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As BHS goes into liquidation, here are 4 ways to take back control after being made redundant

June 2nd, 2016 by Brittany Lamb in Franchise Sales and Development in the UK

vintage-music-closed-shop-largeBritish department store BHS is to go into liquidation with up to 11,000 jobs lost. The store went into administration in April but failed to find a suitable offer to buy.

Big name brands going into administration and then liquidation is not uncommon and many of us have watched the British High Street disappear. Only recently Austin Reed also announced they would be closing all stores by the end of June 2016.

With so many set to be made redundant, the question now is what to do next?

Redundancy is a turbulent time for anyone and can have far-reaching effects. Many people who face redundancy may feel a sense of uncertainty of where to look for the next step in their career. However the situation may be an opportunity to take back control of your life and career.

Here are 4 ways to take back control after being made redundant:

  1. Overhaul your CV

Before your start applying for a new job, take a good hard look at your CV. If you haven’t applied for a new job in a few years, it may be time to modernise your CV to bring it up to date. Be sure to focus on your skills, achievements and education. The information should be concise and to the point so recruiters can quickly relay information. Your CV should also have a clean, easy-to-read format. The best way for your CV to attract attention is for it to be clear, focused and include information relevant to the job you’re after.

  1. Network effectively

As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Job fairs, exhibitions, and networking events are great opportunities to meet the right people and make a good impression. It is important to connect with these people over LinkedIn, Twitter and email and to make sure you follow up any conversations you have with them. Having a diverse network is more effective than having a large one. Attending events for your chosen professional, and events focused solely on making introductions is a great way to get to know the right people.

  1. Invest in yourself

If you’re looking for a career change, investing in your skills and education may be a key part of taking back control. Learning the latest tech, going along to seminars and watching free webinars are great ways of educating yourself on new skills. A new career will always bring more education. Bring more to the table by teaching yourself and immersing yourself in the skills you require.

  1. Be the boss

The risk of redundancy may put many off returning to the work force. People looking to start afresh may turn to starting their own business. With this comes the huge hurdle of success rates among new businesses with the majority not lasting more than 5 years. Franchising is a way of running your own business with the backing of a proven business model that you are thoroughly trained on with ongoing support from your franchisor. With a proven business model in place, banks tend to view franchising as a safer, more attractive investment than a start-up. And in the last BFA/NatWest Survey, 97% of franchisee-owned units reported profitability.

If you think franchising could be the way forward for you, why not try our 2-Minute Matching Service?

For more information on franchising, visit the British Franchise Association website.

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Why over 90 percent of UK-based franchise businesses are profitable

July 27th, 2015 by Guest Contributor in Franchise Sales and Development in the UK

money-18554_640Setting up a business is exciting but for even the most adventurous entrepreneur the thrill is usually matched by an equal amount of anxiety. In a competitive and cut-throat commercial world the potential rewards may be plenty but so are the risks. One prudent and practical way of de-risking your new startup is to adopt a tried and tested business model using a franchise approach.

Over 90 percent of UK-based franchise businesses are profitable – an enviable statistic. Here are the top five reasons why:

  • 06102014 2 bullet spotom no bg Having access to an established market and market share gives franchisees a significant head start over other new businesses. Sales can start straight away with no lead in time for product development or market testing, meaning a healthy cash flow to build on.
  • 06102014 2 bullet spotom no bg Being in the right location is central to the success story of many businesses across the country, but making the decision about where to locate is a science in itself. Franchisees can avoid the guesswork on this crucial issue because well established franchises already know where the best locations are. They invest heavily in pinpointing where businesses should be sited. For retail and food outlets this is all about footfall and traffic. For businesses where visibility is less important they will identify sites which are most cost efficient. This all contributes to a healthy bottom line – the ideal scenario for any business owner.
  • 06102014 2 bullet spotom no bg Most franchisors provide comprehensive support packages including training, legal advice, business manuals and ongoing access to a regional management structure. New franchisees can achieve significant profit because the business is being run well from the get-go.
  • 06102014 2 bullet spotom no bg Customers love brands and with a franchise you buy into that brand and all that goes with it. Centralised marketing campaigns, product promotions and recognition by the target market as well as investors are just some of the immediate benefits. Launch events are well publicised, ensuring customers come flooding in from day one.
  • 06102014 2 bullet spotom no bg Economies of scale achievable in a franchise model can make a major difference to profitability both in the early days and as the business develops. Buying into centralised purchasing of stock, supplies as well as access to group arrangements for cover and legal advice saves time, money and inconvenience allowing the franchisee to focus on running the business.

Article from Gemma Staines

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Franchisee of the Year Awards 2014 Finalists Focus: Microbusiness Franchisee of the Year

September 30th, 2014 by British Franchise Association in Franchise Sales and Development in the UK

Microbusiness Finalist logoGreat work/life balance, involvement in the local community and significant positive impact on family and lifestyle: check, check, check – and then some. For franchisees with a turnover of less than £100,000, this year’s Microbusiness category highlights three inspirational stories that truly demonstrate the power of a franchise to change lives.

Leaving behind a highly stressful corporate career, an unfulfilling career and being made redundant, these three franchisees have all broken new ground in their networks in one way or another. If you’re looking for examples of franchisees making a difference, then you’re in the right place…

Matthew May, Ed’s Garden Maintenance Folkestone

“The airports and factories all looked the same,” says Matthew of his decision to leave a corporate career behind and take on his own business. Working in a pressurised environment with long hours, high stress and plenty of bureaucracy, he was missing out on family life with two young sons and knew things had to change.

