Franchising: The Basics

165125803webEver heard the expression about “not reinventing the wheel”? Well, that’s the principle of franchising: why spend a lot of time, effort and money establishing a business when you can buy into one that’s already a proven success? 

From Civvy Street Magazine, February 2014. Words: Paul F. Cockburn

Franchising is when you pay a successful business – the franchisor – to use their name, brand and systems. It’s still your business, but you won’t be working alone; all the best franchisors provide appropriate training and ongoing support to help you succeed.

Don’t worry about a lack of experience either; most franchisors prefer to train franchisees in their own particular procedures, so starting with a clean slate has its advantages. Focus instead on transferable skills the Armed Forces have given you: a willingness to work hard, get a job done and follow systems and procedures set down for you.

While no guarantee of success, plenty of research shows that franchise businesses are six to seven times more likely to survive than those going it alone. Indeed, an incredible 92% of all franchises (including new businesses) said that they’re making a profit, according to the most recent NatWest/bfa survey of the sector (covering 2013).

Revenues have grown 20% during the last five years, compared to a 2.5% contraction of the UK economy as a whole. With turnovers at record levels, franchisees now employ 561,000 people – more than a quarter of a million of whom are working full time.

The biggest growth is in “Personal Services” (which covers everything from garden services and hairdressing to house cleaning and car repairs); that’s seen a 25% increase in franchisors since 2008 (up 9% in the last year).

For more information on the range of franchises and support available, your first port of call should be the British Franchise Association (