Achieve a new start with franchising

Franchising can be the perfect option for people wanting to change their career direction

The economic turmoil of the last year has meant that most employees have been concentrating on retaining their job rather than considering job satisfaction. However, a combination of the New Year and reports that the economy is set to improve during 2010 will mean that an increasing number of people will be looking to make a fresh start by starting a new career.

Often the idea of making a new start and embarking on a retraining course can seem expensive and daunting, especially if there are commitments such as a family to support to consider. Many people have found the answer by owning a franchise, which not only provides the opportunity for entering a new profession but also provides the independence of owning a business.

One of the main reasons that so many people wanting a change opt for franchising is that most franchisors provide training and support as part of the franchise package. The reason for this is that many franchisors are supportive of people with little or no previous experience wanting to enter a new industry. Nick Bicknell of Smart ABC, a car paint repair franchise, explains: "No experience is necessary to become a Smart ABC franchise owner. Our systems and technology have been created to offer ease of use for the novice. To qualify, all trainee franchise owners successfully complete repairs during their first week of the three week training course."

Performing arts franchise LIPA 4:19 also ensures that new franchise owners are provided with thorough training. Kerry Watkins of LIPA 4:19 says: "The franchise owner will have an intensive five day training course and receive an operations manual on how to run the business. Also teachers will undergo LIPA 4:19 training."

Many franchisors not only provide an initial training programme but also ongoing training and support to ensure that franchise owners are able to develop within the industry. Nick adds: "Part of our training programme is six weeks after a business is launched - the franchise owner returns to our training academy for further assessment and skill refinement. We additionally run weekend refresher and advanced skill courses which are provided at no further expense to the franchise owner."

Tax and accountancy franchise TaxAssist Accountants also ensures that its franchise owners are provided with ongoing training. David Paulson of TaxAssist Accountants reveals: "Structured training at the support centre plus regular visits from the technical support team provide ad-hoc training both for franchise owners and their staff. We also have regular focus group meetings to trial new services as well as twice yearly regional meetings for updates and training, along with an annual conference."

Many franchisors also acknowledge the fact that franchise owners with no previous experience of their sector can also benefit their own business. Nick states: "The advantage of franchising is bringing together a group of individuals with varying skills, experiences and ideas. As an innovative franchisor we encourage interaction and idea exchange between our franchise owners and when appropriate we will evaluate at head office and integrate in to the business model."

Although owning and operating a franchise -like running any business - requires a great deal of hard work it can be the perfect option for those looking to make a new start. David comments: "Individuals that join TaxAssist Accountants from outside the industry are able to be up and running building a successful business far quicker than trying to go it alone.

"As a franchisor we invest heavily in training including tutors from external companies such as BPP. We haven't bought an off the shelf training package but have tailored it specifically to the needs of our franchise owners, which an individual looking to go it alone simply couldn't do. With the multitude of regulations that our industry has to adhere to it would be extremely challenging for a non-accountant to set up in practice without the training and support that our franchise offers."

Reported by Derin Ibrahim