A franchise or a start-up: which should you do?

A franchise or a start-up: which should you do?

Should you set a company up from scratch or take on a franchise? If you’ve ever thought about running your own business, you may well have wondered about what would be the best way to go. It’s not for us to say whether it’s better as such to start up a totally new business or take on a franchise because everyone’s circumstances and reasons behind choosing either can be very varied. But we do know from our own experiences that franchises do offer some distinct benefits that are definitely worth thinking about.

A franchise gives you a template for success

Starting a business from scratch is exciting. It’s a completely blank page and the prospect can seem tantalising. It can however be quickly followed up by the realisation that starting to fill in that blank page can be extremely challenging! For some people, that can be stimulating and motivating. It can be one of the reasons why they want to go it alone. But it’s worth considering if this is where you want to focus your energy and efforts, given that you could be up and running far more quickly by taking on the proven template of a successful franchise.

There are inevitably some compromises in a franchise. If you want to be involved in every detail right down to choosing the logo, then you might feel a franchise isn’t right for you. But don’t forget that even within a franchise model, there’s always scope to make it your own.  There are no guarantees that any business will be a success and every franchise certainly requires hard work. But it can offer a lower risk option, still with plenty of freedom and autonomy, that can help you become established more quickly.

You’ll benefit from the franchisor’s reputation

If you’re thinking about a franchise, you’ll need to do your homework. That should include scrutinising the reputation and brand of any potential franchisor business you’re considering: not only as a franchise opportunity but as a customer-facing business in its own right. What comments are out there about the service they deliver? Are there case studies and reviews you can look at? Are there any awards or accreditations that give you a feel for the quality of what they do? Not only will this give you useful information about the type of company and its ethos, but if you go on to become one of its franchisees, you’ll benefit from its good reputation. It will be easier to get your name established than if you have to build up your business name from scratch.

Franchisees can take advantage of readily available training and advice

Any business owner will tell you how much time can disappear just trying to get the basics sorted and the right advice and support network in place around them. Think about all the things a business owner needs to take care of: marketing, recruitment, payroll… not only do you need to be an expert in your chosen sector, but you need to be an expert in business management. Depending on the skillset you already have in place, that could take time, effort and money to develop.

Choose a good franchise and that should all be more or less instantly available to you. In the early days of setting up your franchise, expect to receive all the training you need to get up and running. You’re likely to be given an operations manual to give you tried and tested guidance. You might find your franchisor can even take care of some elements for you, like running the payroll.

As your business progresses, franchisees should also expect there to be ongoing advice and support when needed. From guidance on what aspects of HR and employment law you need to know about to assistance in submitting tenders: any good franchise should be able to offer you comprehensive advice about all aspects of running your business and that advice can be worth its weight in gold.

Franchising is a growing success story

The 2018 BFA NatWest Franchise Survey shows quite what a success story franchising is turning out to be. With overall growth in the number of franchises in general, there’s also an impressive diversity in the range of sectors and industries available via the franchising route. With around 90% of franchisees reporting profitability for over 20 years consecutively, it’s no surprise that franchising is becoming ever more popular as a way to start and grow a successful business.

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