The current turbulent economy means redundancy has become a cruel reality for many people. However, not all is doom and gloom! As one door closes, a new one can open, as franchising allows you to turn a negative experience into a positive one and allow you to invest in a bright future.
“If you’re facing redundancy or thinking of a career change, franchising is a great option to consider,” advises Michael Johnson, Managing Director of Card Connection. “While redundancy can be a daunting experience, it can also provide you with the opportunity to reevaluate your life, career and goals, in other words to really start afresh. Franchising provides the perfect step for many seeking a new way of life and to become their own boss.”
According to the British Franchise Association, franchising has proved to be remarkably resilient during the recent recession. So whilst the overall UK economy shrunk by 2.5% over a five year period, the contribution made by franchising actually grew by 20%. Central to this success was the decision of the many people who turned to franchising after being made redundant.
An Alternative path
Franchising offers you a proven business model and strong network support every step of the way. You become your own boss but you are not all alone in running your own business. Having an established and successful business, backed by strong support behind you means you previous work history is no barrier to success in franchising, as long as you bring enthusiasm, passion, determination and a willingness to learn new skills.
“At Card Connection, we see franchisees come from all walks of life. A former coal merchant, dairy farmer, racehorse trainer and even a former Irish Olympic toboggan racer have all gone on to be successful Card Connection franchisees. Many come from the corporate world, having had ordinary office jobs, perhaps working for the council or in retail.”
Training and support
Regardless of the sector, full training is provided with any franchise. Often franchisees learn ‘on the job’ while earning an income from day one. The role of any franchisor is to ensure all franchisees are up to speed and can manage all aspects of running their own business. Training will typically cover sales, marketing, basic accounting, customer service and an in-depth briefing on the particular product or service the franchisor is offering. This means even people embarking on complete career changes can follow an easily replicable business model and instantly thrive in their new venture.
“At Card Connection, we train our franchisees to merchandise displays of greetings cards in stores to make them look attractive and appealing to customers. There is an element of creativity in achieving the very best ‘visual theatre’ to each display. However, our franchisees actually follow a tried and tested planogram, which reflects the fully researched buying behavior of consumers. This is the key point - franchisees are encouraged to follow proven systems to help maximize their chances of success. In this way, franchising provides the option for someone to set up in business, whilst minimizing the risk of self-employment.”
‘Going it alone’ can be daunting for anyone considering setting up a new business from scratch. A franchisee, however, joins a team of like-minded people all working towards the same goal.
Although a franchisee will be working on their own, they are supported by experienced franchise managers out in the field and head office staff, as well as having access to the network of franchisees with whom to share experiences. This extended team will all be invested in the success of new franchisees joining the network.
“Recently, one of our experienced franchisees took time out to help a new colleague by helping him replicate his successful warehouse storeroom set-up, in order to maximize the efficiency of picking and packing the cards. This is typical of the type of support joining an established network can provide.”
Do your research
For those facing redundancy or considering a career change, there are many options available. What is important is to find a franchise you will enjoy running.
Research is crucial, as franchises are as varied as the franchisees that run them. Once you’ve shortlisted one or two industry sectors, meet up with the franchisors. You’ll need to get on personally with the people that you could end up working with. When you’re further into the process of investing in a franchise, it’s also advisable to talk to some of its current franchisees to see what it’s really like to run the business. This will provide a valuable insight into how the franchise works on a day-to-day basis.
The finances and profitability of the business also need careful scrutiny, as do the accounts of similar sized existing franchisees, to be reassured that your new venture will be sufficiently profitable to support you and your family. Getting ‘buy-in’ from friends and family can is also helpful, as they will be around to support and help you when you are starting out.
Card Connection has run a successful greeting cards franchise for over 25 years and has been a full member of the British Franchise Association since 1995 and the Irish Franchise Association since 1996. They are always on the lookout for the right people to join their franchise network. For more information on available franchise territories please visit their profile here.
Franchising - Your Next Step after Redundancy?
Contract Cleaning Services still required, even through economic downturns!
Even through the economic downturn, cleaning services remain essential. Is this industry ‘recession-proof’? We look into the number in more detail…
While the contract cleaning industry is going from strength to strength, it remains a competitive marketplace. A ServiceMaster Clean franchise gives you the opportunity to build your own business in this industry which has an estimated annual turnover exceeding £5.6 billion!
When starting any business venture research is key! You can’t fully take advantage of a thriving industry without a solid franchise system to tap into its full potential.
Warwick Institute for Employment completed research on the Contract Cleaning Industry, here is what they found out:
- The contract cleaning industry in the UK is estimated to be valued at over £5.6 billion.
- A workforce of around 448,000 people work in this industry across over 32,000 firms.
- The majority, 86%, of cleaning companies have less than 10 employees.
How to ServiceMaster Clean compare?
- Our largest franchisee has a turnover that exceeds £4 million, with a team of over 600 staff.
- 23% of our franchisees experience a turnover surpassing £1 million, 23% of our Franchises
- The average turnover for a ServiceMaster Clean franchise is £768,000, and the average amount of employees is 114.
- Our whole network employs around 4,000 staff!
- The Contract Services business expanded by 10.4% in 2017
ServiceMaster Clean franchisees can take advantage of our established brand which has a proven system working for almost 60 years! We offer expert support from a qualified team of professionals to help their businesses grow in this expanding industry.
Top 6 takeaways from BBC Radio 4 The Bottom Line's benefits of franchising show
With over 44,000 franchise-owned businesses in the UK, 97% of which reporting profitability, 93% are reaching break even point within the first two years and over 50% are turning over more than £250,000 every year, it is no wonder the number of British Franchising Association approved franchise businesses has been constantly increasing in recent years - even during the economic downturn in 2008.
This was the hot topic discussed on BBC Radio 4’s, The Bottom Line show on 21st June presented by Dragons Den and Newsnight host Evan Davies. With franchisors, franchisees and franchise legal professionals all discussing their experiences, backgrounds and pros & cons of franchising, we have summarised the key talking point for your ease below.
1) British Franchise Association approves ethical franchise opportunities right across the UK
If you’re looking to invest in a franchise opportunity, as the voice of ethical franchising in the UK the British Franchise Association should be your first port of call. All brands approved by the BFA undergo a rigorous approval process and the association provides an abundance of educational resources for those considering a franchise and host multiple franchise exhibitions each year for you to attend and meet dozens of franchisors.
2) You’re investing in an established model with a proven track record of working
All franchises will have operated a ‘pilot’ operation for at least six months prior to launching the franchise opportunity - and some of the strongest models may have been tested over many years and multiple locations. The longer and more rigorously tested the model is, usually indicates the model has been put through its paces and, with the right person behind it, will generate a successful business. This is a fundamental factor to the success of a franchise business, compared to the failure of over 95% of independently launched businesses within the first five years.
3) You’re joining a network of professionals all vested in your success
When you join a franchise, you should never simply be given the operating manual and left to your own devices. Any quality franchisor is there to help support you every step of the way; whether that be with marketing, recruitment, sales, compliance, set-up or general business ownership advice. The best franchise networks will often have franchisees with a similar supportive approach. Ultimately, the more you grow and succeed, the greater the profits for the franchisor and the better the brand awareness for fellow franchisees. Because of this, you often find yourself more immersed in the company’s culture more than you may have initially imagined when buying into someone else’s brand - as Subway franchisee, Rachana Pancholi explained on the Radio 4 show.
4) You have the security of a dedicated territory of operation
A large proportion of franchise brands provide the franchise partners with a dedicated territory of operation; meaning you will be the only franchise operating in that region for your franchise brand. This security means you should have a large, sustainable and sufficient territory to operate in, with no fear of your franchisor allowing their other franchisees to set-up shop next door to you. With this in mind, the legal agreement is in place to protect you as a franchisee and your territory. BFA Affiliated franchising solicitor, Liz Goldstein from Goldstein Legal discusses the legal agreement in more detail on the show.
