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Franchising in the South East - Tony Bowman

Our region has a greater proportion of leading franchise brands than any other. Historically a large number of these industry professionals have regularly attended the quarterly regional meetings, which has made them important events in the franchising calendar.

Franchise brands have flourished in the South East because of the local demand for their goods and services. This outstrips other areas because of the density and demographics of the population. Disposable income is higher than the national average, house prices have consistently risen to match this increasing prosperity, demand to build new homes intensifies and there are a greater number of new car registrations.

All other economic indicators depict the same picture of a region that is experiencing strong and sustained growth.

The high level of home ownership and growing property value, particularly among the older generation, has encouraged equity release to provide investment into business start-ups. This has had a positive impact on our industry because many of them are with franchised brands.

The “bank of mom and pop” is now regarded as a significant factor in new franchise branch start-ups. This is not surprising when one considers the record low levels of interest rates and the minute returns that are now paid for monies on deposit.

All of this is great news for aspiring franchisors and many SMEs are now viewing our industry as an attractive method for developing rapid growth. One of the key elements of this is the raising of standards in customer service. Who better to deliver a great customer experience than a local franchise owner who is representing a national brand in their local area?

Few motivators are stronger than the desire to succeed in developing one’s own business. Few are more terrifying than the fear of failure and the loss of money and reputation. The extra mile is very much the norm when a new business is concerned. A skilful franchisor will enable its franchisees to leverage on these factors to ensure success.

The opportunity for franchisors to immerse themselves in their industry and boost the success of their own business is why the bfa forum meetings are of paramount importance.

It is always a pleasure to see new faces alongside familiar ones at our forums and we look forward to another lively meeting on 26th May, which is taking place at the Kingsway Hall Hotel, Covent Gardens, London.

Tony Bowman QFP is the Managing Director of etyres and chair of the South East regional forum of the British Franchise Association (bfa).

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