Name a franchise…
David Banfield, President of The Interface Financial Group, talks about the franchise industry and how it is not just a handful of big name companies, but a far reaching network of many.
Ask anyone to name a franchise, and the vast majority will have no hesitation in mentioning a well-known high street fast food outlet with golden arches – their brand recognition is superior to most. However, others in the fast food industry have a very recognisable and well-known international brand.
It seems, to many, that the world of franchising is dominated by a handful of brands, the majority of which are all in the fast food industry. With the size of that industry and the ongoing growth potential, it is natural that the existing brands will occupy the top recognition positions.
For many people, naming a franchise that is not fast food or even just food related becomes a challenge. There are now literally hundreds and hundreds of franchise brands operating in the UK marketplace.
If you look at what we consume on a daily or weekly basis, then the world of franchising quickly opens into a major product and service provider. We buy petrol from franchised outlets, we buy groceries from brand name entities that are, in many cases, built on a franchise model, we buy houses through franchised estate agents, and we shop at ever-growing shopping malls where a good proportion of the tenants are franchised outlets. There is no doubt that franchising touches all of us and touches us every day in one form or another – franchising is clearly here to stay and here to be part of our daily lives.
This exponential growth in the franchise industry means that franchising is not confined to just a handful of recognisable brands up and down the high street. Franchising has become big business and represents for many would-be entrepreneurs, the vehicle of choice to transition from an employee status to business owner status with a rapid no-hassle approach. There are now franchise opportunities in virtually every industry type and category. Franchises also come in various shapes and sizes as the franchise industry expands. As franchising is so often associated with the fast food industry, it is assumed that if you own a franchise you will have good visibility and the opportunity to attract passing customers. Once again this perception has proved to be inappropriate as many franchises today are in fact ‘home-based’ franchises with no external signage and no desire to attract passing trade. Until recently, the financial service industry was not part of the franchise world.
Things, however, have changed and changed rapidly for the better. In some countries there are even banks that are part of a franchise network as opposed to being part of a corporate entity. Would-be bankers can now open their ‘own bank’ under a franchise umbrella and an existing brand name. While franchising in the financial service industry has taken off in recent times, one organisation has a long history of working with a franchise network of offices in a very specific financial service area. The Interface Financial Group (IFG) has a 43-history of serving their business clients and working with them to accelerate their growth plans. At a time when SMEs continue to find it difficult to access capital through a bank facility, any alternative represents a great opportunity.
The Interface Financial Group provides short-term working capital to the SME marketplace through a very unique cash flow acceleration programme, also known as spot factoring or single invoice discounting. Having pioneered this process as it applies to smaller growing businesses over the years, IFG set about defining a new approach to delivering the service. Their strategy was to offer the service through a professional franchise network. Something that, at the time of its introduction, was virtually unheard of. That action took place many years ago, and since that time IFG has grown into a multinational organisation with operations in nine countries. In the UK marketplace IFG has set down a strong foundation and is now rapidly growing their franchise base.
Their franchise brand, IFG 50/50, appeals to individuals that want to own and operate their own financial service business, but under the banner of an established and proven international brand with a formidable history. The IFG 50/50 brand not only delivers a financial service franchise, but it delivers it to its franchise owners in a manner that creates extra comfort for the franchise owners in that IFG, the franchisor, works alongside each and every franchise on each and every transaction.
Both parties – franchise owner and franchisor – share the ‘work load’ and also the financing aspect, which greatly reduces the exposure that a franchise might otherwise have to carry. Franchising is not all about fast food – IFG 50/50 represents a great alternative to the store front approach with a home-based, no employee model. While the franchise footprint may be modest, the returns experienced by franchise owners on their working capital are far from modest and account for much of the popularity of the IFG 50/50 brand.