5) You have the opportunity to grow multiple businesses
If you are meeting your projections, have the desire to expand and the plan to support it, quite often you have the possibility of investing in more than one franchise territory with your franchisor. As long as your neighbouring territories have not yet been purchased and the franchisor is happy with your operations to date, you can usually invest in a second, third, fourth or maybe more territories with your franchisor to develop multiple income streams all within the model you know and understand. What better way to grow a business?
6) There are dozens of industries to choose from
In the UK there are over 900 franchise brands in a whole host of different industries; including fast food, home care, property, finance and pets just to name a small handful! Each of these industries will usually have multiple franchise brand and models too, meaning there are plenty of business options to suit your skills and interests - and often, industry-specific experience is not required!
Dream Doors stands out amongst other kitchen replacement companies, but why is that?
Dream Doors specialises in replacement kitchen doors, this provides many benefits for the customer such as less time, money and hassle. This simple idea has been revolutionary within the kitchen market.
As leaders in the industry, Dream Doors is best placed to give you an unique inside view of this thriving industry...
A growing demographic
The typical demographic for kitchen replacements would be the over 50’s, this is due to them being settled into a permanent home and having the disposable income to put towards a new kitchen.
This demographic is an incredibly lucrative group as it is constantly growing with potential customers being discovered daily.
Ease of use
Replacement kitchen doors takes out a lot of the hassle that’s involved with kitchen replacements. Large kitchen jobs typically take weeks to complete whilst a simple door replacement could take 1-2 days.
The philosophy of less money, less hassle and less time has proven to resonate well with customers whom are pleased to be able to go about their everyday business unencumbered whilst work takes place.
A niche product ticking all the right boxes
The replacement kitchen door business is a niche market which performs incredibly well in the UK. Customers are often surprised by the option itself and thus become interested with the business.
This, as well as other factors, such as made to measure and environmentally friendly products, the industry is absolutely ripe for the picking.
About the Author
Dream Doors is a multi-award winning kitchen facelift franchise business. To find out more about their franchise offering, please click here.
So you want to buy a pet care franchise?
By Kevin Thackrah, managing director of Petpals UK Ltd
According to research by the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, there are 54 million pets in the UK living in 44% of all households. Crucially, for those of us working in the pet care sector, that equates to 8.5 million dogs and 8 million cats, not forgetting the tens of thousands of horses, rabbits, fish, tortoises, turtles etc up and down the country.
At some point, owners need to go to work, take a holiday, unexpectedly fall ill or, for one reason or another, need help to look after the animals; which is where pet care businesses like Petpals step in.
Responding to a demand
Pet care franchises can offer anything from an occasional dog walk, to 5 day a week dog walks, dog boarding as an alternative to kennels, cat visits, vet taxi service and pop in visits to people’s homes. Petpals look after everything from cats and dogs to guinea pigs and rabbits and all creatures in between.
If you are a true pet lover looking for a better quality of life, a release from the daily commute and who would like to swap office politics for, literally, a walk in the park, then a pet care franchise could very well be for you.
Pet services: A lucrative industry
A study by a national pet insurance company Animal Friends has revealed that looking after a dog will cost the owner a not insignificant £9,763 over its lifetime (excluding insurance), clearly showing that money is no object when it comes to looking after our furry friends.
Managing director of Petpals Ltd Kevin Thackrah says,
‘It wasn’t so many years ago that the dog slept in the kennel outside or on the front porch; in the last 20 years he has made his way up the garden path, into the house and, in many cases onto the bed, so it is unsurprising that people are very happy hire a regular pet care company like Petpals, to walk and board their dog and feed and look after their cats and other small pets, when they are out of the house either at work or on holiday.’
Add to this an increase in women returning to work having had children, you have the perfect supply and demand situation; a loving, responsible owner who doesn’t always have the time but who requires a reliable, professional pet care service, to look after their much-loved pet on a regular basis.
Ethical pet care franchises
From a franchising point of view there are currently only six pet care franchises that come under the bfa’s ‘Animal Training and Care’ category with Petpals being one of three ‘full’ bfa members.
Petpals has over fifty franchisees, has been trading for over 15 years and is the largest franchise offering a full pet care service. One of the many benefits of investing in a ‘Pet Service’ franchise like Petpals is that it is a mobile business and fits around family life and can be scaled up or down, depending on how hands-on or hands-off the franchisee wants to be.
From day one, the franchisee’s liveried vehicle is their ‘office’, not only providing safe and secure transport for their clients but also doing a large amount of their advertising and marketing for them, as they drive around their local area, walking their dogs and dropping in to feed cats during the day.
All businesses great and small
Some franchisees are happy to manage a small but profitable business, spending each day visiting pets in their homes, walking dogs and often boarding them in their own homes.
Others run their businesses as a ‘management franchise’, where, although still pet lovers, they are not as involved directly in the pet care themselves but instead choose to employ a team of carers and operate multiple territories, with expansion into the neighbouring territory always on their mind.
There is no ‘right or wrong’ way of running a pet care franchise, the size and style will be determined by the franchisee’s desired outcomes; some are looking for a good work/life balance, having possibly left a stressful job. Others can see the potential of building a large and successful business which they can grow and sell on in the future, leaving them financially secure.
Whatever the size of business, the back-up and support they receive from their franchisor should be the same. From the initial launch to on-going marketing and PR, a modern website, social media and regular in-territory visits, an experienced franchisor will be able to help and support a franchisee to grow his or her business to the size they desire.
Most importantly, always choose a franchisor who is a bfa member and is dedicated to ethical franchising and one who you know has met the exacting standards of the British Franchise Association, the UK’s leading regulatory body in the franchise industry.
About the author
Petpals is the UK's 1st, original & leading national mobile professional pet care franchise. To find out more about this exciting franchise, click here.
Find out why the domestic cleaning sector is worth £4.7 billion
The domestic cleaning industry is reportedly worth £4.7 billion pounds – That’s a phenomenal sum. The question might be why is it worth so much?
In this exclusive article, Merry Maids, one of the largest domestic cleaning franchise businesses in the world, gives us an expert insight into this highly lucrative industry
Domestic cleaning: Supply and demand
Demand for domestic help in the home is growing at a rapid rate because we are all leading very busy lives and in many cases both parents need to work – therefore are significantly time poor, and have made a conscious decision that “we are not spending our time off cleaning the house”.
Families want to spend quality time together, taking the kids out, meeting up and having lunch with family and friends not running round the house with a vacuum cleaner and a feather duster.
The industry has seen a huge upturn in request for service and we at Merry Maids have seen that first hand. Recruiting high quality, reliable staff is the key to any business at Merry Maids we take time to recruit and train all our teams to the highest standard.
Being part of an established and highly reputed brand
Building a reputation for being the best cleaning company with a reliable team locally is a great asset and being part of an established brand carries extra weight.
The consumer is now looking at employing companies rather than independent cleaner because they offer so much more. Merry Maids for example offers – free no obligation in home quotation, guarantee quality of work, rooms and times to suit you as well as regular and one of cleans
Cleaning businesses are becoming more and more popular and franchising offers a great opportunity to people who have a burning desire to be their own boss and run their own business, the franchise industry is the fastest growing business sector, and currently contributes over £15 billion to the UK economy.
The perks of investing in a tried-and-tested franchise model
The beauty of a franchise is that all the hard work has been done – you are investing a proven business model / system that works, with the added bonus of support.
For example, Merry Maids pride themselves on offering their franchise network the highest level of support, from set up to exit your whole journey is supported with our team at Servicemaster house.
Investing in franchising is more inclined to give you a better than average success rate, as 95% of franchise businesses are more likely to succeed.
About the author
Merry Maids is a member of the ServiceMaster family of brands, which was established in Chicago in 1929 and franchise over 55 years ago. As a global leader and a Full member of the British Franchise Association, Merry Maids offer franchisees a thriving domestic cleaning management opportunity. To find out more about it, click here.
Providing an essential service in the face of disaster
For those that are not familiar with the phrase disaster restoration then you may be reading this out of curiosity. The Disaster Restoration industry, or DR as it is usually known, is about the solutions that are provided to people & organisations that need to return to normal as quickly as possible following a significant event, such as a flood or a fire.
