The time is now for franchising

According to figures produced by Franchise Development Services (FDS), 2014 is set to be a very good year indeed for both franchisors and franchise owners alike. FDS Managing Director, Roy Seaman, reviews exactly why there has never been a better time to invest in the £13.7 billion UK franchise industry.

CeX, Esquires Coffee and sásta health and fitness brands are some of the most exciting franchises in operation today, providing many canny entrepreneurs with credibility and wealth. These are examples from the spectrum of brands that have taken the leap of faith and successfully expanded through franchising. Currently, research indicates that there are over 2,500 companies that have already expressed an interest in expansion through the franchising method – over the next year, 10 per cent of these are likely to join the 1,600 businesses already franchising in the UK today. It is apparent then, that entrepreneurs with the passion and drive to own a franchise or expand an existing business through franchising are set to reap the richest of rewards.

After what feels like an age of financial stagnation 2013 was a year that brought a significant increase in economic confidence throughout the United Kingdom, with prospective franchise owners, each with an average of £50,000 liquid capital available, registering interest from every postal code throughout the country.

In fact during the financial wilderness of the last five years, franchised businesses bucked the trend and exceeded expectations with an average growth of 10 per cent per annum. Now that the economy is beginning to flourish once again, these same businesses will inevitably thrive. Brands like CeX began their journey of expansion by commissioning FDS to evaluate the business and construct a Franchise Development Business Plan, before creating all of the franchise infrastructure needed to develop a quality franchise opportunity.

This exemplary brand continues to demonstrate the success of business format franchising. CeX came to FDS in 2005 following the Phase One Evaluation Analysis. Now, thanks to a solid grounding as a franchise and a clear plan for expansion, the business has over 200 outlets trading, with plans to reach 400 across the UK in the near future. The success of CeX stems from their outstanding business model which relies on recruiting ambitious franchise owners who share the company’s ethos for hard work and have a genuine passion for gadgets, games and films. With CeX, every franchise owner is actively encouraged to use their first location as the launch pad for further expansion into more locations – a path well trodden by existing franchise owners.

CeX Franchise Director, Hugh Man, recalls that he was very excited about franchising CeX and enjoyed every moment of working with FDS in preparing for the moment when the business was mature enough and all infrastructure was in place to award their first franchises. He confirms that it has been a steep learning curve but a fascinating and exciting journey. He adds that franchising a successful business model must not be taken light heartedly or as a sideline occupation, as it requires full time dedication along with professional advice, hard work, lots of support and a significant budget for marketing and other costs.

More recently, one of the most promising franchises to be made available to UK investors comes originally from Ireland. sásta , the truly revolutionary health and fitness brand, is the brain child of visionary Fiona Egan. She saw that fitness businesses were not up to scratch and sought to change the industry, what she created has taken Ireland by storm. Her patented sásta fitness pods really are the next big thing in fitness and weight loss, using vacuum technology combined with a treadmill, the pods are incredibly effective compared to standard treadmills – sásta customers could not be happier. Using the pods as a base, the sásta franchise opportunity has been extremely popular in Ireland, with four locations already doing a roaring trade, others are set to open shortly, including the first of its kind in England. Once again, Fiona involved Franchise Development Services to create her Outline Franchise Development Business Plan and then over a period of 12 months created all the necessary infrastructure before awarding the first franchises to business people that have a passion and genuine interest in health, fitness and weight loss.

In 2014, one brand to watch out for in particular is Esquires Coffee, which has recently been acquired by Cooks Global Foods Ltd. The new owners plan to become the world’s leading fair trade organic coffee retailer and have recently announced a six-fold increase in the number of stores planned to open within the next five years, taking the figure to well over 200 locations across the UK.

Franchise Development Services too is currently looking for experienced business and management consultants to join its ever growing network of franchise consultants by way of taking up a franchise. Free seminars on How to Franchise your Business are held regularly around the UK and further details can be obtained by calling 01603 620 301 or emailing enquiries@fdsltd.com.