When you’re getting ready to make your franchise business investment, it makes sense to think about how your life will change once you’re a franchisee. But you may also want to think about how your family’s lives will change.
Because they will.
Changes aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but even good changes can be stressful. Getting the possible changes out in the open before you commit yourself allows you not only to make sure your loved ones are on board, but also to plan the best ways to handle those changes so that they’re good for everyone.
Hours and availability
Plenty of jobs require long, unpredictable hours, but if you’re been an 8 to 5 worker who doesn’t have to bring work home, you can expect that to change. Any new business requires a major time commitment, especially at the beginning. You’ll need to put in long hours preparing your franchise and getting the training you need. Then you may have to wear a lot of hats while you build up revenue to the point where it makes sense to staff your business fully. And even after you have all your workers in place, you’re still Johnny on the Spot when it comes to covering emergencies and vacations. It may be years before you get a vacation yourself.
On the other hand, franchisees may have much more flexibility that employees. That can mean that you can duck out to check on an elderly parent, attend all those recitals and T-ball games you’ve been missing so far, or take your spouse to lunch.
Your investment in a franchise business opportunity is just that: an investment. You won’t make that investment if you don’t expect to do well out of it financially, but it can take time to see the payoff.
Family members may have to make some sacrifices, whether it’s giving up gymnastic lessons, pinching pennies at the grocery, or cutting back on recreational shopping. Deciding together what sacrifices are worth making and pitching in to keep your household budget on track works better than trying to avoid change and then getting angry when you see the credit card bills.
If you have a snazzy title right now and you’re about to open a doughnut franchise, your loved ones might have feelings about that. Even if you know that “Corporate Research Engineer” or “Senior Infrastructure Technician” is a lot less exciting than “Business Owner,” your parents might not be so sure. Seeing you back behind a counter might make them worry that you’re stepping back to that job you had in high school, not moving forward along your career path.
Your spouse or kids might have the mistaken impression that “self-employed” is a lot like “unemployed.” Fortunately, joining a franchise can give you name recognition for your family as well as for your customers.
Approach this issue with clear communication and maybe a creative new job title.
The experiences of senior employees during the recent Recession should have taught us all that having a job isn’t actually the same as having security, or even job security. Workers lost their jobs, their pensions, their benefits, and much more.
A franchise business is no less secure than other kinds of work. In fact, you may have greater security, since you’ll have more control over your franchise than over the business where you currently work.
The best single step to improve your family’s sense of security and reduce stress over the future is to build up an emergency fund before you you take the plunge. Knowing that you have enough to live on for six months or so takes away the pressure.
Will you expect your husband or wife, kids, or parents and siblings to help you in your business? Plenty of franchisees do. It can be an opportunity for your family members and it can be a pleasure to work together — but make sure you discuss it up front.
A mandatory after-school job in the family business has been a character building opportunity for many kids, but it’s a good idea to talk about your expectations and what you’ll be paying, rather than assuming that the kids will want to help out. And if your spouse will be keeping the books or answering the phones while you get the business going, it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time how long a commitment he or she is making.
Chances are, your family is behind you 100% and ready to do what needs to be done to ensure your success. Just be sure to plan and discuss the future with them as you get your franchise plans together.