In this exclusive article, Servicemaster Clean Disaster Restoration gives us an eye-opening account of what to expect from this sector, what disasters you would deal with, and the satisfaction of resolving such challenges for clients.
Disaster Restoration in a nutshell
DR companies are typically the first responders to a policyholder or a business that has suffered one of these disruptive events. The DR businesses role is to get to the property quickly and begin the process of getting the individuals or businesses back to normality as soon as is practical to do so.
Disasters don’t work 9 to 5! So DR companies make themselves available 365/24/7 in order to respond to demand and maximise the potential for restoration. The speed of response is critical to the restoration process ensuing that maximum restoration is achieved; this means acting quickly to save cherished personal items for the individual whilst saving money for the insurer.
In these challenging moments, those affected will look to businesses with a solid reputation; this is where a franchise business holds its own. Franchisees benefit from the established brand name and reputation, as well as the business model that has proven to work nationwide.
What kind of disasters we face
We all recognise the major flooding events that we see on news footage; there is a less obvious need for water damage restoration – frozen pipes bursting in winter, leaks from radiators, an escape of water from bathroom fittings, underfloor heating or kitchen fittings or appliances; and even water ingress after high winds and storm damage.
There is little for us to do in a property that is heavily burnt; however many fires can be relatively small, the resulting smoke will travel throughout the property or premises and needs to be dealt with by experienced restorers – again swift action ensures that maximum restoration is possible.
DR also means mitigating the risk for commercial clients; responding effectively to assist businesses so that they can open as normal without loss of trade. Alternatively, reacting quickly to remove graffiti from a building, providing a professional service in removing needles and drug paraphernalia that may pose a risk to customers & staff.
Essential services no matter the size of the damage
Some of the work that a DR company undertakes can seem quite mundane in comparison to the extremes; we may be asked to remove stains from a carpet or piece of upholstered furniture – this is a great opportunity to demonstrate acquired skills and the ways in which we can save clients & insurers money.
The work of a DR company is varied; no day is ever the same so the ability to work under pressure, being flexible and responsive comes with the territory.
About the author
ServiceMaster Clean is one of the leading restoration and cleaning franchises in the UK and offer 4 different franchise packages that each cater to a niche within the restoration and cleaning industry. To find out more, click here.
Think smart when investing in an education franchise
More than ever, people are looking to invest in the education sector because they recognise the longevity of the industry, the potential for growth and, in many cases, the ability to make a very real difference in children’s lives. Frank Milner, President of Tutor Doctor, gives his advice and suggests some key things to consider when deciding if an education franchise is for you.
Is it an industry of ex-teachers?
One of the first things people usually ask me is, “Do I need to have a teaching or an education background?” It’s a common and, to be fair, an understandable misconception. The answer is a resounding no; you don’t!
Unless the franchise you’re considering means that you personally are going to be teaching a specific subject then management experience, communication and, often, sales are going to be far more valuable skillsets for you to possess. Almost 80 per cent of Tutor Doctor franchisees don’t come from a teaching background at all!
Do you need management experience?
There’s a risk that people can view what they see as a children’s or an education franchise as something a bit ‘flowery’ or not a serious business opportunity. Don’t fall into this trap – running a successful education franchise is hard work and requires a lot of skill but the potential for growth is limited only by your own ambition.
In a children’s or education franchise, it’s important to consider in advance whether you’re going to remain as a sole operator or if you intend to run the business as a management style operation once you’re established. If you’re serious about growth and making an impact in your community then you’ll need to be able to identify, recruit and lead people who share your vision and values for the business.
For example, in our business, franchisees find and recruit specialist tutors to undertake the actual tutoring. As they grow, it’s common for them to employ in-house administration assistants, bookkeepers, a secretary and even office managers when they are running more than one territory.
Does home-based equal small business?
Home office working isn’t for everyone, it’s best suited to someone who is organised, self-disciplined and committed to their business. Working from a home office doesn’t mean that your business has limited growth potential but it does mean that you’ll need to consider how you would accommodate staff members as you grow.
Many Tutor Doctor franchisees have children and their work-life balance is all about making the most of family life. Being around for mealtimes and participating in things like after school clubs and sports days are just a few of the benefits that home workers can enjoy. Then, once the kids are in bed, it’s back to the office for a couple of hours to get the most out of the day and really keep the business moving forwards.
Working with children
Not having a teaching background or kids of your own certainly shouldn’t influence your decision when it comes to investing in an education franchise. However, what you will need to succeed in this industry is something that perhaps you wouldn’t rely on quite so much in a B2B or retail franchise for example.
And that is a significant level of empathy with your customers and an understanding of their motivations and buying decisions. At the end of the day, your business is going to be directly involved in a very personal, very emotive aspect of people’s lives: their children.
Having a passion for making a real difference and improving lives through learning cannot be underestimated. It’s something that all Tutor Doctor franchisees share because it’s so important to us and to the success of our business.
Be honest with yourself on this. If your heart’s not in it then your wallet shouldn’t be either.
Sector specific training and support
Education in particular is a fast-paced and dynamic industry. Whilst you don’t need to have prior experience, it’s important that your franchisor can demonstrate proven success in the sector.
This includes things like strategic, parent-centric marketing campaigns and having a head office team in place that understands the unique nature of your target audience.
Keeping up-to-date with curriculum changes, legislation updates and initiatives like the 11-plus examination are essential to not only feed your marketing and sales strategies but to ensure your tutors and staff remain suitably qualified and as well informed as possible. As you would expect, you need to stay ahead of the game and be bringing the very highest of standards to your customers.
Frank concludes: “The education industry can be as personally rewarding as it is professionally. It’s a unique landscape to work in and knowing that you’re making a difference and empowering future generations is something very special indeed. With commitment, skill and the support of a great franchisor, there’s no telling what you can achieve.”
About the author
Tutor Doctor is an award-winning franchise business which offers one-to-one tutoring to students. Tutor Doctor franchisees recruit and manage a team of professionally trained and vetted tutors, offering students an award-winning educational experience. To immediately download their free and non-obligatory franchise prospectus, please click here.
Repeat business prospects for pet services
Statistics provided by the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association confirm that there are 8.5 million dogs and 7.5 million cats in the UK, with approximately 0.75 million other domestic animals. This equates to around 50% of households owning a pet.
The UK's love of pets and, subsequently, the ongoing demand for pet food creates a thriving, growing market. At OSCAR, we recognised the need for premium, locally sourced pet food and began to offer this to clients and their beloved pets. We quickly grew into a leading pet service in the UK and expanded into franchising so that others could share in our success. In this exclusive article, we offer you an inside view of this industry and why franchising in it can reward you both financially and professionally.
The importance of knowing what to feed...
You will have heard, 'You are what you eat'. This applies equally to pets. In an industry that focuses on a variation of feeding options, the market is overwhelmed with choice; such choice varies in quality and selection.
Pet food labelling is sometimes confusing and, as such, educating pet owners on the benefits of good nutrition is very important. There is a difference between real ingredients and supplements, against by-products or derivatives; consumers need help to identify what keeps a pet healthy.
When looking a pet franchise opportunities, check that the franchisor and their brand are ethical on all accounts. Check that their products and services are second-to-none and they don’t cut corners in terms of quality for a quick buck. This will tell you something about the ethos of the franchise brand itself.
Reaping the rewards of quality...
While consumers have a greater level of health consciousness, it's reassuring when words such as 'high quality', 'fresh' or 'locally sourced' are listed in pet food ingredients.
However, advice on ‘what to feed’ and ‘how to feed’ needs to be clearly explained. Do the other pet franchises you are looking at offer this? For example, at OSCAR nutritional advisors are trained to provide clients with a better understanding. Their own brand of foods' with its unique honest label policy shows the nutritional ingredients adding up to 100%.
Keeping ahead of developments...
A reliable franchisor will ensure it keeps abreast of the industry, providing a good range of products to cater for customer demand. Nutritional expertise in animal feed – creating diets for many different life-stages and conditions – is as complex as human feed.
OSCAR ensures that it keeps up to date with trends and developments by reviewing, researching and introducing new products to invigorate its comprehensive range. We advise that you ensure that you ask franchisors about their aims for development and how this impacts their service/product.
