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Start-up Story: Franchise Development Services

Substantial foundations have been laid in the United Kingdom during the last 30 years upon which franchising is now likely to build into one of the most exciting and successful ways of either expanding a business or owning and operating a business. Ironically, franchising has benefited a number of ways during the recession by shaking out brands that did not have the financial and management strengths to succeed and others that wrongly turned to franchising to help them survive.

Subsequently more than 200 brands decided that they would not pursue their ambition to expand by franchising since they recognised that the prospective franchise owner market was sufficiently educated to recognise that what they were offering was not a Genuine Business Format Franchise but an attempt at surviving the recession by offering something that looked like a franchise but on checking out did notreach the basic criteria.

The basic criteria should always be based on the fact that the franchisor, the company offering the franchise opportunity, has proven beyond all doubt that they have piloted and proven the business that they are offering to prospective franchise owner investors. They then need to have all of the 21 elements in place that go to making up a Genuine Business Format Franchise. The first of these is that they need to own the intellectual property rights to their brand name, logo and systems and have secured these intellectual property rights through a registered trademark and/or service marks. Then and only then are they in alegal position to offer to prospective franchise owners the right to trade under their brand name.

Since 1981, the year that Franchise Development Services publishers of The Franchise Magazine was established the number of brands adopting a franchise development expansionstrategy has increased. There has never been a year when the number of new brands entering franchising has decreased and that is taking away each year the number of franchise brands that were discontinued, so there has always beenthis net growth. Looking more closely at recent figures during the last 2 years the growth of franchising has been a remarkable 30%. With some sectors the idea of expansion by franchising is absolutely perfect for both parties. Where you have a business that can benefit from having a national network of truly committed individuals to own, operate and develop your brand to its full potential, then that dovetails perfectly towards making that business ideal.

We continually read information from the office for national statistics reporting that the UK economy is losing over 200,000 jobs a year and franchising on the other hand is not only increasing the number companies that are being franchised but the number of new businesses being started and an ever growing number of people now being employed in franchise locations. The facts are that there are now 1,500 companies that are offering a franchise as we start 2014 and they in turn have an average of 75 locations trading making a grand total of over 112,500 franchise owned businesses around the UK. Some brands like Subway have around 1,750 locations in the UK alone (and over 40,000 worldwide!). With an average of 12 people being employed in a franchise location that equals over 1 million people employed today in UK franchising. Astonishing figures and most importantly these will continue to grow as we move into the future year by year.

Altogether there are over 120,000 people registered with FDS who are today seeking to own and operate a franchise. This number will also continue to increase as the desire from individuals to own and operate their own business is given further consideration and the ease at which people can access the internet and simply type in words such as UK Franchise Opportunities and read publications like The Franchise Magazine in its printed, online, digital and App formats is making the research so mucheasier. Organisations like the Job Centres and redundancy advisors are now making recommendations that people should be considering the benefits of owning and operating a franchise. Students are being taught in university that they should look at the idea of investing in a franchise when they graduate! Then we have those people that are being made redundant and frequently with a substantial amount of money being paid to them that can easily help make decisions about the most appropriate franchise that they can choose to secure for their future and forget about the idea of ever being made redundant again. They will also be able to examine all of the franchise opportunities that are available for them to invest their time, effort and money into rather than work in an environment where they are not 100% happy. One of the many joys of owning and operating a franchise is that you are choosing a business where you have genuine enthusiasm and that it can fit around your lifestyle and not working away in an unpleasant environment. Franchising generally provides you with an opportunity, to have fun, enjoy your life and do what you really wish to do.

However, as a prospective franchise owner you must be extremely careful and recognise the fact that not every opportunity on the franchise market is capable of delivering what they proclaim. Hence the need for careful evaluation over a reasonable period oftime before you make that buying decision.

You are encouraged to take your time, visit various websites, read publications like The Franchise Magazine and The UK Franchise Directory and visit franchise exhibitions so that you really understand everything that is on the market and could be considered. You then need to match your available capital, skills and ambitions to shortlist the brands that are going to help you live with the business of your dreams. Throughout The Franchise Magazine you will read many case studies of people like yourself who decided that it is worthwhile investigating the idea of owning and operating a franchise. This publication has already assisted more than 10,000 people to make that decision so hopefully you will be able to learn a great deal just by studying these pages.

