Moving to a “high-wage, high-skill” economy in a post-Brexit Britain, through franchising

Most economists are currently predicting a downturn in the UK economy over the coming months as rising energy prices continue to place severe pressure on family budgets.

Moving to a "high-wage

The Bank of England has raised interest rates to curb the sharp rise in inflation, more rate rises are anticipated. The war in Ukraine looks set to continue.

However, against this superficially gloomy picture there are many underlying reasons to be cheerful. Revitalising the economy and transitioning to higher levels of productivity has long been a government cross-party objective. This will produce higher wages and a greater number of job opportunities. Of late, leading politicians have started to articulate this with the mantra, ‘a move to a high-skill, high-wage economy’. In this happy scenario those who are willing to re-train and learn new skills can take pride in the quality of their work and earn a higher salary. One of the best ways to learn a new skill to enhance personal development is to invest in a franchise. 

In pursuit of this drive for retraining, the government has indicated that it will introduce new initiatives to build on the work already done by the National Careers Service, My World of Work in Scotland, Careers Wales and Careers Service Northern Ireland. Many local authorities already offer business start-up grants to assist retraining and personal development. In almost all cases this help is available to facilitate the investment into a franchise.

Also on the positive side, is the underlying robust state of the post-Brexit UK goods and services sector in which many franchised businesses operate. House prices continue to rise, albeit at a somewhat slower rate. This works wonders for the morale of those who see their equity value increase, tax free, every year. Another important factor is that the personal cash balances of UK residents remain at a near record level, after spending was reduced during the lockdowns. Even more recently, many have abandoned the lure of a foreign holiday because of travel disruption. That cash remains unspent.

Against this economic backdrop the UK franchising industry is going from strength to strength. It now contributes over £15bn to the UK economy, having grown by over 50% in the last ten years. It currently provides safe jobs for nearly 650,000 people. It offers training and personal advancement for those who choose to become self-employed by becoming a franchisee.

There are many areas of the economy where the outlook is particularly favourable. The demand for anything to do with home improvements is likely to remain strong. The recent heatwave will be certain to stimulate the blinds and shutters industry and home insulation. A report just in from a supplier of office water coolers indicates that sales are quickly getting back to pre-pandemic levels. This suggests that the move to working from home has not been as strong or as permanent as anticipated. This must be welcome news for businesses that rely on the spending power of office workers such as coffee shops, hairdressers and florists to name but a few. All these areas offer opportunities where an investment can be made into a franchise.

As the UK trends increasingly towards an ageing population, the care for the elderly industry is set to continue its relentless growth. Over the years this sector has consistently produced award-winning franchises. Many of these still have opportunities available where a modest investment and hard work can produce spectacular rewards. At the top end of the animal care industry vet practices are thriving, some of which offer highly lucrative franchise investment opportunities. For those with less cash available, the home delivery of pet food sector remains busy. This is in no small part due to the added value that nutritional advice from the local franchisee can provide. Many other sectors are buoyant and offer opportunities to invest in a franchise. Becoming one’s own boss has seldom been easier.

For business owners who plan to expand through franchising the advice and guidance needed is easily available from specialist franchise consultants and has never been of a higher quality. For those who wish to enter the market but who do not have an existing business, there are numerous overseas brands that are looking to enter post-Brexit UK by awarding master franchises. The main banks who support the franchise industry are keen to lend. It has hardly ever been easier to become established as a franchisor.

For both franchisors and franchisees, and those who plan to enter the industry, post-Brexit Britain is looking very favourable indeed.

Tony Bowman
Tony Bowman