Training and support hold the key...
A reputable franchisor will have a tried and tested system backed with a strong training and support package. For example, as the first and only franchise to introduce an official certification; Certcan (QCF Level 3)* designates recognition in the national education system for OSCAR franchisees.
Embracing such educational excellence in the nutrition of dogs and cats gives our franchisees something to be really proud of, and is proving enormously helpful in advising customers about their pets, which in turn helps cement long-lasting brand loyalty. *Level 3 Certificate in Companion Animal Nutrition QCF
Home is where the heart is!
Home delivery has seen a massive growth in recent years, and everyone is benefiting from the convenience of direct-to-the-door delivery of products and services. It is predicted that before long the majority of all purchases will be made at home and the OSCAR system is thriving on this fact.
In addition, OSCAR franchisees not only deliver to clients’ homes but also, they can work from home. This makes overheads low and gives the added benefit of working flexibly to suit their family or personal needs.
When doing your research, be sure to ask the franchisors about the finer details of your working life, as you want to make sure there aren’t any surprises. As a FULL accredited member of the British Franchise Association, our franchise system and business model has been heavily vetted. Ensure that you also do your homework and check out bfa members specifically.
About the author
Oscar Pet Foods specialize in delivering highly nutritious pet food and accessories, as well as free expert advice in behaviour, nutrition and veterinary matters. To find out more about their franchise opportunity, please click here.
The signs of a growing industry
The sign industry has formed a fundamental part of commerce and trade for centuries, from wooden etchings through to the modern day inks and materials.
Rarely has an industry exhibited such longevity and relevance of purpose for such an extended period of time and despite the increasing popularity of digital advertising platforms, the signs and graphics industry is continuing to grow!
A strong industry to work in
A recent survey of over 1,000 business decision makers, conducted by Signs Express, painted a picture of an industry going from strength-to-strength with 83% of those surveyed stating that signs, graphics and displays form an important part of their marketing strategy.
Moreover, main exterior signage ranked as the second most important resource to have when marketing a business, falling just behind the possession of a website!
Growing need for a signs and graphics service
Registering a record year for start-up formation in 2015, with a total of 608,110 new businesses in the UK alone, the signage market just for start-ups alone is thriving.
On average, each of us sees more than 400 signs every day, which goes to show the extent of the sign industry’s reach and means that any career in the signs and graphics industry offers a combination of productivity, creativity, prosperity and variety, with everyday bringing new opportunities.
Due to the consistent demand for products and services offered by the signage industry, there are many competitors, predominantly independent SMEs who usually focus on a particular specialism or a specific region.
Benefits of a signs and graphics franchise
Signs Express franchisees benefit from a nationally established brand name, as well as a diverse product and services range covering all forms of signage from wallpaper to more functional way-finding systems and health and safety signs, which broadens client appeal considerably.
The benefits of being a member of a signage franchise was proven in a 2015 survey conducted by the British Signs & Graphics Association (BSGA), which revealed that the average Signs Express turnover is greater than 47% of the sign industry standard. The BSGA survey also outlined a positive trend across the entire signs and graphics industry, with 87% of sign industry professionals stating that they expect turnover growth within the next 12 months
A tried-and-test franchise model
Franchising can provide a proven business model alongside the guidance and assistance needed for business owners to meet their goals.
A fact proven by the results of the 2015 bfa Natwest survey that uncovered a record 97% of franchisee-owned units reported profitability with failure rates much lower than for other SMEs generally.
Unlike business opportunities in other sectors, the sign industry offers uncapped profit potential; the only limiting factor being your own ambition! For example, Signs Express’ average centre turnover ranges between £300,000 p.a. to more than £1million p.a., but the sky really is the limit, with the support of a dedicated team behind every franchisee.
About the author
Signs Express is the UK’s largest sign and graphic franchise business. More about their franchise opportunity can be found here.
Use your experience to help people develop their true potential
Last year a report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills reported that in 2015, the last year for which they have figures, the UK spent £45.4bn on training and development.
The figure is expected to rise in the coming years, with organisations facing up to BREXIT and increasing spending on learning and development, with most now focussed on creating the future leaders they need to drive business outcomes.
This is a good opportunity for individuals with the appropriate business skills and life experiences to help develop leaders, managers and individuals to their full potential, whilst building themselves a healthy business at the same time.
Exploit your skills
A ‘white collar’ franchise, in the leadership and people development sector is a great way to run your own business, working as much or as little as you want; what you achieve and how you measure your success is entirely up to you.
When you’re looking for a career change, maybe a new direction or just more control over your life, starting a business from scratch is hard and the failure rates are high. But owning a ‘white-collar’ franchise offers a simple to operate business, typically backed by a global brand with a great support network.
A franchise in the leadership people development sector allows individuals to combine the drive and energy of the entrepreneur with the real-world business experience and expertise of an established brand that helps open doors to new business.
Helping people realise their full leadership potential is not an overnight job, it takes time and commitment on both sides of the relationship.
This is good news for the franchise owner who can take their clients from ‘novice’ to ‘total leader’ in a number of stages, which offers good prospects of repeat sales, the lifeblood of a successful business.
There has never been a better time to start a new career in leadership and people development as the UK business community prepares for a post-Brexit commercial world – full of danger but equally full of new opportunities.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes recognise the need for not just more leadership training, but high quality programmes focussed on specific needs, delivered by experienced mentors working one-on-one with participants.
Rewarding for everyone
It is easy to think of returns only in monetary terms. But for many ‘white collar’ franchisees, the satisfaction of working closely with individuals and helping unlock their true potential, whilst guiding them to personal success is an aspect of the business that should not be underestimated.
Whether you are working with the owner manager of a small business or a rising star being readied to run a major organisation, your efforts will be rewarded with referrals, which will be an important source of new business.
Nothing sells better than someone recommending you to a friend or colleague.
But whatever franchise you settle on, if it’s a ‘white collar’ franchise, possibly operating in the leadership and people development sector, you must never lose sight of the fact you will spend a lot of your time selling.
You will need to connect with prospects, using any and every appropriate method, including content on your own website, digital marketing, PR activities, cold-calling, e-shots, pay-per-click – whatever it takes to deliver a steady stream of people to talk to.
An LMI-UK franchise
If you have the necessary business skills and life experiences, then now is a great time to become part of the world’s leading leadership and people development organisation. To find out more about what we do and the excellent ‘white collar’ franchise opportunity we offer, please click here.
Build a profitable business within the Health Insurance Industry
Growing uncertainties within the NHS mean that more people are looking at ways to protect their biggest asset: their health. Private Medical Insurance will never be a full substitute for the NHS however, but it complements the much-loved national system by funding treatment in private hospitals for non-urgent, acute conditions.
In this exclusive article, Western Provident Association (WPA), a not-for-profit private health insurer with a heritage of over 110 years, gives us a unique insight into this industry and share the benefits of franchising within it.
The benefits of going private
There are a number of advantages of using a private hospital which include; avoiding waiting lists, having a private room, unrestricted visiting hours, and freedom of choice – choosing your consultant and where you want to be treated.
Who buys medical insurance? This can be broadly split into 2 categories:
1. Individuals/families who want to ensure they have the access to health treatment should it be needed. Many individuals who purchase medical insurance are self-employed and cannot afford to risk waiting lengthy periods for treatment on the NHS.
2. Companies purchase on behalf of their employees as a way to reward them, reduce absenteeism, and help recruit new staff. Each year 300,000 people leave work due to illness and injury (DWP) costing UK businesses £16 billion per year (1). Health and wellbeing has therefore become an important part of business healthcare and sickness absence strategies. A strong benefits package not only helps employers make sure they get the pick of employees at recruitment but can also help retain them.
The number of people in Britain taking out private medical insurance has risen significantly for the first time since 2008. After falling steeply between 2008 and 2011 and then staying flat, demand for private medical insurance cover in Britain rose by 2.1% in 2015 with just over 4 million people insured. (2)
Franchising within this sector
The contribution of franchising to the UK economy is now estimated to be £15.1 billion, an increase of 46% over the past 10 years and up 10% since 2013. Additionally, the total number of people employed in franchising in the UK is 621,000 with a record 97% of franchisee-owned units reporting profitability. (4)
With the franchise industry continuing to prosper (3) and the uncertainty of the healthcare systems in the UK, we have never been busier. WPA Healthcare Practice franchise has been trading for 10 years as a main distribution channel for Insurance and a growing franchise network of 76 franchisees.
