It's official, the news is in and last week we discovered that we'd been added to the list of the Top 100 Franchises in the UK! Decided on by a panel of those from the top of the franchising world by a 'points based system', franchises on the list are ranked by support, longevity, success, number of franchisees, future plans and network turnover.
I am absolutely thrilled (and very surprised!) to have made the list after just over two years of franchising. I entered the application a few months ago (which took around an hour to complete, asking for a LOT of detail) and had no idea that we would have even been considered (from over 300 applicants!) and when receiving the phone call, automatically thinking I'd been called to be told that 'I'd done something wrong on the form' (imposter syndrome strikes again!) it was a wonderful feeling to know that we had been recognised for the impact we have made so far, and hopefully continue to do.
Franchising was a decision that I didn't take lightly. From starting the business back in 2011 after graduating from Leeds College of Music, I had never planned to have what we have now, just to do a fun job that I enjoyed that helped others. The business went on to grow along with the demand that the care homes had for our sessions - and in 2016 I decided to make the decision to franchise the model, because my passion from Day One had been to bring music to those who need it most, those who may be socially isolated, those who may need musical stimulation, those that might just need that little lift one afternoon. I'm pleased to say that in the almost ten years I've been doing this, there has been an explosion of different activities, entertainment, facilitating going on in care homes now which is wonderful. I also continued to receive enquiries (and still do on a daily basis) from care homes and centres all across the UK, luckily we are able to say 'yes' more often than we used to, but there's still a lot of enquiries that I have to turn down. It has been a fun journey, with lots to learn and to still find myself constantly learning as we go on.
I was always quite sceptical about franchise businesses, and first thought that they were 'impersonal', 'diluted' and 'unoriginal', but when I decided to make that change I realised just how wrong I was. Creating a franchise could be those things, but it's how you decide to make it for others. I wanted to be able to share the passion but also to find people that are just as passionate as me, because let's face it, it also becomes their business and their 'baby' too, so why wouldn't they want to make it the best business that they can? A franchise is probably one of the best business opportunities that you could go for if you're thinking of starting a business, and definitely not impersonal! When our franchisees join us, I make sure that the person has got their own important reasons for doing so, not solely a financially related goal. The type of model that we run is for people - run by people and because of that, it becomes such a personal business, with every franchisee adding their own personal touch to their own Musical Moments business, putting their heart and soul into their sessions and looking after their clients, making genuine relationships with them.
I also wanted to make sure that it wasn't 'diluted' - to an extent that may happen, but again, I made sure that all resources were made available to the franchisees and team, I recorded videos and wrote an entire 90-page activities guide to make sure that everyone has access to everything that they need to run their business. I also make sure that everyone receives regular contact and training, I aim to see each franchisee face-to-face twice a year, observing their sessions and giving constructive feedback and ideas to help them grow even further. I also think it's important for everyone to get together too, we have a lively WhatsApp group chat and meet twice a year for fun, food and some additional training and idea sharing - I always say, two heads are better than one.
The franchise community is a growing and positive one, earlier this year myself and a franchisee attended the EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising) annual conference, which was really interesting to see all of the amazing and innovate franchises out there, inspiring others to start their own businesses, being fully supported by the person that created the business, meaning that they will know all of the answers to the questions you have. There were so many inspirational stories and speakers on the day, and we both left (from a franchisor and franchisee) perspective feeling totally inspired and full of ideas and how franchising really is a great move.
I would certainly recommend franchising to anyone, especially those listed on the EF Top 100 list - as I know they have been fully researched and scrutinised! If you're thinking of trying a brand new career in 2020, why not give it a go? Or even just research into what having a franchise involves? You will be the owner of your own business, giving yourself the flexibility to work your own hours, you will be able to grow your business, maybe take on your own staff members or grow your territory. You will most likely be doing something completely different, which is a challenge and an adventure in itself, finding a rewarding job that fits around your hours is rare nowadays. You'll also have a constant business advisor at your beck and call. Support is so important when you take on a franchise and your franchise support team are there to help with any question you have, big or small - you've got a team of your business experts on the other end of the phone, any time. How many people starting a business from scratch has that luxury and security? Hardly anyone. For anyone who has run a business, I won't deny it, it's hard. But having someone there who knows the answer, knows where to turn if things go wrong, or is just there to give you that support and cheer you on to tell you you're doing a good job, is why I would recommend franchising. You're immediately part of a community.
If you'd like to see the full Elite Franchise Top 100 list, you can view this here: http://elitefranchisemagazine.co.uk/ef100/ef100
If you'd like to know more about Franchising with Musical Moments in 2020, you can find more information here, it may be the best decision that you ever made: https://www.musical-moments.co.uk/franchise