Self-employment is on the rise in the UK as more people than ever before choosing to take control and work for themselves. A staggering 4.8 million individuals are now reported to be self-employed compared to 3.3 million in 2001, according to the Office of National Statistics. With flexibility, financial rewards and a better quality of life cited as the key drivers of the trend, it’s a career and lifestyle choice that is transforming the UK workforce.
The benefits of becoming a business owner are certainly appealing but building your own business from scratch is no easy feat. Franchising provides an attractive option to achieve that dream without doing it alone and it’s becoming an increasingly popular option among aspiring business owners. In fact, the number of franchisee-owned businesses has increased by 14% in two years, to 44,200 according to the British Franchise Association, contributing £15.1 billion to the UK economy.
So, let’s look at some of the advantages of choosing a franchise to start your own business…
A proven business model
Franchises are well-known for having much higher success rates than start-ups (more about that later). That’s because the model will have been tried and tested over time. Whilst there are never any guarantees of success when you start your own business, a franchise provides you with an effective “blue print” for a successful business. When choosing a franchise partner, it’s important to consider how long the franchise has been in operating, how many franchisees they have and how financially strong the company is. These are all key questions to ask when comparing potential franchises. As they say, the proof is in the pudding.
As the pioneers of travel homeworking, Travel Counsellors has been empowering individuals to start their own travel businesses for almost 25 years. With over 1,800 franchisees worldwide, double-digit growth for the last 15 years and countless awards, we’ve got a track record like no one else.
A support network
Another great advantage of buying a franchise is having the independence of being a business owner without going it alone. Typically, franchise business models offer training, guidance and ongoing support to help you build your business. After all, it’s in their interests to see you succeed. However, the amount of support offered by franchises varies considerably, so it’s important to understand exactly what’s on offer when choosing the right company for your future. Depending on the type franchise you choose, you could expect support in areas of your business such as marketing, IT and operations.
At Travel Counsellors, we provide our franchisees with the most comprehensive support available in the travel industry. Our 400-strong global head office team is dedicated to ensuring your business is a success, providing support in all areas of your business, from business development, sales and marketing to administration, IT and operations – we’ve got you covered.
Higher success rates
The UK is nation of budding entrepreneurs, with almost half a million new start-ups launched so far this year*. But, an average of 8 out 10 businesses fail within their first year, with failure often a result of poor planning, unrealistic goals and financing. In comparison, it’s a proven concept that franchises have a much higher success rate. In fact, over 90% of all UK franchisees reported profitability in the latest survey carried out by the British Franchise Association and NatWest*. It all comes back to having a tried and tested business model with the right backing and support from a reputable franchise, as well as the right self-motivation and drive to succeed as a business owner.
Lower investment costs
Starting your own business from scratch, particularly in the travel industry can be very costly. When you add up the cost of licencing, insurance, equipment, technology (the list goes on), you're looking at a significant investment. One of the big advantages of a franchise business model is the relatively low set-up costs in comparison. The amount of investment required will of course depend on the type of business you’re looking to start. A hotel and catering franchise for example costs an average of £107,000, whereas a personal services franchise (that’s anything personal training and hairdressing, to accountancy and travel planning) costs on average £42,000, according to Franchise Direct. Home-based franchise models also offer the additional benefit of significantly reduced overheads, such as the cost of retail premises and staff.
How does Travel Counsellors compare? Our initial investment starts at £295 + VAT for travel professionals with a minimum of 3 years in a sales-based, customer-facing role, to £10,000 + VAT for individuals with no experience of selling travel. We also have courses for people who are looking to return to the travel industry, or have worked in the industry in non-sales based roles.
Access to financial funding
Before starting any new business venture, you need to consider how you will fund the financial investment required, whether that’s personal savings or a small business loan. Here comes another great advantage of a franchise business model. Many major banks support franchising and often have dedicated banking support specifically for franchisees. That means you may find it easier to secure finance to start a franchise. Why? Because you are investing in a proven business model with the support of the franchisor, giving you a much greater chance of success. The more well-established and successful the franchise opportunity is, the greater the chances of securing funding. Of course, it is advisable to seek independent financial advice when considering your options.
Ask our team about our recent partnership with Lloyds Bank to find out more about a small business loan agreement.