When considering the right franchise route for you, it is essential to look at how a franchisor responds to industry demands, customer needs and the fierce competition. For example, although the private medical insurance industry is highly competitive WPA have remained true to their heritage and are continuing to expand their loyal customer base. This may be due to the fact that local business owners are able to deal directly with the WPA Healthcare Partners (who are also local business owners).
Benefits of investing in an established franchisor
One of the main benefits of investing in a franchise model is that you often do not need any experience in the sector you are looking to join - a good franchisor will provide comprehensive training enabling you to run the business.
Daniel Wade, Director of New Practice Development, describes what they, as an ethical franchisor, provide so as to give you an understanding of what you should expect from a good franchise network:
‘We have invested heavily in our training and mentoring programme over the past 3 years to ensure we give our new Healthcare Partners the best opportunity for success. As a franchisor within a regulated environment, we have a responsibility to ensure our Healthcare Partners are trained to the highest possible level. We initially offer a week-long residential training course followed by a 2-day follow up course 6 weeks after the initial training. We also assign a mentor who is a successful Partner who can be on hand for any day-to-day queries".
Franchising is a partnership, so a good franchisor should invest in initial and ongoing training, with both parties investing in each other to build a long-term relationship.
To find out more about the WPA Healthcare Practice franchise, click here. Why not look at other Insurance-based franchises here or, alternatively, have a look at other franchises that work in the care industry here.
UK Courier and Shipping Market - the Commercial Opportunity
When considering franchise options, apart from considering what you feel you will be happy doing, the first step is to assess which markets are showing positive commercial trends. In this exclusive article, industry leaders, PACK & SEND, share their inside knowledge of this thriving sector and why a franchise which offers a unique concept puts you ahead of the game.
Logistics and Shipping - A £billion industry
A look at the logistics and postal services markets reveals that this is a massively important sector for the UK economy.
Such services are not only key drivers and enablers for general commerce, within and beyond this country, they are also seeing enduring growth through the relentless move to internet-enabled remote commerce. To top it off, they also turnover some £55billion annually - around 5% of total UK GDP.
That revenue, however, has attracted many businesses and there now around 63,000 companies (ref: PwC) participating in the UK logistics market which leads to a squeeze on prices and margins.
Commercial success thanks to unique proposition
This is a challenge for typical courier or freight businesses who handle standard pre-packed freight and who are having to deliver increasingly high shipment volumes to make a profit.
Niche market propositions, such as PACK & SEND on the other hand, are riding the growth whilst maintaining prices and margins.
The secret to this commercial success is due to a unique proposition, developing a distinctive brand and delivering excellent customer service. For PACK & SEND, the point of difference is clear; whilst there are many businesses that offer part of what they do, there is nobody that provides their wide range of shipping options combined with multiple packing services and a flexibility to meet virtually any customer's needs.
The Logistics Sector - Considerations
As with most markets, commercial success in the mass freight market depends on scale, which in turn requires significant infrastructure investment and a large headcount. These can be difficult for a franchise model to deliver.
What's more, the logistics market has two kinds of customer which have historically been served by different types of businesses. However, if a company is to be successful in both the domestic and business markets then it needs to demonstrate efficiency and knowledge whilst remaining accessible and easy to deal with - a difficult task for many logistics providers to achieve.
A premium niche market proposition, however, is ideally suited as a franchise business where sales and service are the key deliverables and the investment far more manageable. Franchises, like the PACK & SEND model, have low-cost retail locations and wide service flexibility which, subsequently make the business ideally suited to the domestic consumer and B2B customer.
Offering multiple or combined services
In a market primarily geared towards moving packed parcels and packages, a combined packing and delivery service is a powerful proposition as shipments for unpacked goods can arise for many reasons:
• items bought or sold via trading sites such as ebay
• items that are unique such as artwork, antiques or classic car parts
• movements of operational or used equipment
• collection and return of items inadvertently left at a location such as hotels or airports
• personal items such as student 'end of study' moves or temporary work moves
A leading authority in the franchise industry
When considering franchising within this sector, it is important you consider the unique propositions they offer you. For example, it is essential that you do your due-diligence and check that they are an ethical franchisor – are they a member of the British Franchise Association for example?
Think about what service they offer and is there a demand for it. PACK & SEND, for example, has a 'user-friendly' end-to-end service that is very different from a simple shipping company and like-for-like sales growth in excess of 30% last year illustrates the demand for this. Their trading model is very different too! Whilst an ordinary courier typically needs to handle hundreds of parcels to make money, a PACK & SEND store could be a £1/4 million business with just 3-5 customers each day!
In conclusion, when looking to invest in a franchise, it is crucial that you look behind the scenes and get a good understanding of how the market may impact your business. Due diligence will save you a lot of time and money down the line.
Ref: (PwC): http://www.pwc.co.uk/industries/transport-logistics/transport-and-logistics-logistics-posts.html
Want your business to thrive on the local high-street? Try franchising!
There are so many businesses well-known to UK households but, just stop for a moment and imagine the number of businesses that may exist but may not be not widely recognised! This is the reality for many business owners, and having your brand grow to be loved and recognised on a national scale is just a dream for them.
Opening a retail business is a large investment and it can often be difficult to establish a brand, build a customer base and stand out from competitors – many of these businesses don’t survive in the long term.
Mail Boxes Etc. has thrived on local high streets while many other brands have fallen by the wayside. So, what’s the difference between starting your own business and investing in a proven franchise model in the retail sector? In this exclusive article, Mail Boxes Etc. outline how to build a successful retail business.
Location, location, location
Property costs can mean that retail businesses may have a higher start-up cost than other new businesses. The location of a retail store can have a major impact and the ideal location will depend on a number of factors including customer demographics, footfall and competition.
When joining forces with a retail franchise, your franchisor should support you in finding the perfect location for your store, as well as helping you negotiate the terms. They will have an in-depth knowledge of the market and business opportunities to guide you towards selecting a great location. But it doesn’t stop there!
Once you’ve found that perfect location, your franchisor should support you on fitting out the premises, creating another bright new store to match all the others in the network, and adding strength to the brand.
Profitable revenue streams
Choosing a retail franchise that appeals to a broad market and offers more than just one product or service can greatly reduce risk; having a range of products and services on offer makes customers more likely to come back to you for repeat business as their needs change. Having a broad product range will also appeal to a wider audience.
Another important factor to remember is that using the strength of their network, franchisees often benefit from negotiated supplier rates which not only helps towards reducing set up costs but more importantly provides attractive margins on their products and services.
Innovation for continued success
The beauty of joining a franchise network is that you invest into a business that is established and may allow you to trade into profit earlier than if you had started up on your own.
Many people forget that a franchisor is there to continue developing the business model, planning for and adapting to market changes together with introducing new products and services. These activities can take up a huge amount of time, and resources you are unlikely to have when setting up a business on your own.
The team at Mail Boxes Etc. keep a close eye on trends and changes in the market and use it to their advantage by introducing new products and services that reflect customer demands. These activities are what helps them stay one step ahead of their competition and, despite fluctuations in the economy, their franchisees can remain profitable and successful.
When researching retail franchises, it is vital that potential franchisors provide the right level of support, have a proven profitable model and react to changes in the market. Reduce the risk of success by asking the right questions and discover the right path to your business success!
Prospering through procurement
Most franchise opportunities focus on a specific sector or industry, whether it’s in a Business-to-Business (B2B) or Business-to-Consumer (B2C) market. But imagine if you could target any industry and any sector, regardless of your own personal experience.
Expense Reduction Analysts explain how to leverage collective knowledge in a franchise network for maximum market-reach and what you should look for when considering a Procurement opportunity.
