Seminars unlock a wealth of advice

Richard Holden, Head of Franchising at Lloyds TSB, explains how attending a franchise seminar can provide invaluable guidance for those who are considering investing in a business.

Franchising offers the opportunity to run your own business with a potentially high success rate, provided of course you select the right franchise in the first place, going to a seminar should be one of the first things you do. There are never any guarantees in business, but you can increase your chances of success by following these key steps.

It is relatively easy to eliminate the opportunities that are outside your price range or those that will not offer you the financial return you need. You will then need to scrutinise a range of franchises to see which one is most suitable for you. It is sensible to begin your research with companies that are members of the British Franchise Association (bfa). While bfa membership is no guarantee of success it is a good starting point.

Consider what you are good at and what you will enjoy doing. You don’t have to stay in the industry that you have spent the whole of your working life in but you should be looking at franchises where you will benefit from your existing skills and experience. Your family life and personal circumstances are another important consideration. Always ensure your loved ones are involved in the selection process from the outset.

Those entering franchising sometimes neglect to fully evaluate what that business actually does and the market in which it operates. Speak to relevant trade associations for their views of the type of business you are interested in. Also research the history and track record of the chosen franchise brand.

Talk to as many existing franchise owners as you can. Don’t let the franchisor ‘cherry pick’ who you talk to, so always ask for a contact list of the entire franchise owner network. Look for franchise owners with a similar background to yours and speak to franchise owners at differing stages of development.

The Lloyds TSB Franchise Unit is a great source of impartial advice. Some banks view most well established franchise brands favourably. However, to receive the best advice and support, make sure you speak to the bank’s franchise department rather than contacting your local business manager direct.

The legal Franchise Agreement is an important document and you will need to fully understand it before you sign on the dotted line. Lloyds TSB offers a Franchise Agreement review service at discounted rates in conjunction with an experienced franchise solicitor.

These topics and more are covered in the free franchise seminars Lloyds TSB holds throughout the country and which receive the backing of a number of franchise brands including The Bardon Group, which operates three franchise brands – Recognition Express, Computer Xplorers and The Zip Yard – and whose Finance Director, Laurence Bagley, says: “Presented in a pressure-free environment, and with plenty of time to ask questions of franchisors and bankers, the seminars are a must for those seriously considering franchising as a career choice.”

Christopher Watkin, Franchise Development Manager at Belvoir Lettings also thinks the Lloyds TSB backed seminar programme has significant value to prospective franchise owners.

“These educational franchise seminars are a one-stop shop for anyone thinking of starting their own business – from showing you how to choose the right franchise, funding advice from Lloyds and some real life franchise brands,” adds Christopher.

Upcoming Lloyds TSB Seminars

March 29 Hilton Metropole NEC, Birmingham
April 19 Hilton Euston, London
April 26 Hilton Manchester Airport
May 10 Hilton Euston, London
May 17 Hilton Leeds City
May 31 Hilton Euston, London
June 14 Hilton Metropole NEC, Birmingham
June 28 Hilton Euston, London
July 12 Hilton Manchester Airport
July 26 Hilton Euston, London