Ronald McDonald doesn’t manage all of his burger restaurants and neither does Burger King – he sits around in his burger palace counting his money. Many of our familiar high street brands are in fact franchises.
The idea is simple. Take a trusted brand that everyone knows and replicate it ‘cookie cutter’ style. Every burger, every sandwich and every cup of coffee tastes exactly the same anywhere you purchase it in the UK or for the really big brands, around the world.
Rather than go through the blood sweat toil and tears of setting up your own business (or brand) from scratch, franchising enables a new business to hit the ground running with everything that the brand has in spades to hand: appeal, standards and reputation.
Building a business
It’s because of this reason that franchisors (the people that own the business) don’t just let anyone into the fold. It wasn’t always the case that McDonald’s ruled the fast food world. That clown had to build his business brick by brick, Big Mac by Big Mac and although he doesn’t want to have a specifically hands on role any more, he certainly wants to protect the brand.
Franchisors are looking for people with certain attributes and qualities. First among these is a desire to make the franchise succeed. This takes hard work and so franchisors are looking for a track record demonstrating a solid and dependable individual. Specific experience in the trade is useful but it’s not the whole shooting match. Training can overcome a lack of any experience but you can’t train a person to be motivated or conscientious.
Of course the franchisor will also benefit from the initial financial outlay that the new franchisee hands over but it isn’t where the real money is earned. The initial sum will kit-out new premises and get the business on its feet. After that the franchisor/franchisee relationship is more of a partnership than you might think. The franchisor will give the franchisee the benefit of their advice and tips on how to make the business succeed.
Training for success
Part of this will be pre-opening training. Clearly, many Ex-Service Personnel are going to be inexperienced where the nuts and bolts of running a business are concerned. The franchisor may well take the opportunity before the franchise opens to make sure that they are up to speed with how employment law works or what the latest health and safety requirements are. Again, the benefit is repaid in the success of the business and it also avoids the worse case ‘barista at major brand coffee shop injured by rogue milk jug’ headlines. From then on the franchisor will keep in touch with the franchisee to make sure that they have all the resources they need. This is all in their favour since they’ll be taking a profit share, not to mention more visibility and market share for the brand.
The major benefit is simple. Whilst setting up a new business on your own is an option and your redundancy package will give you the capital to go it alone, a look at the facts might make you think differently. The reality is that only 20% of business start-ups in the UK are still operating two years after they open, whereas 80% of franchises are still profitable after the same amount of time.
All of this suggests that franchising could be a brilliant option for the long term. Starting small and with support allows the franchisee to grow with the business until such time that they feel confident enough to discuss new ideas with the franchisor or expand their interests to incorporate more ambitious goals. Franchisors are not dictatorial and will certainly appreciate the fact that nobody has the monopoly on good ideas. The regular reporting process that the franchisee goes through is an excellent exercise in discipline as well as a good opportunity to show your worth and air your views.
Your experience counts
Ex-Service Personnel might at this moment be thinking that franchising has nothing to do with what they’ve been doing for the last twenty years. A closer look suggests that this isn’t the case; Services Personnel bring a wealth of experience in following procedures, decision making, communication and getting the job done under trying circumstances. Go on any management training course and these are the cornerstones that it’ll be based on. The point is that you’ve already accrued many of the key skills through your Forces experience and with a bit of tweaking you could be a very effective operator.
Service Personnel are also renowned as being trustworthy and responsible as well as having integrity and a pride in what they’re doing. Add to that the fact that ex-Services Personnel are traditionally financially stable and on leaving the Forces have a ready redundancy fund to invest its little wonder that franchisors look favourably from applications from this group of people.
Choice isn’t a problem either; whether you fancy becoming a restaurateur, an estate agent or mini mart manager with 800 companies in the UK open to franchise agreements you’re bound to find the right business in the correct sector for you. The key to making the right choice is to reflect on your interests and transferable skills.
Read before you sign
Simple advice includes getting a copy of a job description before you start. Take a careful look and make sure that you’re happy with it and feel confident about fulfilling the requirements. Although it isn’t the exactly the same as a job description for an ordinary job it should give you a good idea of what’s involved.
Once you’ve made a decision, a great starting point is to look up the listings of the British Franchise Association (BFA). There are currently 400 members that you can be sure meet the standards set out by the association in terms of the support that they give to potential franchisees. In other words it’s a safe bet within a safe bet.
Franchising provides a sheltered route into business. The initial investment and hard graft will pay dividends assuming you follow the advice of the franchisor that will doubtless back you all the way.
British Franchise Association
The British Franchise Association (bfa) is the voluntary self regulating governing body for franchising. The UK market encompasses many franchise opportunities and the association will help you to make a more informed choice about which one best suits you. All members have chosen to be vetted against a strict code of business practice – they endeavour to be good franchisors that can deliver the success that you want.
Tel: 01235 820470
The Franchise Development Centre
Whether developing a new franchise business or enhancing your existing franchise system you deserve to give yourself the best chance of success. Our franchise consultants are experienced, professional and have integrity. They are by your side, enjoy taking personal responsibility for projects and will make it happen. Don’t take a chance with your future – let us help you achieve your business and personal goals.
Tel: 01904 561598
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