By Pip Wilkins QFP, BFA
In this article Pip Wilkins, chief executive of the BFA, explains why franchising gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to spread their innovative wings.
What is entrepreneurship? According to the Business Dictionary, entrepreneurship is defined as the capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit. Franchising fits perfectly within this paradigm.
While franchisees must go by a model which has proven to be successful and has become established, that doesn’t suggest that you can’t create your own vision for the future of your business, one that you are responsible for, and whose success lies solely with you.
Franchising not only promotes entrepreneurial vision, but it actively encourages it, and offers wider opportunities to larger demographics than other areas of the business world.
A social business
Building a business alone and from scratch is no easy feat, and while it might be something any entrepreneur wants to tick off their bucket list, franchising could be a great alternative for those who don’t wish to do this.
Laura Bones, the co-owner of InXpress Derby, a specialist courier service with her husband Andy, knows first hand how helpful the advice and guidance of her franchise is. And while Laura receives this support, she and her husband are still able to make the business their own, making for an ideal balance.
As Laura explains: “Starting a new business isn’t easy. But being able to learn from one of the biggest franchises in the network is an inspiration. We have just moved into a larger office, and have employed our first member of staff. It’s our business, but we are not trying to do it alone.”
The franchising sector is renowned for being helpful and supportive, with many franchisors offering workshops, training courses and mentorships to fully support their franchisees and keep their skills and acumen sharp.
Not only do you have the support of a franchisor, but also their network of franchisees. All of them have been in the same boat as you, know what pitfalls to avoid, and are willing to lend a helping hand. As you are in the same franchise, you can trust their help and opinion, knowing you are all working to achieve success for the business.
Can you be creative?
Some entrepreneurs might be worried that joining a franchise will limit their ideas and creativity, but this should not be the case. Becoming part of a franchise means becoming a part of a network – a team, a family.
Most franchisors welcome engagement with their franchisees (as they should), as they know this is essential to the growth of a business and any franchisor worth their salt knows to take full advantage of their innovation.
One franchisor who recognises the value of franchisees is Julie Clabby, who co-founded Busylizzy, a club that offers pregnancy and postnatal fitness sessions for both mothers and babies. Julie holds quarterly forums in order to discuss business elements, pitch ideas and overcome any issues. This is key to developing the business and allows everyone the opportunity to be heard.
Julie comments: “Running a business requires agility, with the ability to change and keep moving with your market. Our franchisees love the Busylizzy brand and it is exciting that we can all work together to shape our futures. The Busylizzy forums have resulted in immense success, with new classes being introduced as a result of some of the discussions and ideas from the franchisees.”
Spreading your wings
Franchising has many opportunities for those who are hungry for more, with franchisees able to own and operate multiple units and/or franchises as a way of growing their empire and building on their business.
A young entrepreneur who has grown his business portfolio is Almas Adam, who opened up a Right at Home, a provider of premium quality care and support services to adults and older people. Now, he owns multiple franchise businesses in London and believes franchising has provided the ultimate entrepreneurial opportunity.
Almas adds: “For young entrepreneurs, like myself, franchising is an ideal model for developing our own businesses. You can learn from the franchisor to develop the knowledge and interpersonal skills required to build a successful and sustainable business.”
This is why more young people are interested and excited by the opportunities franchising brings, and shows why there is so much diversity in the franchise sector.