The B2B marketplace
Profitability and efficiency is at the heart of every organisation. Put simply, the best way for businesses to boost their bottom line is to sell more or spend less. Clearly one is a little easier and a lot more attractive than the other!
According to the Deloitte: Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) Survey 2016, cost reduction has become the top priority for CPO’s as they look to sustain business growth in a slowing market. A staggering 76% highlighted cost reduction as their biggest goal for the coming years with 62% believing their in-house teams lack the skill and capability to meet this requirement.
An effective procurement business should be able to offer solutions to any industry, giving any business the opportunity to flourish despite economic fluctuations. The ERA model takes advantage of this perpetual demand for cost savings and improved efficiency by leveraging the collective knowledge of its network to achieve maximum marketplace penetration.
Leveraging collective knowledge
An obvious advantage when investing in any franchise is the ability to benefit from the knowledge and experience of your fellow franchisees. A franchisor should facilitate regular opportunities for their network to meet, both regionally and nationally, to share real-life stories, best practice and ideas.
The ERA business model goes one step further and actually utilises the vast knowledge and skillsets of its franchisees to enhance the business model.
Rather than work completely independently, franchisees have the option to collaborate with one or more colleagues which means there’s no business or project that cannot be taken on or actively pursued. This in turn ensures that clients can have access to a level of specialist cost-centre expertise that is second to none.
Results that feed sales
With any B2B service, the ability to demonstrate proven success in a particular industry or cost-centre is vital for franchisees. Only by doing so can they effectively market to and win new business. Put simply, it is important that business owners see tangible results and with a Procurement franchise, that becomes even more important.
As part of your due diligence, it can be useful to incorporate questions on this subject for a franchisor. For example, what tools and methods are available to franchisees to help them showcase success? Where do these resources sit in the local and national marketing strategy and how often are they refreshed or updated?
The ERA strategy ensures that a library of client success stories are available for franchisees to tap-into. New examples are prepared every month and highlight not only cost savings but efficiency improvements. These case-studies cover as wide a variety of sectors, business types and industries as possible. From telecoms and fleet projects with international organisations to insurance and printing projects with charities and High Street banks.
Through ERA’s training and business development programmes, franchisees can not only generate new business but achieve exceptional results and retain customers for the long-term.
Are you suited to Procurement?
Whilst almost all white-collar franchises will look for a certain level of management or professional experience, sector and industry should have little sway on your suitability. Specialist knowledge may lead you to focus on a specific cost centre, you could even become the go-to expert in your network.
Or perhaps with a natural flair for sales you could focus your efforts on Client Relationship Management or Business Development Manager roles, partnering with your fellow franchisees to undertake the technical work.
Instead of asking if Procurement is the opportunity for you, better to ask yourself if you’re interested in making a difference? Is empowering other business owners to improve their situations and in many cases, reinvest savings to grow and evolve the type of thing for you?
About Expense Reduction Analysts
Expense Reduction Analysts, one of the world's largest and fastest growing consultancy franchises. To find out more their opportunity, please request their FREE and non-obligatory franchise prospectus here.
Transport & logistic recruiters operate in a niche market
Recruitment is a thriving, billion-pound industry with no sign of ceasing. In this article, Driver Hire, an award-winning logistical recruitment franchisor, shares their insight into this niche market exclusively with us at whichfranchise.
Recruitment is big business - a vitally important sector for the UK economy. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that it is the UK’s third largest service industry, with only construction and legal/accounting ahead of it.
In terms of volume, in 2015 the recruitment industry added £35.1bn to the UK economy. An impressive 76% of that figure coming from the supply of temporary workers, a market which grew by 5.6% during that year. Looking ahead, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) expects the industry to continue growing by a similar amount in each of the next three years.
20% (6.2m) of the UK workforce is made up of temporary staff, including directly employed temps, temps provided by agencies and self employed temps. All of which makes recruitment a highly attractive sector; the number of agencies specialising in temporary work grew by 1.6% in 2015/16.
Providing an essential service
The use of temporary labour in road transport and logistics is nothing new. It’s been an essential service to this equally essential sector for over 30 years.
That’s been mirrored by the growth in the Driver Hire network; from one franchised office in 1987 to a nationwide network of over 100 Driver Hire recruitment offices. All of which makes it a market leader and a well known brand within the industry.
Road transport is a vital, round-the-clock industry. Over 90% of all goods in the UK are delivered by road. Without it, UK plc could not function. Whether it’s to a supermarket, factory or food producer, goods must be delivered and collected on time.
And that’s where the market for temporary workers comes in. If a regular driver is taken ill or is on holiday, recruitment businesses such as Driver Hire, use their team of temps to fill the gap. Nor are temporary labour suppliers totally reliant on emergency spot hire. Many transport operators use a flexible workforce comprising permanent staff and temps working on longer term contracts to cover the peaks and troughs in their business.
Offering a specialist service in a niche market
Whilst exact figures on the total value of the road transport & logistics temporary market aren’t readily available, Driver Hire estimates it to be in the region of £3bn annually.
What is clear from the REC’s 2016 annual trends survey is that the blue collar/industrial workers’ sector – which includes drivers – is the leading sector for the supply of temporary workers.
As a specialist provider within that sector, Driver Hire and other transport & logistic recruiters, operate in a niche market. Competition is high. This has been reflected by a slight tightening of margins over the past couple of years.
Of course, recruitment in general isn’t immune to the ups and downs of the economy. It is the first into any downturn and, equally, is the first industry to feel the benefit when economic growth resumes.
Challenges in this sector
The main concern for suppliers of temporary labour is Brexit. However, there is some evidence that, in road transport & logistics, this uncertainty can also be a benefit: employers preferring to go down the temp route rather than taking on permanent staff.
In common with other blue collar industries – construction being another -- there is a potential skills’ shortage. The industry is aware of this and is already introducing measures to attract a new breed of younger goods vehicle drivers.
Looking ahead, the continuing growth in online sales is providing opportunities for further growth within the sector. There’s a burgeoning demand for van drivers to complete final mile deliveries to homes and offices across the UK. All of which is good news both now – and going forward – for specialist transport & logistics’ recruiters.
Benefits of franchising in this industry
From a franchise perspective, management franchises such as recruitment businesses, have a number of benefits.
In the first instance, as you are managing the business, rather than actively carrying it out, you don’t necessarily need to have had previous experience in the sector to be a success. Also, unlike a retail franchise, you don’t have to tie up working capital in stock. And, when the time comes to sell, you can move out of a management franchise with very little or no disruption to the business.
About Driver Hire
Driver Hire is an award-winning recruitment service, supplying drivers and logistics staff to both private and public sector organisations. To find out more about their franchise opportunity, click here.
Benefiting from an ethical franchisor in a competitive market
The strongest argument for buying into a franchise is the support that it offers and, never is this more valid than in the care sector, where franchisees are responsible for the welfare of vulnerable clients and subject to regulation and complex legislation.
The benefits of investing in a care franchise
Having the safety net of an experienced franchisor behind you is hugely beneficial, as not only will you receive a framework for compliance from the franchise’s operational policies and procedures, you should also be able to access anytime-support in all aspects of compliance, safeguarding and quality control.
Operating at the premium quality end of the market, with a client-base that is predominantly self-funded, franchise owners – like Right at Home’s - really do need to set the highest standards of care delivery.
A good, ethical franchisor’s system should furnish them with a wide range of Quality Assurance tools and tailored business support that enables you to scale up your businesses whilst maintaining the focus on quality and compliance.
Find a franchise that share your personal principles
Whilst the first 12-24 months of establishing the business can be highly challenging, a care franchise should allow you to work to your own personal principles from Day 1 and to enjoy the rewards of having a truly positive impact on people’s lives.
For example, at Right at Home we follow the ‘mum test’ of only recruiting CareGivers we would happily trust to care for our own mother. We don’t believe quality care can be delivered in short visits, therefore our preferred minimum visit is 60 minutes, which allows us to deliver care with dignity and go the extra mile to enhance our clients' quality of life. We are also absolutely committed to supporting our clients with consistent care staff, so that they can build relationships that really add to their sense of well-being.
