Why I chose franchising
Franchising offered me a viable alternative to start a new business and to avoid some of the dangers facing a new enterprise by adopting a proven formula. Although I own the business I know that I am not alone. I will benefit from an infrastructure that is not available to the independent businessperson.
However it is not necessarily a guarantee for business success.
What I did before taking up a franchise
I am a Project Management Professional and was working for a large multi disciplinary engineering firm. I was involved in and responsible for the management of numerous industrial and mining projects, the last of which was a complete furnace rebuild and upgrade.
How I raised the finance
I was fortunate to partially fund the franchise and marketing fees from savings. The remainder of the funding I took from our flexi-bond and the early payout of a pension fund.
The training and support I receive from my franchisor
Blue Chip Lubricants really excelled in the way they responded with feedback and information in the initial stages of our negotiations. I soon realised that this is the way they do their business. Throughout the set-up, training and start-up phases of my franchise Blue Chip Lubricants’ support and input were very professional and thorough. Apart from being the franchisor, they also fulfil the role of mentor and business partner and have a sincere interest in the success of my franchise.
The challenges I have faced
The time it took from paying the franchise fee to opening the business and becoming operational. Naturally, I tried to keep this as short as possible but activities such as registration of a business entity, VAT registration and complying with other statutory requirements cannot be controlled.
To obtain the required funding from the various financial sources available.
Finding suitable employees that were willing to risk starting at a new business and whose salary still fits my budget.
Breaking into the market – although this challenge is not something of the past. In my operational area Blue Chip Lubricants are unknown and there are well established depots that supplies lubricants, fuel and diesel from the major blenders.
My advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise
There is a lot of information available on the internet and other media sources, with numerous websites and magazines dedicated to franchising, business or the entrepreneur. Most banking institutions also offer a specific service for small businesses or franchises.
Do research and consult as widely as possible. Do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
Know yourself, consider your interests and inclinations and identify fields of business that may suit you. A franchise will dominate your life for a long time; choose one that relates to your own interest and something that you may enjoy. My plans for the future My immediate goal is to securely establish my franchise and the Blue Chip Lubricant brand in the area of operation and to build a solid customer base. With this successfully achieved I will have the freedom to expand to other areas. There also is the possibility of combining products and services that will complement each other under one roof.