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Make 2018 The Year You Own Your Own Business

2018 is the perfect year for a fresh outlook, according to Pip Wilkins, chief executive of the British Franchise Association

It’s that time of year again, when people think about how they can change their lives for the better. Are you considering taking the leap into self-employment through business ownership? If so, the British Franchise Association is here to help you decide whether franchising might be the right route for you.

Many prospective entrepreneurs look to franchising as a way to take charge of their own schedule and reap the rewards of their own hard work. Whatever your reasons for researching franchising, there are opportunities of all shapes and sizes available for you to consider.

Where do I start?

Firstly, it’s important to understand the business format franchising model.

When a franchisor decides to expand its brand nationally or internationally through franchising, it grants a licence to each franchisee to trade under its brand and systems within an agreed premises or geographical territory for a certain period of time.

To enable a previously untrained person to build and grow a business using its systems, the franchisor will provide in-depth initial training and continued support to franchisees.

This means franchisees are often not required to have first hand experience within the sector they are considering, as long as they have the ambition and skills to make a great business owner.

To help explain the model in more detail, the bfa has created a free online course called the Prospect Franchisee Certificate, in association with Lloyds Bank.

This course is modular and features experts from the industry discussing topics from the basics of a franchise operation to points to consider about the franchise agreement. Accessing the course is easy, simply visit the bfa website.

Can I meet people from the industry?

A great place to network and commence your research is a bfa supported franchise exhibition.

The next one in the calendar is The National Franchise Exhibition, which takes place on February 16-17 at the NEC, Birmingham. All brands exhibiting have been accredited by the bfa to prove they’re a viable business format franchise.

Even if you’re unsure whether franchising is the right route for you, there are educational talks throughout the two-day event and bfa accredited professional advisers on hand to answer your questions and offer expert business advice.

What do I need to consider before I invest?

There are a host of resources available on the bfa website to help prospective franchisees carry out their due diligence before paying any money or signing on the dotted line, including 50 questions to ask a franchisor and a directory of professional advisers to provide advice and their services.

A good franchisor will understand this is a significant investment of time and money for you, so should be open and honest to valid enquiries. Just be sure to check it has evidence to prove its financial projections have been met in the past.

Don’t forget to seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in franchising before you sign the legally binding franchise agreement.

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