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How franchising can make life easier for small-business owners

Written by David Glover on Friday, 23 November 2018. Posted in Analysis

No matter what business sector you work in you’ll be facing a massive number of regulations that can make success in your venture a challenge. Fortunately, franchising offers a solution

How franchising can make life easier for small-business owners

Becoming a franchisee can help you get a jump on the competitors who choose to go it alone. And there’s no secret as to why that is.

As a business owner there are so many hoops to jump through. When you first start out, you have to decide if you’re going to register as a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership. Every business owner has to know about the general legislative requirements of running a business such as employment, company and tax laws in order to avoid being chased by HMRC, being taken to a tribunal by staff or paying unnecessary fines or penalties for the late filing of statutory information. 

On top of all this, depending on the type of business you start, you may have to meet industry-specific regulatory standards. For restaurants there’s so much to cover including food safety hygiene and for care, the industry we at Caremark work within, you must meet stringent standards from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

Working with children bring its own set of requirements where you must allow enough time for DBS checks to be processed and, in some cases, open your business to Ofsted inspectors.

Then there are the things you want to keep in line with, rather than those you must. You may want to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, so you choose to gain ISO 14064 to prove your organisation’s carbon footprint. You may want to be seen as the employer of choice, so you join the Living Wage Foundation and adhere to their implementation guide.

But why would you choose to start a business where you have to toe the line on so many external influences? Most businesses start out small, so you have to work harder to compete with larger organisations for your customers. Showing that you’ve met certain standards can inspire confidence and trust in your ability to deliver quality and on time. On top of that, following a set of standard criteria can drive down costs, boost productivity and improve profits. 

In fact, some contracts and supply chains will only award business to those who can show they’ve achieved an acceptable level, like getting a good rating from the CQC or one of the BSI’s ISO certificates.

Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer is an annual trust and credibility survey, measuring trust across a number of institutions, sectors and geographies. It surveys more than 33,000 respondents across 28 countries and this year’s findings reveal a flatline in trust across the institutions of government, business, media and NGOs in the UK. Trust in business fell to 43% whilst the other three institutions saw no change at all. That gives business owners a challenge but also major opportunity to stand out from the crowd. You can take market share by engendering trust in your brand.

It sounds like a lot to do on your own and that’s just scratching the surface. So, it’s no wonder people choose to invest in a franchise rather than go it alone. Following a franchise model means you’ll meet any criteria essential to provide an excellent service and safe products to your customers. A franchisor has been there, done that and got the t-shirt, so to speak. You’ll save a huge amount of time and effort when starting your business because of the franchisor’s experience. 

Standards are set at both UK, country and regional level in some cases, so they can advise on what you need to do for your territory. In care, for instance, the CQC regulates in England, the Care Inspectorate Wales, the Care Inspectorate Scotland and Northern Ireland has the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority. All of them have slightly different processes which we can support our franchisees to follow successfully.

Not only does a franchisor know all the legal requirements for your business but they can also tell you about those extra touches you can make to really impress your customers, retain their business and receive new customer referrals. 

Meeting standards isn’t a one-off activity done just before an inspection – you have to embed these into your business, so you achieve them on a daily basis. And don’t just aim for ‘just good enough’, go for ‘the best’. 

We love it when our franchisees improve their CQC rating from good to outstanding – we know they’re following our model and making the most of every support meeting, development opportunity and creating a great team culture.

Franchising is an excellent way of raising standards in business. The British Franchise Association offers franchisors and franchisees a range of educational seminars throughout the year, all geared to raising standards. And there’s no other industry I’ve come across that’s so willing to share best practice even between competing brands. 

If you’re interested in starting a business in a community like this, franchising should be your first choice. 

About the Author

David Glover

David Glover is Caremark’s managing director and the bfa forum chair for London and the south east region.

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