Starting a business? Heather Hannant, head of franchise development at Mail Boxes Etc, explains how a retail franchise gives you a leg up when it comes to establishing your brand reputation and customer base
Starting a business from scratch can be extremely challenging, as it can involve growing a brand, reputation, customer base and getting customers to visit your store when no-one knows what you do.
Mail Boxes Etc has thrived on local high streets for almost a quarter of a century. So what’s the difference between starting your own business and investing in a proven franchise model in the retail sector?
When you invest in a retail franchise, you immediately become part of an established brand and customer base. When starting from scratch, it can take a huge amount of effort and time to build customer trust and awareness, but when you join a franchised network, the majority of the work has already been done for you.
Here’s why you should invest in a retail franchise, instead of starting from scratch:
A recognised high street brand
In most cases, unless you’re investing in a relatively new franchise, the brand you’re joining will already be widely recognised.
One of the hardest parts of starting a business is building customer awareness and marketing to let people know exactly who you are and what you do. Until your target audience knows this, you will struggle to attract their business.
If you join an established franchise, you can fast track your success. The brand is recognised and may have developed a reputation for the service or product it provides. Undoubtedly, there will still be hard work involved to develop the business, but much of the groundwork in building trust and customer awareness will have been done for you.
Mail Boxes Etc franchisees attract business straight away. With over 160 stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as over 1,600 worldwide, its global reach makes Mail Boxes Etc a widely recognised brand - and it’s still growing.
In the UK, the company has national coverage - from Plymouth to as far reaching as Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.
Location is key
The location of your store is key to attracting the maximum number of customers. The ideal location depends on several factors, including customer demographics, footfall and competition, all of which should be considered when researching where to open your store.
Most retail franchises will assist you in finding the perfect location for your store. Mail Boxes Etc is no different, as it works with you every step of the way to find your ideal location, including helping you to analyse the local market and assess demand for its services.
Mail Boxes Etc offers a fully supported process to assist you with not only location, but legals, training, fit-out and opening as well, giving you the best possible start with your business.
Using the strength of the network, franchisees also benefit from negotiated supplier rates, which not only help towards reduced set-up costs but, more importantly, provide attractive margins on products and services.
Innovation to stay ahead
The great thing about joining a franchise is that the franchisor has already been through the often painful process of setting up a business from scratch, meaning you have access to a ready made business model that could see you trading into a profit much earlier than if you had started on your own.
In addition, the franchisor is on hand to develop the business model on an ongoing basis, adapting to market changes and introducing new products and services - activities that take time and resources an owner of an independent business may not have.
When you join a franchise, you immediately gain access to a team who dedicate their time to making sure the company’s products and services reflect demand and strengthen the brand.