Sarah Emblow is the Manchester franchisee at Barrecore, London’s premium boutique barre fitness studio. The instructor-turned-franchisee is a prime example of believing so wholly in a brand and its ethos that you invest yourself and your career into growing the company. We spoke to Sarah about:
- How to know if opening a franchise is the right decision,
- What to consider before investing in a business,
- What skills are needed to be a successful franchisee, and
- What advice she has for prospective franchisees
Opening a franchise is a major career decision. What should someone do to determine whether opening a franchise is right for them?
The most important factor is to determine whether you are financially stable. A franchise is a significant investment. On the outset, you’re buying into expertise, but you still deal with the same startup costs as a new business. Especially as the costs are ongoing, it’s vital to understand the commitment and know what you’re getting in return for your investment.
You also need to consider whether being a franchisee suits your personality. It’s a fantastic career path for bridging self-ownership and empowerment with a background of absolute experts navigating you through the process. But this does mean you need to be comfortable working with guidelines set by the brand. It’s a combination of being your own boss and a perfect implementation of the business you’ve invested in.
What considerations should a prospective franchisee have before investing in a specific business?
Believing in and trusting the people behind the brand is so vital. They’re the people that will be guiding you through the business so it’s important you respect their opinion and are comfortable for them to know what’s best without feeling stifled. For me, if I was going to learn from anyone it was going to be Niki Rein, the founder of Barrecore. Not only am I learning from the best, but Niki is so generous with sharing her expertise.
It’s also equally as important to believe in the actual concept of the business. From day one, I loved the community energy within Barrecore and the high-end service it delivers. Becoming a franchisee is a real commitment and if the personalities interchange you’ve got to have confidence in the brand itself.
What skills are required to be a successful franchisee?
A key skill is adaptability. It’s about implementing the brand and its key messages in a way that feels personalised to your customers, like offering a boutique service just for them.
I also think it’s important to be a strong decision maker. Being part of a franchise doesn’t mean having a blueprint for every eventuality. Day-to-day things can take you by surprise and it’s about knowing how to deal with those issues.
Is there anything you wish you knew before you opened your franchise?
It would be having dynamic and flexible resources on hand. In the early days of setting up my franchise, I found myself being pulled in multiple directions, like sorting VAT returns when I could have been focusing on client facing matters. Although Barrecore has enormous internal help on offer, I wish I had researched more into local resources that I could draft in for certain tasks if need be.
What advice would you give to a new franchisee?
Really consider how the franchise is going to fit into your life. It’s not just a contract, it’s an investment. There’s way more at stake and you need to be clear on how it will fit into your world. For me it’s having that obsession with Barrecore as a brand that drives me every day.
Finally, just trust your gut instinct. It will help you make the right decision on the business you invest in and the expertise you choose to learn.