Wondering What To Do After Redundancy? How About Starting Your Own Business…
Each month brings more news of major job losses in companies across the country – from Ford and BT to retail giants House of Fraser and Debenhams.
Being made redundant can be one of the most devastating experiences anyone can go through and we have every sympathy with anyone facing this difficult situation.
But although it can be tough when you are facing redundancy, sometimes having to stop and think about your future can give you an opportunity to consider different options and new career paths.
According to government figures over 15% of the population are now self-employed and the most common age to take this path is around 45-54. Many people choosing to start their own business will have previously worked in large companies, bringing with them a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Using redundancy as a springboard to start your own business can bring the opportunity to become your own boss, to enjoy a new sense of purpose, control and security and the chance to enjoy learning new skills.
The majority of traditional employed roles will also have a salary cap but running your own business lifts this, putting the power to grow your income directly in your own hands.
For some, this can be an exciting but daunting prospect which is why more and more people are looking at franchising as a great way to be their own boss with the security and support of an established brand and business.
Julie Dunne had a 20-year career in the building industry, working with mechanical consultants, architects, house builders and local authorities. As the recession impacted on the construction industry, Julie was made redundant twice and used her redundancy payment to buy her Bright & Beautiful housekeeping franchise in 2016.
Julie said: “Whilst being made redundant was a shock, I knew that I had the necessary skills to run my own business and immediately began to research which franchise opportunities appealed to and would work for me. Having gone through redundancy twice because of the recession, certain factors were important to me such as the simplicity of the business model, the fact that it was a growing market and recession proof. Having run my franchise now for two years the things I’d say I enjoy the most, compared to working for a large company, are being the decision maker and really feeling that I am making a difference, providing ethical local employment for my team.”
Having worked in advertising and marketing all her working life, Helen Ross bought her franchise in 2017 after being made redundant from her role as Head of Marketing for a software consultancy.
Helen says: “I’d been having itchy feet for a while and knew that I wanted to be my own boss in one way or another, so I could have the flexibility to look after my young children. When I was made redundant I knew that I didn’t want to become a marketing consultant as there was a lot of competition in my area at the time, so I looked into franchises as I thought it was a way to become my own boss, run a business but have the support of a larger company and a proven business model – I prefer to take calculated risks!
“Although I had had no experience in cleaning, other than my own home, I did have a number of the skill sets needed to run such a business and that’s something I’d definitely advise other people in my position; look at your wider experience and not necessarily just in a sector that you’re familiar with.
“Looking back, being made redundant really did open my eyes to the wider opportunities that are out there and was the spur I needed to try something completely different.”
In the past year we have also seen a significant upturn in enquiries from professionals working within the retail sector and are about to confirm four new franchise owners from the retail sector launching new territories across the UK.
One of these is David Harrison who, having left school at 16, has spent his entire career in retail. David held a number of senior positions in the industry including retail director at Dunelm, retail director at TJ Hughes, district manager at TK Maxx and most recently as senior manager at Marks and Spencer. David says: “After working my way up to achieve some very senior positions including directorship, my last position at M&S has given me a real insight into what high standards can be achieved by recruiting the right people and giving them the right training, motivation and inspiration to do things well.”
Having spoken to Julie, Helen and David and many other people who chose to start their own business after redundancy, we’ve chosen our top three bits of advice for those considering this path.
- Find your fit
Instead of taking the obvious route of looking for another job doing what you have always done, consider redundancy as a catalyst for change. Seriously evaluate your skills and experience and do some research to find out what kind of business might be suited to your long-term goals, skills and experience. An established franchise system can be learnt so a change of industry may not be as big a challenge as you might imagine.
- Be realistic
You aren’t buying a job; you are building a business. It’s important not to fall into the trap of feeling that running a business is easier than having a job. It isn’t; but it can present a better opportunity to achieve your goals and desired income.
- Be brave
Very few people would choose to be made redundant, but it really can be an opportunity to look again at your work/ life balance and the direction that your life is going in.