Paul Stafford

Member Article

New Year, new start

We all know what happens in January – after reflecting on the year just passed, thoughts turn towards the coming 12 months and how things are going to be different. New Year’s resolutions often take the form of healthier eating, visits to the gym, keeping in better touch with friends – and changing career paths.

As a result, every January sees a surge in entrepreneurial thinking, with more people considering starting up their own business, fuelled by a desire to be their own boss, work doing something they love and take charge of their own professional life. In a sluggish economy and jobs market, that’s an even more compelling thought.

The problem is, many of those thinking about setting up on their own lack the confidence and experience to go it alone. By the time February and March come around, the pie in the sky dreams have been shelved and it’s business as usual.

But what if it wasn’t? What if, instead, there was a way to act on those feelings, to run your own business, to do something you love, to be your own boss and set the pace, not follow someone else’s? And what if there was a way to do that, but with the backup and support that brings you the confidence, skills and training necessary to be successful?

The good news is, that’s exactly what franchising can do for you. You own and run your own business, but with initial and ongoing training and support packages in place from somebody who has tested the market, proved their concept works, has established their brand and is showing you the pathway to replicate that success for yourself.

And if you prefer stats to make a case, there are plenty of those too! Annually, and for the last 15 years running, around 90% of franchisees report a profit and less than 4% of franchise businesses commercially fail. That’s particularly impressive when it’s reported that between half and three quarters of independent SMEs close within three years of starting up.

Add that to the numbers regarding the franchise industry’s performance since 2008 when the UK economy began to struggle, particularly in terms of employment and growth, and you can truly see the ability of the sector to buck national trends and turn business dreams into business reality; in that timeframe franchising has created 130,000 new jobs, increased its turnover by £2 billion to £13.4 billion and the number of franchisees has risen by 10%.

In addition, it’s a long time since franchising was the expansion model of choice for only global catering brands and fast-food chains (though they’re still here too). There’s now a myriad of businesses and sectors to choose from for prospective franchisees, covering everything from web design, children’s activities and gardening services through to letting agents, domestic cleaning and mobile products and services of all descriptions. Whatever your passion, there’s likely to be a franchise waiting for you.

So in 2013, perhaps there are no more excuses to stop that entrepreneurial spirit from lasting more than a week or two. Those dreams of entering the exciting and fast-paced world of business ownership are within reach, and can be acted upon – in fact, you can start right now with just a few clicks of your mouse!

Visit the British Franchise Association website to take a look at those brands who have passed the bfa’s stringent accreditation process which looks at their operations, franchisee support and track record; to find out more about becoming a franchisee, including the extensive research you should be doing; or if you prefer to plan ahead and speak with franchisors and advisers face-to-face, then check out when and where this year’s franchise exhibitions take place.

Whatever the year brings you, the pathway to becoming a business owner has never been easier – all it takes is acting on those January dreams and walking through the door of opportunity.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Paul Stafford .

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