Every schoolchild wants to own a sweetshop and let’s be honest, we’ve all secretly got a dream job that we’d love to be doing. As Service-leavers make their way through resettlement, they are perhaps well placed to take a shot at making their dreams come true.
There are dream jobs and there are ‘dream jobs’. It might be a bit ‘out there’ to suggest that you could be centre forward for Liverpool or an astronaut or even chief taster for Stella Artois. Some dream jobs however, are just about within reach, especially if you’re coming out of the Services at the right time of life and with a decent lump sum to invest. Of course, you’ll still need the hard work, determination and all of that but the motivation to do something you’ve always dreamt of, is a motivation in its own class.
If you’ve always been interested in food and drink, for example, you may well have harboured an ambition to own your own cafe or restaurant. Wouldn’t it be great to wake up in the morning and do the very thing that you’ve always dreamt of – and make a living from it? Indeed, the flipside is to settle for second or third best and grab the first job that comes along, hide your ambitions away and spend the rest of your life regretting not having given it a shot. If you look at it like that, it starts to become a no-brainer but even so you need to take things a step at a time.
These days, it’s a rare person that can actually tell you that they’re doing what they want to but Service-leavers have an advantage. Leaving the Armed Forces in good health, still of working age and with money to invest in a new life means that you really can start to look at what your dreams are actually made of.
One of the ways you might think about achieving your ambition is by franchising. This is where you (as the franchisee) would buy into an established business (the franchisor) that would, in return lend you the kudos of their name and reputation as well as giving you a head start in how to be a success in that particular business sector. With franchises available in all sectors from sport to travel or fitness to pets there may be a business model that gives you a realistic structure to make money from the thing you love to do.
Not only will you be doing what you’ve always wanted to do but you’ll also be your own boss and able to decide to a large extent how you do things. Of course, listening to the franchisor’s business tips is a smart move; they’ve built the business and know the formula for success but that’s not to say that your passion for the venture won’t bring out the best in you as a businessperson and inspire you to come up with winning ideas of your own.
Franchising isn’t the only way to launch a business but it is statistically proven to be a ‘safer’ way to make money than starting from scratch. According to the NatWest British Franchising Association (BFA) Franchise Survey (2014) “The overall contribution of franchising to the UK economy is £13.7 billion; which equates to just under 1% of GDP – with 92% of franchised businesses being at least ‘marginally profitable’, with 49% saying they are either quite profitable or very profitable.”
If you are starting out from scratch you need to make sure that your dream job/business actually works. Pulling together a business plan and then having friends critique it can show up any gaps in your business strategy. The brutal point to keep in mind is that whilst you might like dried flowers, dolls house furniture or any other strange and curious product, not everybody else does. Your market research needs to be robust enough to show how the business is likely to perform. Even though you might have expert knowledge on the subject, it may not be enough to run a fully fledged business.
Whatever your dream job is, take your time and do your homework. Bring in as much advice as you can and then work hard. Try to make decisions with your head as well as your heart and if you do end up owning a sweetshop, try not to eat all of the profits.