Franchises exist just about everywhere, and offer a number of choices. With so many options, it can be hard to narrow them down to a short list of possibilities. The internet is a good place to start your research. Here are some resources and directories where the hunt may begin:
This is the official website of the International Franchise Association.
Franchise Direct's directory offers detailed descriptions of franchise opportunities in all types of industries, plus general information resources on franchising.
The Franchise Magazine (TFM) contains franchising news, information about UK franchise opportunities and advice.
The British Franchise Association provides information about franchising in the UK market.
The Irish Franchise Association provides information about franchising in the Irish market.
After your self-evaluation (see the Guide to Buying a Franchise article: 'Franchise Success - First Know Yourself!'), you should have some idea of the type of business you want to run, e.g. home improvement, food services, advertising, construction, etc. And you should also know how much you can invest and how much time you can commit. This will help choose the best possibilities from the many offerings you’ll find in franchise directories.
Once you narrow it down to a few choices, you should consider the following:
- Is it a genuine business format franchise vs. a product distributorship?
- Does the franchisor belong to industry associations such as the IFA and BFA?
- Has the franchised business been proven in practice?
- Is there a strong trademark name or brand?
- If it is a new business, is it a fad? How has it been tested?
- What is the competition and how do prices of the products and services compare to those of the competitors?
- Are the products patented?
- Will the source of products be guaranteed in the future?
- Does the franchisor disclose financial information upfront?
As with anything else in life, there are clues that should tip you off that a franchise offering should be avoided. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is a misleading presentation.
Other signs that signal questionable businesses include sloppy websites with obvious grammatical and spelling errors. If a website seems like all hype, then it probably is just that. And don’t fall for overly aggressive marketing that bullies the prospective buyer into acting fast without time for careful examination of the business.
View the following franchisee success story and be inspired to operate your own successful franchise or business opportunity...
Franchise Success Story – Finding Explorer Travel
"Having spent 14 years with BT, I knew that it was time for a change. However, I was unsure exactly how to make that career change.
Over the following 18 months I bought franchise magazines, spent Sundays religiously scouring the papers for ideas and attended the franchise fairs looking for inspiration.
Having established many of BT’s most successful customer relationship management telephone operations in the UK, I wanted to get back to a situation where I could apply the skills I had developed to a product that I actually enjoyed and believed in – the question was, what would that be?
After doing the rounds of the franchise fairs, I had focused in on six travel franchises. Travel is a subject that I enjoy and with the frustration that I usually experience in booking holidays to Italy, this planted the seed of an idea to move from telecoms into the travel market.
I visited the National Exhibition Centre Franchise Fair to meet six travel franchisors. Six became two and I walked away with the usual carrier bags full of brochures and magazines. Flicking through them I came across an ad in one of them for yet another holiday franchise company and duly added them to the list. So two became three.
I finished with BT at around the same time and I had a healthy bank balance. I kept in touch with the three franchisors regularly, and met with the new addition, Explorer Travel, who seemed to offer more of what I wanted: the ability to have access to the major players as well as the niche market suppliers in the travel industry, the support of an established team of travel consultants and the ability to set my own agenda for what I sell – and all with the much sought after (and expensive!) ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) bonding.
Explorer Travel calculated that if I were to try to pull together a similar business model it would have cost approximately £80-100k to establish an independent travel agency. Much as I believe in myself, with little knowledge of the industry apart from being a customer I’d have fallen at the first hurdle.
Three questions stuck with me:
1. 'Explorer' who?
2. Track record?
3. How much?
After discussions with Steve (Franchise Director), and the other franchisees, solicitors and accountants (and by booking a holiday through them to check them out) it looked like a worthwhile and calculated risk, so I went for it and joined Explorer Travel.
For the first time in many years I was attending a training programme. Taking the plunge turned out to be a fantastic experience: the trainer was superb, the topic was interesting and the seed of confidence was planted!
I spent the next few weeks doing research for my first specialist website. The support from Steve and the team got me through the ‘change’ from ICT (telecoms) to travel agent.
I recall one of the first conversations with Steve shortly after we met. I was talking about Naples, a grossly overlooked destination (in my opinion), and he said something along the lines of: "It’s exactly the passion that you have when you talk about Naples that we’re looking for in franchisees"...and so 'Passionate About Italy' was born!
So much has happened since then: more websites, more late nights and plenty of hard work to acclimatise myself. Some things haven’t worked quite as well as I expected and others have taken off beyond belief – if you’d have said to me this time last year that I would be selling opera packages, I’d have said you were out of your mind!
So, having spent years trying to get customers to buy something that they didn’t really want and that gave them no pleasure, I find myself in a situation where there are no longer objections to overcome. Sure, there are plenty of other challenges but to be in a situation where the customer actually wants the product that you have is fantastic – the rest is up to me to make them buy it, and they do!
For the first time in many years I actually enjoy what I do!"
Find out more information about the Explorer Travel opportunity...