The franchise industry is a thriving part of the UK job market. According to research published in 2018, franchises have created more than 700,000 jobs and the industry is worth around £17 billion.* But despite this, many people still aren’t sure exactly what franchises are, and what a great opportunity they can provide to anybody wanting to go into business for themselves.
We’re here from virtual agency and nationwide franchise Get Ahead VA to give you the lowdown on franchising.
What is a franchise?
A franchise is a business that is owned and run by a person (the franchisee), but which operates under a larger company (the franchisor). Usually the franchisee will pay a fee which will allow them to use the parent company’s name, branding, marketing materials and business systems. Through franchising, the franchisor company is able to extend its reach around the country (or the globe), and the franchisee is able to run their own business with support from a wider team.
Why is franchising a good idea?
Research into franchises consistently shows that they can be very profitable and they have a lower rate of closure compared to independent businesses.† Still, there are plenty of myths associated with franchises – that the franchisor actually has full control, that the franchisee is essentially an employee, or that the franchise is guaranteed to succeed.
In reality, the franchisor does provide the basic structure and a certain amount of security in the form of an established and successful brand. However, the franchisee is still in charge of the business and is the one making the decisions, deciding the direction and being creative. This means, of course, that the franchisee can’t rest on their laurels. Running a franchise requires hard work and business savvy, just like any other business, and that is what makes it such a rewarding experience.
How do I choose a franchise?
If you’re interested in opening a franchise, there are a number of things you should consider to ensure you make the right choice:
- Finances: Compare franchise fees and be clear about what you can afford.
- The market: Research the market the company is working in and think about whether it is offering something relevant that has staying power and the potential for growth.
- The parent company: Gather all the information you can about the company; ask about profits and losses, the sort of support you will be offered, and talk to other franchisees to find out about their experiences.
- Your skills: Consider your personal strengths, the amount of time you can commit and what you’re interested in. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert in the field the franchise is working in, but you must have good organisational and business development skills, an entrepreneurial flair and a willingness to learn.
We hope we’ve helped to clarify what franchises are all about, and maybe even inspired you to open your own! If you’re interested in learning more about Get Ahead VA’s franchise opportunity, check out our website or get in touch with Rebecca Newenham, our founder, on (01483) 332220.
We will also be exhibiting at the Women in Business Expo in October 2019, so come and find us there and we will be happy to discuss this exciting opportunity with you!