With record growth noted in several areas by the recent 2018 bfa NatWest survey, there’s rarely been a better time to take the plunge and invest in a franchise
Although Britain’s economy faces truly ambiguous times with Brexit just over a month away, it clearly hasn’t fazed the franchise industry. In the British Franchise Association’s (bfa) and NatWest’s 2018 Franchise Landscape Report, for example, its contribution to the economy is now estimated to be more than £17bn – up £2bn since the previous report in 2015. That also means over 700,000 people are now employed in 48,588 franchise units across the UK, with more than half working full-time in the sector.
What’s more, in 2018 93% of franchises claimed profitability and six in ten reported turnovers of more than £250,000. And while around half of non-franchised startups fail within their first five years, franchised businesses come with their own built-in support networks, equating to a failure rate of less than 1% each year.
The success isn’t just limited to one or two sectors either. From personal services such as cleaning and gardening through to property services, children’s entertainment, beauty, hotels and restaurants, this is widespread. And it’s all thanks to the accessibility of franchising.
For one, the bfa’s report found the model’s increasingly appealing to millennials and women, with 18% of all franchisees being aged under 30 and 37% of new franchisees in 2018 being women – a 20% rise since 2015. One example of a woman recently becoming her own boss as a franchisee is Raji Kaur Garawal, who decided to invest in ActionCOACH, the business coaching franchise, following a visit to one of the bfa-supported franchise exhibitions. “One of the biggest differences is that I am in total control of my work diary – it’s amazing,” she says. Before then, Garawal enjoyed a successful career with a global vehicle rental company and even held a senior role at their UK head office before deciding it was time to take control of her life. “I can manage my work hours around school assemblies, swimming galas and all my son’s football training,” she explains. “I’m completely autonomous over my own time. The flexibility that being my own boss offers me is invaluable. Life is good.”
Cousins Jennie Baldrick and Lisa Cable were also inspired to set up a franchise following their grandmother becoming diagnosed with dementia. After attending The British & International Franchise Exhibition in January 2017 they chose Radfield Home Care and since then, have won a Judges Award at the Thames Gateway Business Awards in recognition of their contribution to the community. “The franchise model has helped us launch a business in the fastest time possible and has provided the training and marketing tools to facilitate us achieving our personal and business targets,” Baldrick says. “While the awards are recognition of our business success, the feedback that matters the most to us is that of our care team and our clients. [It’s] touching to read reviews [and] know you’ve made a positive difference to the client and to their family. There’s honestly nothing more rewarding than knowing we’re delivering the compassionate and professional care that we’re striving for.”
The wide array of franchises available like these means there’s truly a business out there that suits all backgrounds, ambitions and circumstances. Some can be run from home – almost four in ten – others from a vehicle and others again from a shop, restaurant or other business premises. You can also take on a franchise that fits around family or other commitments, even another job. Dinusha Ileperuma, for instance, was able to run an Anytime Fitness franchise with a business partner while continuing his work as a freelance software consultant, with plans to manage the gyms full-time as they take on more units.
For Henrik Jespersen, leaving his job in the hotel industry run a Really Awesome Coffee franchise led to him feeling happier and healthier. “I am really pleased with how things are going,” he says. “I’ve got the support of head office but am running my own business. I enjoyed my previous career but this is a breath of fresh air. There just isn’t the stress l used to encounter in my job and I feel far healthier. Though I’m tired physically because I am out and about, I am far less mentally tired. Doing something you’ve chosen to do, you enjoy doing and have autonomy over really is a positive experience.”
Clearly, the flexibility and spectrum of options franchising brings sees it thrive in a time where businesses crave security.This article comes courtesy of The National Franchise Exhibition, taking place on February 15 and 16 at the NEC, Birmingham