focus from “company ownership” to “creating a pilot business model.” TV executives fund pilot programs to gauge the audience’s response. Similarly, franchisees must fall in love with your tale (your mission), cast (you and your satisfied customers), and storyline (what goes on in your business every day). If you have not yet arrived, do not panic. Not being perfect is not required, but showing potential is.
Prospective franchisees must understand that the opportunity you’re presenting is a smart financial investment. Therefore, you should have at least 12 months of profitable operations. Adding services, reevaluating supplier agreements, reducing expenses, and raising pricing are all strategies to generate additional revenue. On your franchise journey, accountants and business coaches may recommend additional strategies.
National identity in the making
Some firms exist to address an issue impacting a local community. Their service is intended to have a localized influence. Other organizations are mission-driven and want to serve at scale. Their goal is based on an original concept that is applicable nationwide as opposed to a single zip code. There is potential to become a national brand if the problem you address affects people beyond a specific geographic place.
Initial steps toward franchising
For you to be able to step back completely, a franchisee must be able to recreate your precise business model in another place, under your company’s name and image. Consult with a lawyer specializing in intellectual property to register a trademark for your business, and then outline your non-negotiables. Which credentials must your franchisee possess? Which industry specifications must be met? In what other areas can you afford to be flexible, granting franchisees a degree of autonomy?
Additionally, your pilot company model must be systematized. Put in place policies and processes that franchisees can implement. Everything requires a plan, from defining customer service excellence to attracting new clients through marketing. Start producing your operating handbook or revise an existing one immediately.
Case study of the
Joanne Jones has 22 years of experience as a speech and language therapist. She was on the verge of burnout after assisting over 4,000 families in 32 countries who were seeking for the correct support to aid their late-talking children at home.
During the epidemic, it was just me presenting my ‘Can-Do’ program through Facebook from my garden shed, as Joanne stated. “Waiting lists for NHS help for children who speak late are at an all-time high, with up to nine-month waits in certain local governments. Constantly anxious, I was aware that what parents truly required was face-to-face assistance.
“I have completely changed my company approach by hiring 13 franchisees in the United Kingdom. As certified Can-Do practitioners, they go out into their communities to assist parents with the program, aided by an app with video-learning content in bite-sized chunks. The effect on my mental health was immediate.”
5 crucial questions before you franchise