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Why Franchising can be a Force for Good

Lucy Campbell is Chief executive of FranchisingWorks where she has the privilege of working with the most fantastic network of both franchisees and franchisors. Lucy has a track record of developing businesses from pre-start through to scale and has previously ran, for 7 years, her own Social Enterprise- a digital inclusion and enterprise consultancy. Along side this Lucy is also a business mentor and is an advocate and practitioner of person centered  tools for change. Lucy is passionate about  organisations which have a strong sense of social responsibility and is driven by helping others to achieve their life long ambitions and goals.

FranchisingWorks is an innovative social enterprise that tackles unemployment by helping to create new businesses and jobs through franchising. Led by franchise specialists, FranchisingWorks provides independent advice and practical support about franchising to those without work or facing redundancy, and introduces suitable franchisee candidates to reputable franchisors. It also helps successful candidates with insufficient financial resources of their own to access additional finance. As part of this, FranchisingWorks has developed a unique fund of £1.2 million to help qualifying candidates pay for franchise licences. When their businesses can afford to do so, this funding is repaid and recycled to fund another franchisee. In this way, FranchisingWorks seeks to provide approved franchisors with a growing stream of pre-qualified, fully-funded candidates to choose from.

 

“Why Franchising can be a force for good” - By Lucy Campbell

 

Asking the average person on the street what comes to mind when they think of Franchising, you would most probably hear Mcdonalds or Subway and rarely would someone suggest it as a viable option for someone who is unemployed.

It is hard to hide from the fact that the UK is still in the grip of the longest recession in its history, with 2.56 million unemployed, along with the loss of human potential, capacity, income, hopes and ambitions. Self-employment has been highlighted as an crucial option in this regard: it does not rely on existing businesses to generate additional posts; plus, it may well start a virtuous cycle of founding new businesses, which could themselves grow to create more jobs. The presence of more skilled and experienced people among the current unemployed group, whilst regrettable, also provides an opportunity.  For some, the opportunity to start their own business may be an option that they are ready to consider now when they may not have done previously – and which may increase their level of long term productivity and wealth.

The difficulty with self-employment is that only a minority of unemployed people have the entrepreneurial skills and resources to create and run a business solely by themselves. Moreover, only 30% of business start-ups are still operating after 5 years. If self-employment is to be a major part of the solution to Britain’s job crisis, there is need for a model that supports people into sustainable self-employment. It is in this logic that the FranchisingWorks concept arose. Franchising, as an alternative route into self-employment from independent start-up, allows for a type of supported self-employment, where the individual goes into business for themselves, but with the support and experience of a franchisor and a proven business model behind them. It has many benefits for people interested in self-employment, including all types of people within the unemployment spectrum. Far from it all being about Mcdonalds there are over 900 franchise systems operating in the UK, offering business opportunities from everything from an Eco-friendly cleaning service, which supports companies to be more socially responsible by going Green with their cleaning services, through to business consultancy franchises.

At FranchisingWorks we are in the business of turning job seekers into job creators, and are passionate about the advantages of going into a franchise business. People often ask me, why would you pay to be part of a franchise- why not just do it yourself? Well the statistics speak for themselves, when you compare the success rates of a franchise business against that of a standard start up- with 9 out of 10 franchise business reporting that they are currently profitable and three-quarters (76%) expect their businesses to improve in the near future, compared to just 44 per cent of all small and medium size enterprises. Even in the current recession 90% of franchise owners report that their businesses remain profitable at year 5 of business. When you also take into account the fact that self-employment offers people the flexibility to manage their home/work balance, it can often remove some of the crucial barriers that are usually faced when attempting to access the traditional employment market, making franchising an excellent solution.

What is really fantastic about FranchisingWorks is that it is about so much more than just helping the individual. With SME’s providing around 60% of the UK population with employment, it is clear that by stimulating successful business start-up, we will provide the much needed catalyst to create job opportunities, hence benefiting families, the wider community and of course the state.

Timothy Gallery is a prime example of someone who found his feet in franchising after falling victim to the recession, following a long career in the print industry. Determined to take control, he researched franchising with the support of the FranchisingWorks team and chose an Ovenclean franchise as the fit for him to run in his local area of Tameside and Glossop. Without personal savings to invest, this might otherwise have been a pipe dream. Yet Tim’s tenacity and determination earned him a £10,000 investment in his business from the FranchisingWorks Licence Fund, allowing him to leverage the remaining lending required to start the business from Natwest. He launched his business in November 2013 after being out of work for five months. Tim has so far had to a fantastic start in business, breaking even in the first month of operation ahead of target. He says: “we have had some lovely comments from satisfied customers, who have said they will rebook next year!”

Lucy Campbell
About the Author

Lucy Campbell

Lucy Campbell is Chief executive of FranchisingWorks where she has the privilege of working with the most fantastic network of both franchisees and franchisors. Lucy has a track record of developing businesses from pre-start through to scale and has previously ran, for 7 years, her own Social Enterprise- a digital inclusion and enterprise consultancy. Along side this Lucy is also a business mentor and is an advocate and practitioner of person centered tools for change.

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