The franchise industry is brimming with successful brands that have found a particular niche in this not so niche market, Suzie McCafferty says
Fancy a quick game of guess who? Here we go: there are nearly 11 million of them, which is about 17 per cent of the UK population. They love many of the world’s biggest franchise brands. They have an almost insatiable appetite for new products, services and experiences. They often have multiple income streams - mum, dad, grandma - yet no personal financial responsibilities.
You’ve guessed it. It’s children. The under-14s to be specific and they represent an entire sector of franchising all by themselves.
Those of us responsible for these diminutive ‘uber’ consumers are under constant pressure to provide them with more: more afterschool clubs, more weekend activities, more educational holidays and a greater variety of sporting pursuits. Do they think we’re made of money?
Truth be told, figures suggest we regularly bow to their demands as if we are.
The franchise industry is brimming with incredibly successful brands that have found a particular niche in this not so niche market. Swimming, what’s on magazines, drama, dance, tuition, soft play, martial arts, parties and pretty much any sport you care to think of.
Outside of the sports-based models, a majority of the franchisees seem to be women. However, of the brands we deal with, there is no particular ‘type’. We see plenty of men and women in the ‘just graduated’ bracket, the ‘made redundant in my 30s’ bracket and the ‘what am I doing with my life’ 40s bracket, right up to the early retirees who aren’t ready to put their feet up, all doing extremely well having invested in a variety of children’s sector franchises.
If you’re thinking you might be too old to be running around blowing a whistle or jumping about a stage in Lycra, fear not - many of the models are very much management franchises.
Far from having to lead from the front in an unflattering outfit, some systems actually preclude the franchisee from taking part in teaching/hosting the activity themselves, preferring instead that you run the business and employ skilled practitioners to walk the walk and talk the talk.
Razzamataz Theatre Schools is a good example of this. Yes, many of its franchisees are ex-performers who are still more than capable of a backflip or belting out a Beyoncé number, but many aren’t and never have been. The main skills required are sales, marketing, administration and relationship building.
So if you’re considering making the leap into self-employment via franchising, you should certainly add this thriving sector to your research list.
Many will be extremely profitable for the right franchisee and you can’t discount the feel-good factor of providing a quality service to the local young people of your area, not to mention the legion of grateful parents and carers trying to fill their dependants time more productively and enjoyably.
Suzie McCafferty founded Platinum Wave in 2010, after gaining more than 10 years’ experience in the engine room of franchising, first as a franchisor who built her own retail brand from a single store to a network of over 60 outlets in six countries, then as the franchise director and board member of a multimillion pound division of a recruitment plc.
She is the chairperson of the British Franchise Association’s Scottish regional forum.
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