Starting own business is a 24-hour job

Franchises come with a network, but they can also be quite strict.

I AM keen to start a business from home and have a few good ideas but have been putting it off for years as I don't know how to make that first step. I am meticulous but work better to guidelines than from scratch. I am also looking for flexibility as I have a young family. Would a franchise suit me better? What are the pros and cons for franchising as opposed to pursuing my own idea for a business? And if I go down the franchising path, are there mentors to look for to guide me?

Running your own business, be it a franchise or a start-up, takes a massive amount of commitment. I understand you have a young family and are looking for flexibility but the reality of the situation is that starting a business is a 24-hour job. So you need to be ready for that regardless of which way you decide to go.

My first question is, what kind of capital do you have to invest in this business? Starting up is capital-intensive and you need a way to support yourself and your family while the business is in that initial growth phase. Even if you're engaging in a franchise structure, you'll still be required to put your own money in, and it can become quite expensive.

Franchising is a good option if you're looking for a structure where you can be your own boss without having to deal with a lot of the start-up hurdles. Joining a franchise can make it easier to hit the ground running and your best bet would be to look for one that has an induction and training process. Franchises come with the support of a network, but they can also be quite strict in their processes. So you need to be comfortable with giving up some control, as well as some revenue, to be successful in this environment.

No matter what you decide to do, start with a plan, research all possible options and make sure you understand the capital requirements necessary to get off the ground.

I AM a mortgage broker and my company contracts to the bank to sell home loans and related products. I have the chance to purchase an existing loan book but all the major banks are reluctant to lend against this type of security. Are there other ways to finance or invest in this purchase?

The reality of the lending situation today is that the big banks are hesitant to give small businesses a crack. The residential mortgage market is profitable for the banks, so they are concentrating their lending in that market. Because business lending is riskier and more expensive, the banks are pumping funds in home loans and side-stepping small business looking to break into the market.

The hard truth is that you'll probably have to borrow against your home or have the person who's selling you the loan book provide the funding and you can pay it off over time. The loan book will provide you with a database of customers, so if you can get the business off the ground and start making some revenue, it would be a good option to look at vendor funding that you can pay off over time.

Mark Bouris is executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road, a wealth-management company and small business adviser that offers products and services for home loans, financial planning, insurance, superannuation, investments, accounting and tax. His advice here is intended as guidance only. Go to ybr.com.au.

If you have a question for Mark Bouris email it to Max Mason at max.mason@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

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