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Franchising could be the best way to 'Be Your Own Boss' in 2018

"More Scots than ever want to be entrepreneurs" said the headline in a news article that hit my inbox this week.

The article referred to the Bank of Scotland's latest 'How Scotland Lives' survey which found that 14% of adults questioned are looking to start up their own business (an increase of nearly 20% on the previous year's survey).

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So, what is stopping them?

Some of the common reasons include: fear of failure, a lack of business knowledge and often the inability to come up with a good idea.

If you are in one of these categories, why not consider buying a franchise?

Franchises come in all shapes and sizes but at their core they should all offer the following advantages over setting up shop on your own:

1. A proven business system

A significant reason to buy a franchise is that it reduces the risk of business failure. A good franchisor will have tried, tested and proven the concept. They may have made costly mistakes, learned from them and improved their operations so that these mistakes do not happen again. Research conducted by the British Franchise Association has shown that less than 7% of franchise owners fail within the first three years, compared to over 90% of new business start-ups generally.

2. Training 

Good franchisors have effective training programs designed to teach you how to run the business within a matter of weeks. Often you do not require any previous experience in that field. The franchisor will also provide you with an “Operations Manual” that guides you on how to operate the business on a day-to-day basis.

3. Support

Franchisors often have dedicated members of staff whose job it is to assist you with any challenges you encounter in the running of your business. You are not alone in franchising. The success of a franchisor depends on your success as a franchisee. Therefore, good franchisors should always be happy to support you and pass on their experience.

4. Brand

By investing in a franchise you are often investing in a brand that has local, national or even international reach and customer or industry recognition. You will get the benefits of this instantly. You should also get the benefits that come with the purchasing power of a larger organisation and the competitive advantage that this brings. This may even include a number of clients/customers who have signed "national accounts" with the franchisor, which the franchisor needs you to deliver in your local area.

Doing your homework

These are just some of the advantages of buying a franchise over starting up on your own. However you should be aware that all franchise systems are different and some are better than others. Undertaking full diligence is essential when considering acquiring a franchise. Franchising is not regulated in the UK and the onus is therefore on you, the franchisee, to make sure that you fully understand what the Franchisor is offering and research it thoroughly.

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