Previously an employee of a global company, Peter Fleming spent a year carefully planning his transition from corporate life to becoming his own boss at Business Doctors Cumbria.
As a recent Business Doctors franchisee, Peter is able to recall his first busy months of franchising and what his previous expectations of becoming his own boss were. Here he reveals how his expectations have compared to the reality of the move from employment to running his own business.
"After 28 years I was ready for a new challenge. I had a good salary and package, but I felt I had to make a choice between security and something more fulfilling. I was ready for a better work-life balance too - at the time I was travelling a lot and spending several nights a week away from home."
Due to the lack of fulfillment within his corporate life Peter started to concentrate on his own wants and needs. "I reviewed my skill set and what I enjoy, with the idea that I'd set up my own business. In all, I spent about a year getting to know myself and exploring the market and industry trends. I started to realise there were franchises offering what I wanted to do, so I researched them and came across Business Doctors, which seemed to fit how I worked and wanted to work; having and using a strategy model."
Following a meeting with Business Doctors co-founders, Matt Levington and Rod Davies, Peter continued his research. Although he was impressed with the franchise opportunity Business Doctors offered Peter did not want to jump straight in. "It was a six month due diligence process. If I was going to leave a secure job, I had to give my fresh start the best chance. It is important to see a franchise in operation, so I attended franchisee events and asked 'can I see myself doing this?'. The answer was yes!
"So I produced two business models, comparing how I would go it alone versus going with a franchise and identified my strengths and my weaknesses, highlighting what I needed to learn. I looked at the Business Doctors offering, the training and support available, proven results and how their business model would enable me to scale up my business. The strength of a brand is important to me too, as it would add weight to my own."
Instincts kicked in and Peter knew Business Doctors culture and philosophy fit with his personality and values. With this in mind, as well as the impressive meeting, plus being able to see himself as a Business Doctor Franchisee, Peter took the first steps to become his own boss.
During the first 6 months of becoming a franchisee, Peter understands that 'trusting your gut' is as important as the research when choosing which franchise is right for you.
"In hindsight, it was right to believe that if you're working for yourself you have to make sure you enjoy what you are doing. The rewards are beyond financial. Now, I have total control. I'm working as many hours as I was in the corporate world, but I'm investing in my brand and my future. My biggest challenge will be slowing down - I'm choosing to work 60-70 hours a week, but on the other hand I've only spend four or five nights away from home in the last six months.
And I was right to do the groundwork too, but I think I did too much. It is a big step to take the plunge and step out of a secure job. But I thought, what's the worst that could happen? I could lose a bit of money and time. It's about knowing what you're getting into, but go with your gut, don't over do the research.
It's going better than I expected. I won contracts early on and I am continuing to build my private clients, plus there is the support from Business Doctors and the other franchisees. Yes, even mentors sometimes need mentoring!"