First time poster on these new forums..... was on the old forums sporatically for a number of years..... so glad to see the community still so strong!! Anyway, I've reached a point in my career that the next steps are cross-skilling with the aim to eventually land GM roles.... or go left field and start a business. I think i've had my fair share of working to make someone else money.... So I'm looking at starting a retail business. I've worked pretty much my entire adult life in the retail industry, moving from pleb to store manager to purchasing to product development to senior product management/merchandising... and now in a national purchasing/product marketing role. I am looking at a franchise model that is a bit unique - it's a member-based franchise group, where the franshisor is an unlisted public company owned by all the Members (franchisees). The entire structure is all about driving making profit to the member/franchisee... no big corporate or individual owner making money selling franchises. There is no big up-front "franchise fee", only an ongoing FIXED monthly franchise fee (about $1200/mth)..... however the start up costs are big, as you could almost consider it big box retail ($400k-500k in stock to start with!), but the potential to earn is pretty good. The average turnover in this group is $1.8million with a GP of 41%..... which includes a decent proportion of stores in regional locations (which reduces the avg turnover figures). There are a handful of stores with turnover >$3 million (similar GP%). I wanted to see if people here have had much experience in running a big-box type of retail business, or any retail business.... and experience with retail franchises. I am keen to hear feedback, personal experiences, advice or anything really!! I've never run my own business before, so it's a bit daunting but also the concept is really starting to excite me. I've been researching in the background for at least 6 months now, learning what works and doesnt work in the particular industry, understanding ongoing operating costs, understanding cashflow management, and generally getting a "feel" for what life would be like as an owner of this type of business. I would be looking at doing this with a business partner, a long time friend and fellow property investor - we both have very similar mindsets around investment and business. I dont think i could do it on my own due to the initial capital required, and also i dont want to end up working 80 hour weeks on my own..... the thoughts are that with a business partner we can share the burden..... and we have a common goal to open a 2nd store within 5 years, and a 3rd within 10 (sooner if we can manage!!!) The curve ball is that i currently work for this group though!! Which means i havent been able to talk to too many store owners candidly, so I've been keeping this all inside for quite some time! Im getting pretty close to opening up about my desire to open a store.... but i want to be absolutely certain im going down that path before opening the can of worms.