Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchise Association, explains why the future of franchising is bright and how it continues to grow
At the bfa we believe 2018 was a decent year in general. Even the English football team had a solid run and Marks & Spencer’s couldn't make enough waistcoats.
While we may still argue about whether it’s ‘Yanny or Laurel’, when we look at the fantastic year franchising has had, there is no disagreement. If you’re still in doubt, look no further than the eagerly-anticipated 2018 bfa NatWest Franchise Survey.
The stats show franchising continues to grow more than ever, with the industry generating a turnover of £17.2bn in 2018, up £2.1bn since 2015. There has also been an increase of 89,000 people employed in franchising, seeing the total people employed in the sector reach a new high at 710,000.
The figures have also shown regional development across Britain, with only Scotland displaying a slight decrease. I see this as a fantastic opportunity in 2019 to bring the success of franchising to Scotland and seek out some Scottish entrepreneurs.
The 2019 Scottish Franchise Week will be the perfect opportunity for the bfa to find Scots looking to take charge of their life and career and be a part of a thriving industry.
Regions that have particularly benefitted are Wales, with an 18% increase in net contribution to the local economy, as well as East Midlands and Yorkshire that jumped by 14% and 11% respectively.
The diversity of franchising
2018 has seen the most diverse year for franchising yet, with 27% of new franchisees over the past two years being under 30 and 18% of all franchisees being under that age. To see young people taking steps to fulfil their entrepreneurial ambitions that otherwise may have been difficult to achieve in the wider business world is wonderful.
Along with under 30s there has been a massive increase in female franchisees, with 37% of new franchisees being women – up 20% since 2015. I'm very proud to be part of such a diverse and welcoming community. Inclusion brings with it innovation, fresh ideas and modernisation. As someone who has been in franchising for 20 years, the evolution of this industry has been nothing short of staggering.
Franchising is an industry suitable for anyone and everyone who wants to work for themselves but not by themselves. Business ownership can be a long and difficult road but, with franchising, you'll be able to own and operate your own business under an established brand name. Not only does the franchisor support you but they will have a network of franchisees who will be more than happy to welcome someone to the franchise family and lend a supportive ear when needed.
So what I’m saying is: franchising in 2019 looks very bright indeed.