Could franchising be on the rise as more people are made redundant?

Covid-19 | Covid-19 Advice | Employment & Skills | How To | Sponsored

Redundancy is not a modern phenomenon. Recessions date back to the year 1430 and at each occurrence, swathes of hard workers have lost their jobs.

Covid-19 has triggered yet another recession in an economy that was already turbulent. Some sectors – travel and hospitality – are worse hit than others, but a swift decline in consumer confidence and spending means that most industries are incurring reactive redundancies.

Here, we share the advice of Tim Harris, Managing Director of the ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad brands, owned by Franchise Brands plc. He’s shared his advice on how to use redundancy as an opportunity to become self-employed with a franchise, for those who find themselves out of work as a result of Covid-19. 

Without sounding glib, I prefer to call recessions ‘reset sessions’, as they provide people the headspace to think about what they actually want from their career. Perhaps they’ve always hated their commute; maybe they’ve continually been ignored for promotion or might even think their skills lie best outside the industry they currently service.

For many, being made redundant will be the push they need into self-employment. It provides the headspace to think like an entrepreneur. However, for those who still want the reassurance of continual lead generation and the support of a head office function – which will be important when the future looks so unclear – franchising bridges the gap. Often, though, people don’t know where to start.

  1. Accept that redundancy is out of your control

Whenever you meet someone new, you’re usually asked ‘what do you do for a living?’. Being made redundant creates loss of identity, or a sense of low self-value. You don’t want to be the person who says, ‘I’m currently out of work’, especially if the situation was completely out of your control.

In the short-term future at least, because of coronavirus, hearing this is going to become very normal; there is zero shame to losing your job because of a pandemic. Not being able to provide for your family is a daunting prospect, and that’s why many who are made redundant have a knee-jerk reaction and jump straight into a new job – and any job, at that. Usually, it’s one that makes them feel even less valued, and they find themselves back in the rat race.

Covid-19 will present a new challenge, though. Many senior players have been in the same role for 20 or 30 years. If your sector is in trouble because of recession, the likelihood is your role is redundant across the whole industry, rather than with your specific employer. It’s for this reason that most of our ChipsAway and Ovenclean franchisees are aged over 40. They used redundancy as an opportunity and so should you; put your destiny back into your own hands.

Having faced redundancy twice in three years, Sales and Marketing Director, Andy decided that he wanted a complete change of direction.

“Having looked at a number of franchises, ChipsAway appealed to me for various reasons” Andy said. “First of all, I had an interest in cars anyway. Secondly, the back-up of a well-known and respected brand really appealed to me – ChipsAway stood out in terms of reputation and marketing. You have a steady flow of leads and customers from day one.”

“Owning my own business is extremely liberating – no one can make me redundant or have an effect on my life apart from me. Every decision I make is for the good of my business and my family.”

If you want to take back control of your life and have an interest in the car repair industry, you can get an insight into the ChipsAway Franchise here.

  1. Criticise and compliment yourself

Doing so requires an honest, upfront self-audit. Look at yourself from the outside in; what at your practical and emotional skills? Perhaps you’re good with numbers or you work well outdoors; maybe you’re trustworthy, great with people or a natural problem solver.

Also think about the things you aren’t good at. Not everyone is organised, so too much admin is a big no-no; others hate having to deal with IT, while many don’t know if they’d be able to manage a team.

If you’re worried the gaps in your CV might mean you can’t take the leap into self-employment, you should consider launching a franchise. At Franchise Brands, we offer our ChipsAway and Ovenclean branches marketing, accounting, IT support and training from our head office function, as we know these are things people often lack from their CV.

Roger Butcher joined the Ovenclean network in 2012 after being made redundant from the motor trade. Since then Roger has gone from strength to strength utilising the support from Ovenclean.

For your investment, you also have access to the unlimited support of a very experienced team at Ovenclean Head Office. They provide technical advice, marketing tips and there’s a 24/7 call centre which provides a steady amount of customer leads from national marketing campaigns.”

If you can work with a franchisor that can provide those reassurances to you, you automatically become the full package. This, in turn, gives you the freedom to step out of your comfort zone and change industry. At ChipsAway, we’ve taken on people who have experience in automobile through to experienced vets, and everything in between. We look more at personality and interchangeable skills than the sector you come from, as ultimately you just need passion to make your franchise work.

After being made redundancy, ex-marketing director, John and his police officer wife, Elaine opted for a more fulfilling career as Barking Mad franchisees.

“Having been made redundant twice in the course of a year, we didn’t seem to have control, but now with Barking Mad we are in charge of our own future and it’s not just a job. After five years, we have grown the franchise by 300 per cent, which has been a great success for us, greatly helped by the support we receive from head office.”

If you are interested in running your own successful dog care franchise, get in touch with Barking Mad here.

  1. Prioritise your mental health

Financial hardship at home causes a lot of anxiety. Money worries are a major disruptor, and anyone made redundant – during the pandemic or not – will be concerned about where their next pay packet is coming from. During this Covid-19 era, there is then the additional pressure on our mental health from being frightened of an invisible threat and until a vaccine is formed, there will be very little confidence amongst many employers to take on new, full-time staff. As a result, there will be a natural increase in self-employment.

Starting a new business is stressful; it will test your strengths and weaknesses, and there are pitfalls you won’t have even considered until you live through them. As such, it’s essential you make allowances every single day, to prioritise your mental health. Without it, your business will suffer and the feeling of low self-value you experienced when made redundant will seep back in. It’s a vicious cycle.

Over 50 per cent of our ChipsAway and Ovenclean teams are mental health first trained; they look out for the signals and triggers that indicate our franchisees might be struggling to cope and provide them the mechanisms to get through. We’ve made several interventions during lockdown, which has been a huge strain on our workers’ mental health, but we know especially for those who’ve turned to franchising after being made redundant there is a strong fight to feel worthy and confident again.

The best thing you can do for your mental health is to look beyond money. Your career is a choice and unless you’re happy in what you’re doing every day, there will be an impact – big or small – on your overall wellbeing. We invested in our mental health training because healthy franchisees deliver a better service but ultimately, we want our team to be happy.

Husband and wife team, Dean and Amy Wilson joined Ovenclean in 2013 after deciding to put their happiness first. “Ovenclean has changed our lives so much for the better. We have freedom, more time for each other and our young family which makes life so much more relaxed and happier.”

If you are looking to put yourself first and become your own boss, you can find all the information for the Ovenclean Franchise here.

Redundancy can highlight a lot of different routes to re-employment, but those who fit into the franchise model become motivated owner-operators who deliver for their customers. It’s an uncertain time, but franchising offers the opportunity to reclaim control, step into a career you know you can excel in, and generally become a more well-rounded, healthier person. Most franchisees who sign up with trepidation, proclaim within three months that they’ll never be a full-time employee again. For them, redundancy and franchising has provided the liberation they never knew they needed.

ChipsAway, Ovenclean and Barking Mad franchisees are living proof that there are successful business opportunities to be had after redundancy. With hard work, determination and the support of a reputable franchise company, redundancy has proven to be the springboard into a success for franchisees.

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