Is franchising the next step for the many being made redundant?

With redundancies making the headlines, the British Franchise Association is getting the message out that franchising can provide an ideal route into building a new future

With such a variety of businesses making staff at all levels redundant the British Franchise Association (bfa) feels it is essential to try and get objective advice to those that may be looking at franchising as their next step.

It is proven time and again that franchises remain inherently more successful than non-franchised business start-ups. As a result, you are more likely to secure funding on a franchise than if you were trying to start up a small business from scratch. This attractive package naturally becomes a serious consideration for many individuals looking to start up a business, especially when the number of unemployed is on the increase.

As a result, it is understandable that many would believe the idea of a franchise to be a quick and easy solution to a redundancy situation. But it is vital that the possibility of a franchise is taken seriously. Franchising is not a quick-fix solution. Today franchising encompasses a whole multitude of business disciplines and markets. It is a serious business option and one that requires hard work, enthusiasm, dedication and business acumen.

The bfa is acting on this evolving market to make sure that not only do people have good objective information to work from, but that the employers who are making the redundancies can also provide help for their employees. The bfa has now written to those organisations announcing redundancies to offer help in providing sound advice to individuals for whom a new business start-up might be an option. This will be followed up to ensure that good franchising, as represented by bfa members, both franchisors and professional Affiliates, is properly recognised.

As important as it is to educate people about the many benefits of buying into a franchise, it is also just as important to educate them about the realities. Success in franchising comes from hard work and dedication and in particular through the determined and disciplined utilisation of the franchisor's proven business system. It is vital to make sure that potential franchisees do their research and make sure that they can follow up on this proven business model with confidence.

With this in mind, those that are considering buying into a franchise as their next step should make sure that they don't just go full throttle into the first thing that they find. Whether franchising or not, any new business relationship or investment must be made with the appropriate level of due diligence. Franchising is not a hobby, nor is it a game. It is a well regarded and supported business model including very successful and respected brands.

Looking into franchising can be not only confusing, but also intimidating. There are hundreds of brands involved in franchising and you need to decide if any of them suit you as an individual and potential franchise owner. Not only do you need to consider location, investment level, time commitments, training and your ability to actually do the job, but you also need to consider the impact and support of those around you - your family and friends.

If you manage to find what you consider to be the right franchise for you, then you need to ask yourself the following questions:

Make sure that you fully understand the commitment, the cost and what is actually involved in the franchise. There is no point in buying a franchise if you're not going to enjoy or cope with what you need to do.

Although not a guarantee of success, bfa membership means that the business has been tested and has passed the bfa's stringent ethical accreditation standards for franchising.

By speaking to franchisees already working within the network, you can gain a real idea of what life is like, both good and bad. They may also be able to give you a good idea of the realities of earnings and timescales.

Make sure that you speak to professionals that specialise in franchising, such as solicitors that can check agreements and contracts, and banks that can speak to you about finance requirements. You need to make sure that, if you're going to sign up to anything and hand over your hard-earned money, you know what you're getting. All professional advisors accredited by the bfa can be found on the bfa website.

If you have any concerns, tell the franchisor. There is little point in continuing to pursue something that you're not 100 percent behind. The franchisor would prefer you to raise any issues early - at least then they may be able to be resolved.

Reported by bfa Marketing Manager Tom Endean