Ed's GM Matthew May

Matthew May

Always passionate about gardening and being outdoors, Ed’s Garden Maintenance was the perfect fit at the perfect time. Risk-averse by nature, and with a mortgage and family to support, he did meticulous research that proved his instincts were right; in March 2012 he started out on a completely different path and waved goodbye to his corporate nightmare forever.

And what a difference it’s made. More content, relaxed and with a much healthier lifestyle, Matthew has not only improved his own situation but also that of his customers. Passionate about reliability and honesty, alongside fastidious attention to detail, he’s quickly become a mainstay in the community: his regulars have the kettle on waiting, such is his reputation for punctuality; he helps organise food deliveries for a blind customer, who trusts him implicitly; and his eldest customer is 98, and regularly recommends him to her friends!

Matthew attributes much of his success to following the Ed’s model closely. A guarantee of first-month work appealed to his nature. The systems and processes in place, alongside the use of technology and website referrals, are all cited as important factors in his growth. But Matthew has certainly put his own touches to those processes, with an unrelenting focus on standards, presentation, value for money and doing “a little extra” on each job.

His approach has been reflected in his business performance. Despite dreadful weather, he exactly matched his forecasts in year 1; in year 2 he increased profits by 50 percent and is due to “fly past” projections in year 3. Some unplanned surprises he doesn’t mind so much now!

As for his own family, Matthew says the benefits they’ve been able to realise together have been the “biggest gift” since he started out on his own. Alongside much more family time and flexibility, he says his earnings in year 2 had already surpassed his wages when employed, and allows them to afford things not previously possible. “I feel free,” he adds.

He’s a record-holder too: the longest hedge cut to date by an Ed’s franchisee, at more than 100m!

Andrew Smith, Little Kickers South Lancashire

Just before Christmas in 2012, Andrew discovered he’d be laid off for a few weeks for the second time in three years: particularly bad news with a wife and 18-month-old son looking forward to the holidays.

Little Kickers Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith

The experience drove him to make a more financially secure future for his family, and it was while looking for football classes for his son that he found Little Kickers. With a sports studies degree achieved years earlier, he knew it was the perfect opportunity to turn things around. He can’t have anticipated the perfect storm of events that would mark his first month in business though.

Just before starting weekend classes for the first time in September 2013, he was made redundant, “the best thing that could have happen to me,” says Andrew, as it secured a cheque that would see him through the early days of his business. As it turns out, they didn’t turn out to be so difficult: a concerted advertising and promotional campaign, using Facebook and local press appearances, combined with his most effective activity – his wife answering threads in local mum’s group forums – generated significant pre-opening interest in his business…and then some.

His Little Kickers target was to have 96 customers and eight classes operational by the end of year 1. Incredibly, by just week three Andrew had hit both targets, becoming the fastest-ever to do so in the Little Kickers network.

Strong local marketing has continued to drive outstanding results since. By November he had a waitlist of 50 children and opened two new classes in another local town. In January this year, he opened three more and by July he had more than doubled his year 1 target for customers. He’s taken on five new coaches to meet demand and plans to employ six more by the end of 2014.

Not expected to turn a profit in year 1, Andrew was already up to five-figures after just seven months. But more important than that, he says, is the work/life balance he’s been able to achieve – stating he had no idea how much he was missing out on his son growing up until he started working from home – and the satisfaction of coaching the children, watching them achieve and develop. It’s an enviable position to be in: “I never really see it as work,” he says!

Tina Young, Barking Mad Northumberland

In 2005 with a Foxhound called Elvis and a yearning for a more fulfilling, challenging career, Tina found Barking Mad. Nine years later she’s the brand’s franchisee of the year after a 30 percent increase in sales and has changed the fabric of what’s possible with the dog boarding business.

Tina Young

Tina Young

In 2009, with a deep passion for her business and a huge enjoyment of her role (admitting she’s “dog crazy”), Tina felt only one thing was missing: a family. As a lifestyle business, Barking Mad franchisees had a very hands-on role; when she decided to adopt, Tina knew things couldn’t stay the same with her business requiring a full-time commitment.

With great support from her franchisor, Tina amended her model to bring in staff to help with day-to-day operations and allow her to combine dual roles as business owner and mother. This was a groundbreaking development for Barking Mad, which had never previously had a franchisee take on an employee.

Described by head office as a ‘chameleon’ because of her ability to adapt to different circumstances and challenges, Tina proved the epithet a good one. Maintaining the highest service standards was top of the agenda, so an in-depth selection process was created, followed by both theory and practical training, and daily briefings. Every new customer is introduced to the team after being personally met by Tina.

Understandably nervous about the changes, Tina says that results have been better than she could have imagined; in fact, “service levels have improved”. She’s facilitated more than 2,000 dog holidays to date and a Labrador called Cuba has reached 50 holidays (receiving the 50th free of charge), testament to customer satisfaction levels.

Despite her commitments, Tina makes plenty of time to give back to her network. Part of the brand’s advisory group for nine years, she shares her ideas and knowhow willingly and frequently. She’s spoken at the last four Barking Mad conferences. She helped position the brand as a premium provider. She created a voice recording for her website to explain the business to people relying on auditory information, and took the idea to her franchisor. She continues to break the mould, with that underlying passion coming to the fore time and again.

There’s plenty more in the pipeline too, including forecasts for another 35 percent growth this year and a declaration that she’d like to visit these awards again in future – in a different category altogether!

The winners of the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year awards, supported by Express Newspapers, will be announced on Thursday 2 October, with the overall winner taking home £10,000 courtesy of HSBC.

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