How to tap into the 2012 Franchising Business Opportunities

London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics has provided an opportunity for a wide range of British businesses to capitalise upon and, as Lloyds TSB anticipate, not only those based in London

The London 2012 Games offers one of the biggest business opportunities this country has seen in 50 years and franchisees up and down the country will play a crucial role in helping to deliver the sporting spectacular. Regardless of size, industry or location, it provides a golden opportunity for UK franchisees to expand, diversify and reach new audiences both nationally and internationally. The opportunities to be a part of and help deliver one of the most high profile and exciting events in the world really are extensive.

It's hard to imagine a sector which doesn't stand to benefit from the Games. While the current focus has been on the large scale buildings and infrastructure projects, rapidly the reach of the Games is extending and a variety of industry sectors are beginning to benefit from the ripple effect. With such a wealth of opportunity at their fingertips, it's crucial that franchisees the length and breadth of the country don't miss the boat.

The opportunity really is nothing to do with location, location, location and in many cases, with existing networks in place, franchises are often better placed to deliver than small independent businesses. Most of the opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises are likely to filter down the supply chain and the important thing to recognise is that the opportunity is available nationwide. Far from being limited to London and the South East, these opportunities are open to all, and every UK-based franchise should be reviewing the potential lucrative opportunities open to them.

Our own research at Lloyds TSB shows that thousands of businesses across the UK stand to benefit from a £21 billion boost to the country's economy in the run up to the Games and this economic growth is spread throughout the UK. For example firms in the North of England are in the frame for a boost of £4.4 billion.

When considering such an internationally high profile event it's natural to assume that there won't be a place for smaller enterprises. However, size really doesn't matter. The larger projects will not be the exclusive domain of larger organisations. Sub-contracting and supplier opportunities will be plentiful and smaller businesses including franchises should think about forging partnerships to better pursue opportunities.

According to research reported in the NatWest/bfa 2008 UK Franchise Survey franchising is outstripping the UK economy with impressive growth of 15 per cent which demonstrates that franchises are already identifying and benefiting from potentially lucrative opportunities. This growth will stand the franchising industry in good stead when reviewing the potential of the 2012 Games.

The challenge for franchises is to begin thinking about how they and their network of franchisees will turn these opportunities into more sustainable business growth ideas and although the opening ceremony is four years away, businesses need to take action now in order to grab a piece of the pie.

Lloyds TSB has launched the Official Business Guide for London 2012. The guide has been designed to help companies across the country seize the enormous commercial opportunities being created by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

While the 2012 Games may still seem a long way off, franchises that plan ahead will be the ones best placed to reap the benefits. Now is the time for franchisees to be speaking with their franchisor to ensure that they are reviewing the potential opportunities available to their network.

The guide offers advice on how to get 'fit to supply', explaining every aspect of the supply chain including the unique procurement policies involved. It also covers useful sources of support such as the London 2012 Business Network and practical financial advice. The information contained in the Guide is based on interviews with dozens of experts, including officials from the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), Lloyds TSB, regional development agencies - and businesses with Olympic and Paralympic Games supply chain experience.

The 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games are set to bring a once in a lifetime opportunity for companies of all sizes. Delivering the Games will be an enormous task and business opportunities will exist in many areas such as retail, transport, security, hospitality, tourism, printing, construction, sign-making, merchandising, marketing, information technology and many more. The London 2012 Games are a chance for franchises to really put themselves on the map and say to the world that they're here to do business.

Reported by Richard Holden