What the British Franchise Association can do for you
The British Franchise Association (BFA) evolved from the franchise industry itself in 1977 as the only self-regulating, voluntary accreditation body for franchising in the UK. Its remit is to develop and continuously improve the standards of good practice in franchising, and to accredit franchisors who meet these standards. Many organisations say they are ‘franchisors’ – not all are, and not all are accredited by the BFA.
The BFA accredits franchise companies for membership on the basis of a strict standards structure, which includes the company’s financial position, day-to-day business activity, disclosures made to prospective franchisees and the terms of the franchise agreement.
These standards are based on the European Code of Ethics for franchising – agreed by the European Franchise Federation (EFF) member associations in 1990 – and recognised by the European Commission. Companies are reaccredited for BFA Membership on a triennial basis.
However, it is important to note that the BFA’s detailed checks concern the company’s fitness to franchise, rather than the suitability of, and prospects for, a particular product or service for a particular market.
Alongside the BFA’s reputation for high franchising standards, which in turn works to enhance the image of its members and their businesses, the BFA offers many services and benefits to support members and provides help for prospective franchisees and franchisors.
UK & Europe
As part of the EFF, the BFA is able to lobby the European government as well as the UK government on behalf of its members. The BFA is ensuring its members’ voices are heard and their interests are protected from unwanted legislation in the UK and Europe.
The BFA assists members to recruit good quality franchisees. It provides many marketing platforms including the BFA website, which provides a direct link to its members for prospective franchisees who are shopping for franchisors online.
The BFA’s prospective franchisee and franchisor one-day seminars tackle how to approach franchising confidently, how to use franchising to grow a business and the relationship between franchisors and franchisees.
Prospective franchisees can assess whether franchising is right for them, prioritise franchise opportunities and understand the franchisor’s requirements and assessment criteria, while prospective franchisors receive help in understanding the necessary skills and business culture required for a successful franchise operation and the next step in developing their business as a franchise network.
The BFA also produces independent franchisee and franchisor guides, sponsored by Lloyds TSB. Approximately 40 per cent of all new franchisees purchase the BFA’s Franchisee Guide prior to making their decision.
Restricted to BFA members or genuine business format franchise opportunities that have been accredited by the BFA for exhibition purposes, there are four BFAendorsed exhibitions each year. Members receive automatic discounted entry to these exhibitions and discounted advertising and other costs.
Training & communications
All members have access to accredited advisers and experience is shared at the annual conference and regional meetings, held in five areas three times a year. The BFA also produces newsletters for members and website subscribers containing franchise news and BFA activity.
The BFA has committed to two initiatives – National and Scottish Franchise Weeks – to increase knowledge of franchising. These events are run in the weeks preceding the Birmingham and Glasgow exhibitions each year. They highlight the franchising concept as one of the safest methods of starting your own business and the security of having a tried-and-tested business formula and support behind you.
Ultimately, BFA membership is a benchmark of quality, providing public recognition as well as evidence that the company is truly established and offers a fair and ethical franchise opportunity.