Out of redundancy comes opportunity

Redundancy can be one of the most painful experiences to go through… but it can also be an opportunity.

Redundancy can be one of the most painful experiences we’re ever likely to go through, apart from serious illness, divorce, and bereavement. There we are with all our hopes and dreams embodied in a job, our career plans set in concrete and our LinkedIn profiles polished to perfection, when redundancy hits us broadside with all the subtlety of a juggernaut jumping the lights.  

The retail sector has been hardest hit, and offers to retrain us as ballet dancers – a sector already well-supplied by people who’ve been in tutus since the age of two – is only likely to teach us to walk more elegantly to the JobCentre.  

Redundancy packages often only tide us over for a month or two, and aren’t much comfort for the 819,000 of us who’ve lost our jobs during the pandemic, and the scramble for jobs that become available again won’t be pretty.  

But if we’ve been working in the same organisation for years with a decent pay-off, we have a lot more options.  

Only an independent financial advisor can tell you the best things to do with your redundancy cheque, but you might want to consider the following:  

• Are you still happy to work for someone else?  

• Did your boss appreciate you, nurture your talents, give you the breaks, promote you and pay you what you were worth – or did you feel unappreciated, overlooked, sidelined, passed over and underpaid? 

• Who got the most out of your efforts for the company: you, with your modest pay package and five weeks’ holiday, or the directors, with their company limousines, executive loos, and eye-watering bonuses paid from the profits that you and your ingenuity made for the company?  

• If you came up with a better way of doing things, were you listened-to, ignored, or riled when the company made vast extra profits from it while you received little more than a pat on the head when no-one was looking?  

• If you worked harder, did you get any more money, or just more stressed?  

• And was your boss really cleverer than you, or just luckier to have got there first?  

If, like many of us, you don’t feel your employer was making the most of your talents or rewarding you properly for your work and initiative, the best way to ensure you get a good boss next time is to become your own.  Rule your own roost, call the shots, pander to no-one. And discover that the harder you work, the more money you can make. You could start immediately.

Just tell HMRC you’re self-employed, and you suddenly, officially, are.  But self-employed as what? You could set up a company to use all that experience, do something entirely different that you’ve always wanted to do, or try to emulate the success of a business you’ve always admired.  But be prepared not to make a profit for at least the first two years (most businesses don’t, according to official figures), and watch out for the many, many pitfalls just lying in wait for the unwary.  

You could waste an awful lot of your time – and your money – reinventing wheels that were perfectly good already, getting tied in knots while you’re learning the ropes, and making elementary mistakes that your competitors will enjoy watching you make, remembering how costly those mistakes were when they made them themselves. Or there’s another way.  

Buy into a business that’s already successful. Be part of a brand that everyone’s heard of. And avoid making expensive mistakes because all that’s already been sorted. Some would call it a golden goose, especially at this time of year, but those within that world call it franchising.  

You pay for the rights to open a branch of an already-proven business, agree to run it in the way that’s already been demonstrated to be successful, then get to work to show the world what you can really do when the brakes are off.  As your own boss, you can pick your staff, make your name, expand the business – and once you’ve proven yourself, you may want to open extra franchises in other territories.  

Every business comes with risks, of course, but you’d be reducing yours immeasurably by buying into a business that can demonstrate through its books, its reputation and its track record that it’s viable, profitable, and, in many cases, enviable.  Your due diligence will take care of that, but the opportunities in franchising are as diverse as the world of business itself, from fast-food restaurants to cleaning companies, maths tuition to accountancy, self-storage to alloy wheel refurbishment.  

The one thing they have in common is that the owners are working for themselves, but under the protective and encouraging wing of the founders who have a stake, both financially and reputationally, in your success.  You can be a hands-on, sleeves-rolled-up sort of owner, a manager, or a hands-off investor who puts the right team in place and sits back to enjoy the proceeds. 

You, and the franchisors you talk to, will know what’s right for you. But the chances are that once you’ve been a franchisee, you’ll never want to work for anyone else again.  

If you’d like to know more about what the world of franchising can offer when you’ve been made redundant, drop us a line at info@chantry.email or call us on 020 8017 2115 and we’ll be very glad to help.