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  • Ed Purnell

5 important lessons learnt from interviewing Founders of successful businesses



I’m writing this article for anyone who is at a point in their career where they are ready to start their own business or maybe are exploring what it might be like to be self-employed.

If this sounds like you, perhaps you’ve had enough of the 9 to 5 grind or maybe you need to find a better work-life balance. Some people will even start their own business to make an impact in the world which they couldn’t while still in employment, I know this feeling very well.

In fact, it’s the reason why I started my own podcast. Throughout my career as a recruiter, I have met and spoken with many people who have found themselves in a situation in their career where they were forced to make change. External factors like a change in company strategy, recessions, and even pandemics that have caused redundancies.

I also feel for the people who are stuck on a career path they want to move away from, but can’t, as they don’t see a way to do this without taking a risk and start their own business.

I’ve come to realise that franchising provides an option that could help in all of these situations. The problem is that most of us overlook this opportunity or perhaps know nothing about it. I don’t think it is the solution for everyone, but I do believe that it should be an option that everyone considers.

It's why I created “The Disenfranchised” podcast, so that I could interview and share the advice of Founders who have created successful franchised businesses.

In this article I want to share what I have discovered so far with you, in the hope that you too can learn from their experience and build confidence in your next step as an entrepreneur.

So, here are my 5 key learnings from speaking with Founders of successful franchised businesses.

1. Don’t let fear block your path to freedom

The first lesson I had learnt was that you will never eliminate all risk. We all fear the unknown and when it’s your own personal finances on the line the risk seems to be greater. You will be fixated on what if it all goes wrong. For balance make sure that you think about what if it goes right? What if you don’t take a risk, what will your future look like?

Ultimately, there is no wrong or right answer to this, but nobody who has become successful has made it without taking a leap of faith.

Make sure you do your research and try to eliminate some of the risk, but in the end, you’re going to have to trust your gut instinct.

2. Do your research

Speaking of research, whatever path you go down, whether it’s starting your own business or starting a franchise it’s important research the market. Who are the competitors? What is the market like? What do the financials look like? What are the likely challenges you’re going to face? What are the routes to market?

If starting out on your own, you’ll need to network and find people who are willing to share their insights but be careful of who you trust.

In franchising this is easier to find out as the franchisor should give you access to what typical revenues should look like and real-life examples of the business growth. You can also speak with existing franchisees to understand the challenges you’re likely to face and how they have won clients who welcome the service or product.

3. You have transferable skills

Next up I have discovered that you need to look at yourself and the experience you’ve already gained.

I interviewed one franchisor who was trained as a nurse and is now the owner of a national care franchise and a franchise coaching and mentoring business.

My initial instinct was that she had no transferrable skills when she left nursing and so had to learn everything from scratch. However, by interviewing her I found out that being a nurse actually requires you to document activity in a regimented fashion, you have to have fantastic people skills and you have to care about what you’re doing.

These are all transferable skills and important traits for anyone in business.

Understand your skills and leverage them to your advantage. You don’t have to be a footballer by trade to run a business to teach children football skills.


4. You are the only person responsible for your future (but you don’t have to do it on your own)

While we’re talking about skill sets, is anybody capable of completing all the tasks required to set up, sell, manage and maintain a business?

I seriously doubt it.

As the master of your own destiny, you have control of your own business, and the responsibility of its success lays on your shoulders. Yet as your business grows you can outsource many of the tasks, allowing you to focus on what you’re great at. We all know that hardly anyone does their own accounts because someone else can do it better and faster.

After learning what franchising is all about, I now see it as a form of outsourcing, particular thanks should go to the virtual assistants I’ve interviewed for this realisation. The brand building, contract creation, cost setting and marketing is generally already there and ready go! It costs money, sure, but instead of doing it yourself it could set you on the path to success quicker.

When you’re researching your new business it’s also important to get expert advice, support, and guidance. This can come in many forms from legal advice through to funding to guidance on changing your mind set.

In my own journey I’ve spoken with so many helpful people out there, just take the time to reach out and find someone you trust. Again, in franchising you can find a great resource on the British Franchise Association’s website.

5. Do something that you love

Finally, but probably most importantly, do something that you are passionate about.

I have heard this time and time again, to the point where I almost try to avoid the answer for a bit of variety in my podcast! Literally every single Founder I have interviewed absolutely believes in their purpose, loves what they do and doesn’t dread turning up each day.

If you enjoy what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

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