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Franchising in the UK: One Route to Self-Employment

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In these times of economic change many people are looking at their future career path. Many are pushed forward by the impulses of ambition, redundancy, or sometimes preparation for retirement, and see franchising as a route to self-employment and a potential way forward. Clearly a franchise business and self-employment is not right for everyone. 

Below are a number of pointers for finding the best franchise for you. The tips will help you decide if in fact franchising is right for you or not:

  1. Determine what it is you are best at and most enjoy doing. Making a major lifestyle move will usually work best if your work revolves around doing what you enjoy and do best.
  2. Talk to your partner or spouse and explain your thoughts and desire to build your own franchise business. It's important that the people who would be most affected by any change in your employment status, understand your motives. Ensure that those close to you will be there for you emotionally and financially if required.
  3.  Recognise that running your own business is not an easy ride and can have its ups and downs. Replicating an already proven system is what franchise business is all about, so this can help to reduce the downs and maximise the ups. It is vital therefore to follow the franchise system that has been tried and tested.
  4. Visit information-rich sources online such as franchise directory sites and read franchise publications where you can research information about franchising and look at genuine franchise businesses that could be of interest to you.
  5. Make an appointment to visit the franchise systems that interest you the most. Look to meet the key staff who would support and provide training to you. Do you get on well with them? Could you work with them? Does the visit create confidence in you?
  6.  Get permission to speak to some of their franchisees. Chat with them and ask about their experiences. You could ask questions like, "Are you happy with the franchise?", "Do you make a profit?", "What support do you get?", "Has the recession affected your business sales or profits?", "Knowing what you know, if you were me would you buy the franchise?"
  7. After you have completed your research, identify which franchise opportunities are of real interest to you and draw up a short list of options.
  8. It is vital now to speak to your bank. Ask the bank for a report of what they know about the franchises of interest to you. Lenders tend to keep records about franchises they are aware of. From this information you can get insight into the bank’s opinion of your preferred options.
  9.  Banks will often lend up to 70% for a proven franchise start-up. This is because over 90% of UK franchisees run profitable businesses, according to the British Franchise Association National Franchise Survey, and this gives the banks a lot of confidence to lend to franchise start-up owners.
  10. The final step will be to pay careful attention to the franchise contract for the franchise you have decided upon. The franchise contract rules the trading agreement between you and the franchisor. A British Franchise Association accredited lawyer should be consulted.

When you have completed the above steps you should be well enough informed to decide which franchise is right for you. It will then fall to you and the franchisor to sign contracts, arrange payment of fees, book in for training, and agree on your franchise business launch programme.

Don't be rushed; decide on the best franchise to suit you and then work hard with the support of your franchisor and customers to build your own successful business.

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