One of the strongest incentives to enter the care sector is the reward of personal satisfaction as you witness the wide-ranging impact that a genuinely caring service can have on both an individual and their family. Operating to these values has seen us recognised as the most highly recommended national company on Homecare.co.uk, the leading independent review site for care.
Investing in a lucrative market
There has never been a better time to enter the homecare sector, providing you have the right tools with which to do the job. Demand for care in the home is growing exponentially, due to our rapidly increasing population of independent elders who have no desire to give up their daily routines or their home comforts.
Demographic data shows that the number of over 75s is going to double over the next 20 years and, like many Western societies, we are living longer lives with one in 3 children born today predicted to live to 100 years old.
The customer care expectations of ageing Baby Boomers have been met by a model of self-funded, discreet support that has emerged from America, offering holistic support that encompasses all physical, social and emotional needs and wishes.
Care franchises make their mark in the international market
Care franchises now have a considerable presence in the international franchise market; in January 2017, Right at Home was the highest-ranking care franchise in the Enterprise Top 500 franchise listing, and in the UK Right at Home and other care brands have won major BFA awards and industry accolades such as the Best Franchise Award.
While an emerging market inevitably attracts a rising level of competition, franchisees should find that the benefits of an established brand and an award-winning support system help them to establish a reputation for quality, leading to ongoing word-of-mouth referrals.
Experienced franchisors offer unrivalled support and guidance
The most significant challenge faced in the quality care sector comes from recruiting high calibre staff at a rate that allows your business to grow and meet demand.
Again, a good franchisor will provide significant support; at Right at Home our Group Head of Recruitment works with individual owners to develop creative strategies for identifying, attracting and retaining suitable candidates.
Are you right for franchising?
When considering the care sector, it is always a useful exercise to assess yourself against the recognised attributes of a successful franchisee.
For example, Right at Home franchisees must be comfortable networking and building relationships with potential referral sources and enjoy a customer-facing role in their local community.
Given the need to build up a trust-based reputation, they will have realistic expectations about the time it will take to break even – averaging around 12 months – and a determined mindset, driven by aspirations of long-term profitability built upon a well-respected brand.
Above all, at Right at Home, we look for a genuine passion for helping others. Without this, you will never stand out from the crowd; but with it, you can achieve truly astounding outcomes and build a business you can really be proud of.
About Right at Home
Right at Home is a UK-leading care service which provides high quality care, companionship and support services. To find out more about their franchise opportunity and to immediately download their FREE and non-obligatory franchise prospectus, click here.
Take a fresh look at promotional merchandise industry
When you think how you might promote and market your business, collateral such as TV, radio, posters and press may be the first mediums that spring to mind. However, it might be time to challenge that traditional thinking.
At Recognition Express we’ve spent 35 years understanding what makes a promotion successful and how to generate brand awareness. We know that promotional merchandise offers more exposure and value for money than any other advertising medium out there. In this exclusive article, we want to give you a unique insight into this thriving industry and share why franchising in it, may be a profitable route into business ownership for you.
Top results for brand awareness and promotion
94% of recipients of branded merchandise remember the product or the company for over six months.
These results, generated by using promotional products, knock the performance of traditional marketing methods out of the park. A huge amount is spent on traditional marketing methods with varying degrees of measurable success. Marketeers using promotional merchandise to target customers can be far more precise.
Marketeers have the names of everyone who received the item – and can track response rates accordingly. Compare the cost of a small advertisement, and the wastage factor of not hitting the right people, against the cost of sending out 500 pens, mouse mats or fridge magnets to individually named targets. Promotional merchandise is more cost effective and more easily measures.
Our franchises offer businesses better brand exposure
With the right product, you can ensure your brand gains maximum exposure. A mug for example will stay with a customer many times longer than a bottle of whiskey and a mouse mat serves as a constant reminder of your company.
Likewise, a well-designed fridge magnet will be seen by all the target’s family and branded USB flash drives remain one of the most sought-after corporate gifts and are used at home and in business. Used in conjunction with direct marketing, promotional products are probably the single most effective means of creating brand awareness.
As a highly-experienced franchisor, Recognition Express franchisees have the tools to confidently market the benefits of our services to clients. We have proven that, by knowing exactly who you are sending the item to, clients can opt to spend either a few pence or many pounds per unit, thus controlling their budget and turn the promotional tap on or off as business demands.
Helping businesses maximise the effect
Essentially, from our extensive experience over 35 years, we believe that there are three things a promotional item needs to be really effective – personal, usable and memorable.
If you can achieve all three at the same time you will have found the right tool to promote your business. Products that are both usable and personalised will be kept and used time after time. Let’s have a look at each of these:
52% of recipients with branded products on their desks bought products or services from those companies.
The most effective product is one which is personal to the user. People identify with their company name or even better their own name – but make sure you always check and double check logos and spellings.
Whilst a stylish pen with your name on is to be treasured and remembered, one with incorrect personalisation is also memorable but for the wrong reasons!
Thanks to digital technology, today’s marketer can order just one name badge, one mug or one t shirt at a sensible price from our franchisees – and those days of high volume minimum orders are long gone.
Over 50% of us have three or more free promotional products on our desk.
In a B2B situation you’re looking for a product that can be branded AND will stay on the recipient’s desk for as long as possible. According to the BPMA research the 10 most desk items remain:
3. Desk Pads
9. Post-It Notes
A product that’s useable is retained – a product retained is remembered and a product branded with your company details and personalised with theirs becomes a call to action.
Spend some time putting a bit of creative thought into the choice of promotional item. Find out what he or she is interested in outside work and send them a useful branded related item. For example, golf balls or ball markers are always welcomed by golfers.
Something different or particular to an event or time of the year can also have the effect of raising awareness in the mind of the recipient. A mug branded one side with your logo and personalised to the recipient on the other filled with small chocolate eggs and sent out at Easter will be remembered. Equally a chocolate advent calendar at Christmas will evoke fond childhood memories – and at the same time draw the recipient’s attention to your brand 24 times!
It’s time to take a fresh look at promotional merchandise. With thousands of products to choose from there’s the perfect item for every business and every campaign.
Recognition Express franchisees benefit from the success of promotional merchandise and the thoroughly tried-and-tested franchise model which allows them to build a thriving business within this industry. It is a win-win situation!
To find out more about Recognition Express’ franchise offering, please click here. To consider other franchises which market business or sales opportunities in a variety of capacities, please click here.
Franchising in a recession-resistant industry
Challenge: By the time you’ve read this article, try and think of a building that doesn’t contain flooring or upholstery. In the meantime, Safeclean, an expert carpet and upholstery cleaning franchise, will share why this particular industry is not just successful…but thriving.
Primarily, when you think about it, society has become a little contradictory. On one hand, we are a ‘throw away’ nation, discarding and replacing items without a second through, yet, on the other, we are cost savers and DIY lovers. The question is, what happens when your items are too valuable to rip up and replace, but a DIY job just doesn’t cut it? You call in the experts.
As a successful franchise, we have seen that carpet and upholstery care is a growing industry. In 2015 alone, the UK spent £98 million on carpet and upholstery cleaning services*.
At first glance, carpet and upholstery cleaning may not sound complex, but take a closer look and there is much more to it than meets the eye. The process of cleaning a carpet or upholstery has many components requiring knowledge of chemistry, techniques and a vast array of products. But what is you don’t have prior experience in this sector or of these technical methods? That is when franchising comes into its own….
The benefits of franchising in this sector
In simple terms, a highly-established, ethical franchise, like Safeclean, have a tried-and-tested business model for franchisees to follow. An in-depth training programme enables those who have never had any exposure or experience to become fully trained and qualified as carpet and upholstery technicians.
Within the induction programme, franchisees learn how to identify individual fibres, setting them alight and then analysing the scents and appearances they take on. For example, franchisees would learn the chemistry behind stain removal, what products contain the right chemistry to target and break down.
Marketing and customer support
Anyone who is looking to start their own franchise will know that building a successful business is much more than just learning your trade. It’s having a strong customer base and a demand for your service or product.
A franchise not only brings the training and equipment, but also the business support. Our research found that 46% of customers asked a friend or family member for a referral before choosing their service provider, showing just how important it is to get your marketing pitch right.
