Barry Price, director of Swimtime, has nine reasons why you should become a franchisee
Buying a franchise is one of the most secure routes to owning and running your own business. The benefits far outweigh the disadvantages and as the model is tried and tested it remains a popular choice for 521,000 Brits who took the leap and set up on their own.
However, as with all ventures, there are pros and cons that should be assessed before deciding if franchising is the right route to take.
Variety of opportunities
With 897 franchise businesses in the UK, there is a wide choice - ranging from sport and leisure to business consultancy and training. Simply put, that means that whatever skill set is present can be transferred to the franchise model, often with little training required.
Plus, as it’s frequently more important to possess strong business leadership skills, it is common for people to buy into franchises in an area they feel they can achieve maximum profitability and growth, as opposed to where their specific experience and expertise lies.
Ability to test the water
Many franchises offer discovery days to enable potential franchisees to find out more before they commit. At Swimtime, the UK’s largest swimming lesson franchise, this method is valued and viewed as a two-way process.
Linda Price, owner of Swimtime, says: “We use discovery days to provide an insight into what Swimtime does and what the opportunities are. They also create a chance for us to meet people to assess their suitability to be franchisees before they make any commitment and so we can offer specific advice and support.”
Best of both worlds
Owning a franchise gives individuals the best of both worlds, as it provides stability as well as independence. With access to a proven business model comes a ready-made formula for success, while there can also be broad scope to make a mark on your chosen sector.
Running a franchise offers flexible working, which is an increasingly attractive and important commodity, most notably for younger generations.
Juggling work and home life takes a lot of skill in order to strike the right balance. Franchising is supportive of this and has been a long-term supporter of alternative working patterns that aren’t constrained by the traditional, and somewhat outdated, nine-to-five model.
Starting a new business from scratch is not only mentally demanding, but can be financially draining too. The benefits of joining an established model ring true when you consider that, according to American business magazine Forbes, up to 80 per cent of new businesses fail within the first five years.
Franchises offer a well written set of guidelines to enable franchisees to follow all systems, procedures and policies. At Swimtime, this is backed up by a comprehensive initial training programme, an online operations manual, ongoing management support from central office, site acquisition support, group franchisee meetings and annual individual franchise review meetings.
Access to knowledge
Having a ready-made list of contacts is priceless when starting a new venture. With years of experience and know-how comes connections and that’s where buying a franchise comes into its own.
Franchisors work hard to forge strong links with relevant suppliers and associations, so that their franchisees can reap the rewards.
Brand awareness and market share are also integral factors that make franchising an attractive prospect for would-be business owners. With a known company comes trust and understanding, which makes the marketing process unequivocally smoother.
Customers - both corporate and consumer - are more inclined to buy from trusted sources, so this goes a long way towards generating trust to quickly build a client base and, ultimately, revenue.
The earning potential associated with franchising is varied and, as with all businesses, reliant on the effort that’s put in to it. Being on the front line and nurturing your own business is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but following your heart instead of your head could mean your profits take a severe blow.
Franchisors provide guidance every step of the way and are focused on ensuring financially sound decisions are being made. On joining, franchisees are provided with a full support pack informing them of a wealth of benefits they’ll be granted access to, from marketing to profitability advice.
Remember, as a franchise owner, you’ll be captaining the ship, so having your own idea of what financial success means is vital to your business’ ongoing accomplishments.
With the safety net of a franchise business can come restraints where creative freedom is concerned. Owners should take the rough with the smooth and understand that, while most models do offer flexibility, it often goes hand in hand with a tight knit and well planned structure that should be adhered to in order to achieve the most successful outcomes.
As with any new business, potential franchisees should undertake due diligence into the sector and model of the specific franchise that appeals to them before making any firm decisions.
The best franchisors will be glad to provide guidance throughout the process, so the advice is to take time to weigh up the pros and cons to avoid a leap into the unknown.