Editor: May edition highlights

A recent survey of public and private sector organisations by Talent Q estimated that 44 per cent of UK employers have made or are contemplating making redundancies as a result of the recession. Unsurprisingly, the industrial and manufacturing sectors are worst off, with 60 per cent of employers considering lay offs. Certainly we can expect to see UK unemployment, currently in excess of 2 million, increase over the coming months.

As well as employing a good sized portion of people in the UK (over 380,000 at the last count), franchising offers a route out of unemployment for people who have been burned by working for other people and want to start out on their own. The oft-quoted wisdom that franchising is an opportunity to get into business 'for yourself, but not by yourself' is as true as ever, with over 1,000 companies offering Business Format Franchises with comprehensive beginner-level training and ongoing support to prospective franchise owner candidates.

Of course the 'not by yourself' ethos can be incorporated into building a business as part of a team, and many franchise owners take the opportunity to include members of their family in their operation. Our Families in Franchising section (starting on page 52) tells the stories of a number of such individuals, who are using self-employment to right their work-life balance.

A franchise business need not be just an income replacement. We've also spoken to some franchise owners who have achieved significant lifestyle improvements thanks to the freedom and increased earnings they've obtained through their franchise in our Franchising Rewards section (starts page 40).