North West wakes up to franchising

Cheshire-based organisation the Forum of Private Business (FPB) has been waging a campaign to raise awareness of franchising among businesses in the North West of England. The campaign is promoting franchising as a solution for businesses that are in a position to expand but are currently struggling to raise finance from the banks.

'There is no doubt that businesses in certain sectors are being hit hardest by recession and restrictions in the availability of credit,' said the FPB Director of Finance Nick Palin. 'However, others are still capable of expanding because they are in less susceptible markets. It is our responsibility to tell them about all of the options that are available to take their businesses forward. 'There is still confusion over what franchising can actually mean. Rather than simply referring to the march of established brands, it can be a method of growing a small business without breaking the bank. Amid the current economic crisis, business owners in the North West in particular appear to be waking up to this.'

The campaign is being supported by franchise consultancy Franchise Development Services, whose FDS'North office is headed by Tony Urwin. 'Many small firms battling to survive the recession are nevertheless able to grow by franchising their businesses,' says Tony (pictured right). 'In October 2008 we saw businesses batten down the hatches in a fight for survival in the face of the economic downturn. Those that have survived the last six months are now beginning to take stock of their situation and think about the best way to take their businesses forward.

'Companies which are looking to grow are seriously researching the use of franchising as a more cost-effective expansion route than traditional corporate development. As a result, we've seen a sudden surge in enquiries about our consultancy services.'