Richard Pakey reveals how the UK’s buoyant franchise industry is providing brilliant opportunities for budding entrepreneurs looking for a career change in 2022
As the old saying goes, there’s no time like the present. Never was there a truer word spoken in the world of franchising right now. If you’re committed to changing your life for the better in 2022, you’d do well to act now and start getting your plans off the ground.
The franchising scene in the UK is currently seeing incredible growth, despite the fact that there are only around 1,000 franchised systems currently available. This might sound like quite a lot, but actually, per capita, it’s only around a fifth of other developed countries. This situation works to your advantage as a prospective franchisee, making it easier to find a business model that really works for you.
And with more and more franchisors joining the fold, the choice is expanding, making it easier than ever to find a franchise to suit you.
Where to start?
As a potential franchisee, start by deciding what type of franchise genuinely interests you. It might be a business in the food and beverage sector, a white- or blue-collar franchise, or even an ownership that’s completely hands off.
Identify a dozen or so franchises that fit your criteria and submit requests for further information.
You might find early on that the deal is not what you initially thought. That’s OK – it’s why you’re doing this research now. If you try and look at too many businesses all at once, you might get lost in the mass of information and follow-up phone calls.
One thing’s for sure, this is one race where the slow and steady approach always wins.
Franchisors want your engagement
This might sound crazy, but most franchisors will be keen to respond to your enquiry to showcase their brand. This part of the process is rarely a one-way street – they’ll be fielding responses from literally anyone who cares to make an enquiry, and that includes you!
Franchisors spend vast amounts on advertising and marketing campaigns designed to grab your attention. Your enquiry could be the difference of a successful promotion or an unfruitful spend, so putting your hand up to receive further information is a significant signal for the franchise owners.
Always look to develop a relationship from the point of making your initial enquiry. It’s fair to say that every brand (franchisor) is looking to see if you’re the perfect fit for their business, and vice versa, so keeping a dialogue going will work wonders for you. You might even find the franchisor becomes more adaptive as they start to understand your needs and wants. This conversation could well be one of the best investments in time you’ll ever make.
Don’t set blocks
A franchisor can train and mentor you with everything that you need to know to run a franchise successfully, so a current lack of knowledge or experience needn’t be an impenetrable wall. They will have developed a system that works, so remember, all you have to do as the incoming franchisee is put the system into action. This, in theory, means that you should be able to choose from virtually everything that appeals to you. Inexperience in your chosen field won’t necessarily exclude you.
Show franchisors that you have a genuine desire to learn about the brand, be trained up and, above all else, demonstrate your desire to be successful. They want to see evidence of your appetite to represent their brand in a positive way and this will put you head and shoulders above other enquirers who lack real ambition – not a great way to start!
Funding is easier than you think
You might think that coming up with the funds for your franchise is one of the biggest barriers to owning a business, but you probably couldn’t be further from the truth right now.
With interest rates set at a historic low, obtaining bank funding is realistic for many. Add to this government initiatives such as start-up loans, and even grants and assistance from the franchised brands themselves, and you’ll see why this is one of the best times in history to buy that franchise you’ve always wanted.
Further support on how to fund a franchise can be found online, or via the franchise brands you are looking at, so please ask them to provide information on how they can help you.
Stand up and be counted
Don’t miss this perfect opportunity to make a positive impression to franchise owners or representatives. Remember, the franchisor may be having conversations with multiple potential franchisees, so you need to show them why they should consider you above others. If you have a genuine interest in their business model, get on the phone or face to face as quickly as possible and follow up smartly with background information on yourself, demonstrating and highlighting your personal skills and ambitions. None of this time will be wasted in your hunt for your perfect franchise.
If all else fails, get some expert advice – there are plenty of franchise consultants out there to help you. Most are paid by the franchisors, so it will cost you nothing to engage with them.
Richard Pakey is a franchising expert and managing director of the award-winning Lime Licensing Group (limelicensinggroup. co.uk). Email richard@limelicensing group.co.uk