2023 is set to be a very good year for franchising

Over the years, the first two weeks of January have become synonymous with divorce and job resignations

2023 is set to be a very good year for franchising

Over the years, the first two weeks of January have become synonymous with divorce and job resignations. The reasons for this are obvious. The holiday season provides a time to reflect on personal circumstances and frustrations that are usually suppressed by work commitments come more clearly into focus. Conversely holiday bookings rise sharply, and the same is true with franchisee recruitment.

Last year was challenging, with additional pressures almost everywhere. The prospects for 2023 do not appear to be much better, with wide-ranging industrial unrest, travel disruption, continuing inflation, and the supply shortages that are likely to continue. It might seem that little can be done to break out of this depressing situation, but nothing could be further from the truth. Now is the perfect time to invest in a franchise, recruit new franchisees or transform your existing business into a franchise. Even to buy a master UK license.

For those who are planning to invest in a new career of self-employment, the choice has never been better. Virtually every business sector has examples of successful franchises. Entry levels range from a few thousand pounds to multiple millions. Obviously, with this diversity of choice comes the difficulty of deciding where to invest. The key is to identify a type of business that most accurately reflects the desired level of earnings and lifestyle. This should be balanced against the amount of effort and responsibility that would be needed. 

Some areas of business are likely to fare less well than others. In a period in which family budgets will continue to be squeezed, the sale of big-ticket items will probably decline. Similarly, with the possible upsurge of coronavirus in China, supply chain disruption from that area may be problematic. These difficulties aside, spending on recession-proof areas such as healthcare, children, pets, and essentials, will probably continue uninterrupted.  Each of these sectors has examples of excellent, well-established franchises.

If there is a willingness to accept a slightly higher level of risk to achieve a greater reward, new franchises are continually being launched. Early joining franchisees will be working with a less experienced franchisor but with that will come fresh enthusiasm, commitment, and a pioneering attitude, all of which can be very powerful. Longer established franchises offer the benefit of being part of a well-known brand and the opportunity of engaging with a larger team. Later, a resale is more easily achieved that will release the value that has been built up. Careful selection is important, but few things are more satisfying than launching one’s own business. 2023 could be the right year to get started.

For those with an existing business, who have the desire to substantially grow it, franchising offers massive potential. Aspiring franchisors must successfully negotiate the transition from running the existing business to recruiting and then teaching new franchisees to do the same. Then monitoring their performance, supporting them, and growing the brand. 

Not surprisingly, the key to success is to obtain specialist advice. For this, no matter what type of business it is, there are many excellent franchise consultants and specialist law firms that can provide the necessary expertise. 

A good place to begin a search for this advice is the British Franchise Association of which most industry professionals are members and have Qualified Franchise Professional (QFP) accreditation.

Launching and growing a franchise is a lengthy process that requires a substantial investment as well as persistence and determination. It certainly isn’t a ‘get rich quick’ exercise but when done correctly few things are more satisfying for the owner of a small business, than to develop it into a successful franchise. The financial rewards can be very significant and with it the feeling of achievement. Also obviously, the sense of helping similarly minded individuals, the franchisees, to grow their own businesses.

For established franchisors, January, even in this economic climate, is one of the busiest times of the year for franchisee recruitment. This year the level of dissatisfaction and frustration is likely to be high. Big businesses, under ever increasing cost pressure, are constantly seeking to reduce overheads. This often causes added burdens on staff which leads to dissatisfaction. One only has to consider the current level of industrial action from rail-workers, nurses, postal workers and ambulance staff to see the huge number of people who are not happy with their present employment. If offered the right opportunity, many of these could become excellent franchisees.

The franchising industry in the UK is also in a good place due to the weakness of the pound and the lack of regulation. This country remains the gateway to the European market for the many overseas brands that are seeking to expand internationally. The other major markets, such as Germany, are less attractive due to much tighter regulatory requirements. At least for the remainder of the present administration this policy of looser control is likely to continue. New brands will bring new opportunities and fresh vitality. 2023 could indeed be a very good year for everyone in our exciting industry.

Tony Bowman
Tony Bowman