2017: the year of going global for franchises

Whether you're expanding beyond British shores or bringing an overseas franchise to the UK, the international opportunity is too big to pass up on

2017: the year of going global for franchises

Many entrepreneurs choose franchising as their model when they’re ready to expand. The structure, whereby local business owners can benefit from economies of scale as well as access a proven system, support and branding, is very appealing.”

In the UK, a number of successful brands from abroad have established themselves here through franchising, such as Home Instead Senior Care and McDonald’s, along with countless other familiar names on the high street. These businesses are boosting the British economy and creating jobs. Similarly, a lot of British companies like VIP Bin Cleaning and Water Babies” chosen a franchising model when expanding into foreign markets. Even companies like Marks & Spencer that don’t franchise at home use franchising model when venturing into overseas territories.

When you’re exploring the possibility of taking on an international franchise, you need to do thorough research on the company. If it’s only recently entered the UK market, this step is even more important.

Communication with the franchisor and head office is key, so if you’re dealing with an overseas franchise you need to know if your point of contact will be based in the UK or abroad. This is important because if you’re dealing with a head-office contact in another country, you need to have a good understanding of how they might be able to support you on a local level, as well as how easy it will be to meet with and support them before – and after – buying the franchise.

It’s also worth looking into whether there could be any language barriers that might make collaboration harder. On a broader level, you should check that the overseas franchise team understands the UK market in terms of its culture, laws and demand patterns.

You may find that you have an opportunity to look at becoming a master franchisee, which means you’ll be acting as a franchisor for a defined area. Some master franchisee contracts can even cover the entire country. Again you’ll need to fully understand the commitments, structure, timescales and costs involved.

Finally, if a franchise hasn’t got any presence in the UK yet then you should look into their reputation abroad and whether they’re an accredited member of the official franchise association in their home country.

Ultimately, there’s a huge number of opportunities to bring an overseas franchise to the UK or use franchising to make your mark in another country. So here’s to a year of global growth for franchising.

Pip Wilkins
Pip Wilkins