Remember that when you find your ideal franchise you will also have security. Provided that you have a proven business model and the other franchise owners in the system are confirming to you that the franchise is living up to their expectations then you know that you are heading in the right direction. Remember also that not everybody that invests in a franchise is willing to follow the rules and regulations and really commit themselves to the hard work that is necessary in any business. These franchise owners always exist where the franchisor has not either taken out the necessary due diligence before awarding the franchise or the franchise owner has decided to “bend the rules”. Subsequently they are no longer good examples of a successful franchise owner and the franchisor mayhave good reason to suggest to you that they are not the ideal people to talk with. However they should be open and honest enough to declare that such people do exist in their network. Other figures that come to FDS from various sources such as the number of businesses that have started up on their own without the benefit of a franchise brand behind them have an astonishing 80% failure rate over a ten year period! Would you ever want to consider starting a business on your own and know that year after year such high failure rates are normal! In franchising the Annual bfa NatWest Survey has continually reported that Genuine Business Format Franchises have an astonishing 90% plus success year after year. Hence the recommendations made earlier that you must take your time to identify the genuine brands that are worthy of your consideration. You must also accept the fact that in order for a franchisor to genuinely help you to succeed and learn everything that you need to know about owning and operating their business, will cost you a substantial amount of money in relation to initial and ongoing training and that it will probably take up to one full year before you really understand the best way to develop the business to its full potential. You are therefore unlikely to find very many genuine business franchise opportunities for less than £25,000.

There may be a few exceptions but there are only a few and the high rate of failure in the world of franchising occurs with those investments that are under £25,000. Those that are less than £10,000 obviously have the highest failure rate.

Also try to spot winners! In the same way that the horses of a race are paraded for you to look at and compare their form in relation to previous outings, you can do the same with the franchise brands that you are looking at. Some opportunities will appear to be too good to be true. They are!

Never give the franchisor benefit of doubt. Should you have doubt, find another franchise brand where you have no doubts whatsoever. They do exist. You need to have a substantial amount of confidence when you are initially reading about a franchise opportunity,then be impressed with the way in which the franchisor answers the telephone. Should the number that you are calling not be answered professionally, callanother company! Likewise should your call be intercepted by a telephone answering machine, again put the phone down and find a company where the reception knows exactly how to handle your call in a proficient manner. Either providing you with the information that you need or putting you through to a person who is responsible for helping their company to seek new franchise owners. So whether you are seeking to own and operate a job franchise, such as delivering milk on to your neighbours doorsteps, driving a vehicle which ineffect becomes your business since there are now over 100 vehicle based franchise opportunities covering various services in the motor sector, home and garden needs, as well as mobile show rooms like Snap on Tools and Mac Tools then there great sales and market franchises where you have the total responsibility of managing everything from the moment the customer walks into your location through to the final fitting of the product or service that your brand represents. Then a host of retail franchises from famous and up and coming retail brands like CeX that is featured in this edition, Bo Concept, Northwood Residential Lettings and of course brand new concepts that really do look extremely promising like sasta the new health, fitness and weight loss opportunity and of course we must not forget all of the quality retail brands in a world of fast food such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut and others that are featured in the National Franchise Showcase at the end of this edition of The Franchise Magazine.

The longer a franchisor has been in business the better. Simply because they will have made a number ofmistakes and the lessons that they have learnt will be passed onto you as you invest into their brand, their system and all of their methods of successfully replicating their success. Responsible franchisors are not wishing you to go down a route that is not going to lead to success. Therefore listen very carefully to the presentations that they make to you in relation to their particular method. A good franchise is designed so that you can maximise your turnover by doing the things that work. The franchisor will be earning their money in order to continually provide you with the necessary support with aManagement Services Fee based on the total turnover of your business. Sometimes this may well be a fixed monthly amount but here you need to be very careful since you may be committing to pay a fixed monthly fee for the duration of the franchise contract and you need to be 100% certain that this is working without problems for all of the other franchise owners that are following the system.

Even members of the general public are now recognising the benefits of going into a retail franchise location since they know the quality of the products that will be on sale. For example The Body Shop and brands like Mothercare and Laura Ashley who do not franchise here in the United Kingdom but do franchise internationally. Even brands like Burberry, Tesco, Waitrose and a host of other very famous British brands are now all adopting international franchise development expansion plans. However most of these are awarded to established organisations rather than to individuals to replicate.

So as you begin your journey through 2014 do give very careful consideration as to how you too could consider embracing franchising and benefit not only for yourself but your family and children as your own world of franchising begins to crystallise.Whilst this may be the first article that you have ever read in relation to how franchising could become part of your future, it will certainly not be the last.

Franchise DevelopmentServices has been providing advice and guidance to both individuals and organisations who either wish to own a franchise or franchise their business since 1981. Whatever questions you may have you can always pick up the telephone (and note the way in which the telephone is answered and your enquiry dealt with) and we will be very pleased to provide you with the advice and guidance that you seek.

Alternatively simply drop an email to and we will normally come back to you within 24 hours!

Taking this opportunity to wish you every success as you explore what franchising can mean to you and your future.

Written by Barry Connellan. For more information visit

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