What does 2014 hold for you?

Made your New Year’s resolution yet? Always seems a strange question, even during December but in truth few of us think far ahead when it comes to planning. But maybe in 2014 you should, because it could be a different proposition all together for you

You see some critical factors are starting to align and 2014 could be great year to get involved in franchising. With the economy starting to pick up many franchises have done well in the last few years. Now we are through the hard times we are starting to see turnover increase to a point where it is now in excess of £13 billion, and growth has significantly outperformed other sectors of the UK economy, in fact it has grown more quickly than many of the emerging market economies. Add to this the fact that a well-run franchised business is less likely to fail in its first year, than a new start up and you can see why many of the banks are happy to support with funding

At The Franchising Centre we are starting to see an increase in companies who for the last few years have been thinking of franchising their business, and now have feel they have the growth to make it worth their while. But we are also seeing more and more people who are looking to start their own business, in other word potential franchisees are also out there as well – are they looking for you?

So for anyone thinking of entering franchising, either as a franchisee or as a franchisor they should be able to do so with a high degree of confidence, so what should you be looking for.

As a business do you have a strong and proven brand, can it be duplicated at different locations – without you needing to be present to deliver the goods or services yourself, can it be trained simply and easily. We hear from several people every month who have a great business idea, but to become a successful franchise you have to have moved beyond the idea phase. You need to have gone out and proved that your business works, that you have a concept and something that will make you stand out from the crowd. Nothing wrong with building your business from the outset with the intention that it will be a franchise further down the road, but you must walk the walk first.

As someone who is looking to buy a franchise then a visit to the British Franchise Associations website to review the 50 Questions you should ask a franchisor before buying any franchise is a good place to start.

These questions fall into 5 categories, relating to:

  • Their Business and trading history
  • What are all the costs?
  • The Methods and Culture of their business
  • How much of your time they will expect
  • How will they communicate and operate with you

There are many reasons why people start their own business, for some it is the freedom – not having a boss to report too every day, for others it is the chance to develop a hobby, interest or skill into a method of earning a living. But whatever your reason you need to know how much it will cost you to get started, and when and how much you are going to earn as a result.

So do your research, visit the websites and make a short list of businesses that should work for you, play to your strengths. Just because you are a plumber, a plumbing business may not be the right choice for you, what perhaps you have are great people skill and a business that takes advantage of these is a better choice for you. Once you have a few ideas, visit a few of the franchise shows, attend some Open or Discovery days, book to have a one to one with the franchisor. Make sure you speak with some of their existing franchisees, and take up references on them, get a copy of their accounts from Companies House – if you cannot read accounts pay your accountant to review them for you

A final through to consider, if you are thinking of becoming self-employed, be that in a franchise or on your own, don’t think it means you are giving up having a boss, you will in fact be getting several, your family will certainly be supportive, but will want to know that you are going to put bread on their table, if you have borrowed money –either from a bank or another source then they will want paying back, and will want to know when. But the hardest boss will be the one who look’s you in the eye every morning when you look in the mirror.

Being self-employed has a good side and a bad side, the good side is that your future is in your hands. The bad side is that your future is in your hands

Hope you get to make the right choice, at least with the right franchise you will be shortening the odds in your favour