Paul Boniface, franchise director at Ableworld, offers some sound advice if you’re considering investing in a franchise and suggests why you should take a close look at the specialist mobility retailer’s own opportunity
Once you’ve decided that franchising is the route you want to take to help you start your own business, the next questions is: which franchise should I consider?
A franchise is best looked at as a medium to long-term investment, say 5-10 years at least. With that in mind, the decision you make is going to impact your lifestyle for a number of years. Understanding why you want to make the move into running your own business is therefore critical to understanding which franchise would be best suited to you.
REASONS FOR STARTING
The reasons for starting your own business are varied, but common among them are a desire to change your current lifestyle, a need to scratch an entrepreneurial itch, to achieve a long-held ambition, to build a decent income and create a valuable asset for you and your family. For many franchisees, it also includes making a meaningful contribution to their communities.
You will also want to consider the challenges you face in making the change and what help your franchisor will provide to help meet those challenges. You will need to complete a business plan and possibly raise finance. Although you will go into the franchise with transferable skills, there will be things you need to learn. So what is the training programme like? How will your franchisor support and develop you and your business?
You will also need to analyse the different territories on offer to find the best one for you. And let’s not forget the big picture. You will want to join a reputable franchise with good prospects for the future.
If you’re considering investing in a retail franchise, one of the rapidly emerging franchises is the specialist mobility retailer, Ableworld. Indeed, the British Franchise Association recognised this with its nomination of Ableworld for the organisation’s Emerging Franchisor of the Year Award in 2014.
The retail mobility market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy. The reasons are not hard to find. The so-called grey pound has never been more evident. There are more people aged over 65 than ever before and people are living longer. Many in this group of people are from the baby boomer generation, who have property and generous pensions.
As the population ages, more people will require the goods and services a mobility retailer like Ableworld offers, including products like mobility scooters, specialist furniture and stairlifts.
Ableworld is the only bfa registered mobility retailer offering a franchise package. Started in 2001 by an experience retailer, who had been involved in two nationwide chains before, Ableworld now has 32 stores, making it the largest mobility retailer in the country.
The management are looking to award six-eight more franchises this year. The company has recently redrawn its franchise territory map, uncovering scores of attractive market opportunities across the UK.
The Ableworld franchise package is comprehensive. Included in the offer is a generous launch programme, plus six weeks’ training and support on all areas of the retail operation, including marketing, merchandising, buying and accounting. Ableworld also gives advice on selecting the right property and helps with lease negotiation.
The management fees are lower than average and ongoing support is excellent, with franchise support managers who have many years’ experience of both retail and franchising visiting every few weeks.
The Ableworld franchise team have contacts with all the major banks active in providing funding for franchises and will help build a business plan to support your application.
In addition to the hard facts, there is also the great sense of job satisfaction franchisees get from helping people in their community, for whom the products make such a difference to their lives.
Among Ableworld’s current franchisees are people with sales backgrounds, from the armed forces, retailing, public service, teaching, automotive industry, construction and engineering - many of them running a business for the first time.
There will never be a better time to enter the retail mobility market and by investing in a franchisee with Ableworld you will be joining the market leader.