A recession-proof franchise
From our experience, carpet and upholstery cleaning seems pretty recession proof – many of our franchisees who testify to this have 30+ years of experience, so are in the know! When times are tough, customers aren’t in a position to replace their items, so being traditional Brits, they look to make do and mend.
That means that when their carpet, sofa or curtains are looking a bit tired, they’re looking to bring them back to life, not just replace them. That’s where a Safeclean technician comes in - they can do a thorough and professional job to achieve the desired results. And when times aren’t so tough? Customers are buying new furniture, and having it protected or they have the spare cash to just spruce up their furnishings.
Offering customers a cost-effective price
Techniques within the carpet and upholstery care industry are getting smarter and it’s reflected in the pricing. In 2015 the average value of each job was over £100. Testing and development is showing that materials we once thought were untouchable can now be regularly cleaned – think suedes and antique rugs.
We’re even able to provide our services to organisations such as the National Trust, caring for rugs and wall hangings – centuries old, carefully restoring them to their former glory.
Knowing the pros and cons
Whilst it is a trade that can be taught, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s a physical job that requires a certain level of brute strength, determination and commitment to work hard.
With this in mind, to succeed as a franchisee, we highly recommend that you do your due-diligence before investing in a franchise and ensure you are a good fit for what the franchise demands of you.
At the start of this article we challenged you to think of a building which doesn’t have flooring or upholstery and we bet you couldn’t think of one.
Whether it’s a domestic customer or a commercial client, their property will contain at least one type of flooring or upholstery. That means that every single building is a potential customer and with an ever-increasing housing market the demand is only going to grow.
*Source: Guardsman Furniture Repair Market Research 2015
To find out more about Safeclean's established franchise business, please click here. To look at other franchise within the 'Cleaning' sector, please click here; alternatively, to consider 'Property Maintenance and DIY' franchise opportunities, click here
Franchising at the Heart of your Community
Pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV and you are likely to hear stories about the care sector – how demand for care is outstripping supply, the need for integration and more joined-up thinking between the NHS and the private sector for the delivery of social care in the UK.
Bluebird Care has responded to this demand and, in this exclusive article, we share our insights into this thriving industry and explains what it takes to be an industry leader.
The Care Industry: A Lucrative Market
In a market experiencing incredible growth (which is set to continue) and technology revolutionising how businesses operate, good franchisors are rolling out exciting innovations to ensure that they stay ahead of the game.
Consider what investments are being made by franchisors you are looking at. For example, one such invest investment we are making at Bluebird Care is our marketing materials. By refreshing them, we have helped franchise owners recruit the very best care assistants… which, in turn, facilitate the growth of their businesses.
Franchising: A replicated business model
The biggest challenge in any business is replicating the passion and dedication of the original business owner through the franchise growth journey. It is essential to remember that a good, ethical franchisor will have successfully & safely grown the business in this demanding sector.
Make sure you do your due-diligence and ensure that your investment enables you the best possible training and help at every stage of your franchise journey.
You should expect a high level of support from regionally based Business Development Managers and Quality Managers, like we do at Bluebird Care. This ensures that you can develop the business at a strategic level, whilst relying on your teams of dedicated staff to deliver exceptional care through following the carefully regulated businesses processes and procedures.
Find a franchise with values that match your own
Recruiting ‘community-focussed entrepreneurs’, who are a good match for the values of our franchise, is at the heart of our success and you should ensure that, when you are researching franchisors, that you consider what values they hold dear. Do they match your own principles?
It has been our experience that franchisees who share the same values as their franchisor, will recruit care assistants who similarly share these values and, subsequently, offer the “By Your Side” care you want for each and every family they help. It is a win-win situation.
Characteristics you will need to thrive in this industry
Key characteristics which we see time and time again across the network, which makes a success of this particular business, are communication, leadership, ability to empower teams, and the desire to succeed. Do you have these qualities?
An ethical franchise like ours is a very scalable business, it is important that business owners enjoy recruiting teams of people-focussed carers. Consider if you would enjoy managing others? Are you a people-person? Do you have what it takes to be a leader to your staff?
Striving to be a leader in the sector
Good franchisors, like Bluebird Care, work hard to change the perception of working in care. By striving to become an employer of choice in each area, through providing award winning training programmes and ensuring staff feel a valued member of the team, has made a difference for many business owners in this competitive market.
From our experience, care franchises that immerse themselves in their local communities ensure their brand is very visible and enables the business to deliver care to a diverse customer-base. At Bluebird Care we offer top-quality care to older people and also customers with physical or learning disabilities, or maybe recovering from a stroke or head injury.
With an aging population of 65+ set to increase 48% over the next 20 years and an estimated market value of £20 billion per annum, investing in an ethical care franchise has never been more attractive.
The Greeting Card sector that creates special moments
The greeting card industry is a huge market, with greeting cards been sent or exchanged between people for many different occasions and reasons, a few examples being birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Mother´s day Valentines plus many more reasons. Have a look at the stats…
- The UK greeting card market is worth GBP 1,6 billion, more than coffee and tea combined.
- 7 billion greeting cards are sold every year in the USA.
- Swedish consumers send 30 million Christmas cards every year.
- In the Netherlands people purchase 27 greeting cards per person/year
- 600 million greeting cards are sold every year in Germany.
Why the greeting card industry is still thriving…
Consider how feel when you receive a greeting card? It makes you feel very special when you´re holding the card and you can read a personalised handwritten note on the inside of the card, this delivers a strong & deep sense of emotion within you.
Receiving a text message does not deliver the same emotions, it is not as personal as a card is & never will be. Card Group creates and delivers these “special and happy moments”, with their unique designs that are created with love and passion in their own design studio in Sweden.
Offering a new concept to become leaders in the sector
20 years ago, when Card Group first started, we discovered that there was a big gap in the market for something new and different. Greeting cards and stickers have all looked the same for decades with very standard designs, quality and few finishes. Stores must also often buy the stock including unsold products.
If you should look at different greeting card franchises, you will see that Card Group developed a Different concept from competitors with Next Generation Designs: Designs that are completely different and not comparable to competitors.
It is important to offer products that stand out from the crowd; Card Group designs are unique in their shapes, materials, colors, themes, styles and finishes and is the only card company that truly follows current & future trends.
With a different merchandising service offered and with franchisees, their service to their customers/shops is on a totally different level when compared with all other companies that are working with employed people. Card Group offers all products on consignment to their customers/shops, which ensures that there is no risk or investment required for the shops.
About Card Group
Card Group International was established in Sweden in 1997 and is a world leading Greeting card and gift franchise. They have Master Franchise offices in 45 countries worldwide and we are now expanding into the UK market.
Benefiting from a repeat and referral business
Market research shows that over more than two thirds (69%) of the 34 million vehicles on the UK roads suffer from minor car damage which can be rectified by mobile automotive repair franchises. This means that franchisees in the industry can enjoy massive demand from a rapidly growing market, which we estimate to be worth over £3.6 billion.
Furthermore, an increasing number of car owners are beginning to learn of the time and money-saving benefits of recruiting a mobile automotive franchise to repair their vehicle. As more customers learn that there is a practical and cost effective alternative to local body shops and rectifying their car damage through their insurance policy, the market will keep on growing.
Opportunity to do something you love
If you like cars and motors, then an automotive repair franchise is a perfect opportunity for you to combine your passion with your career!
Not only does an automotive repair franchise enable you generate a high level of turnover through a proven business model, it also gives you the opportunity to work on a wide range vehicles and do something that you enjoy, ultimately providing you with a happier life.
Loyal, repeat market place
The automotive repair sector benefits from an excellent level of repeat and referral business, as more and more customers become aware of the benefits of using a mobile franchisee.
At ChipsAway franchise, for example, recommendation is one of the main drivers of consumer leads. Customers are so impressed with the outstanding quality of their repair and the convenience of the service, that they tell all their friends and family all about the company who has come to repair their vehicle!
Management expansion opportunities
In a market which is growing in demand, owning your own automotive repair franchise provides excellent opportunities for expansion as your become more established in your local territory.
Depending on your business ambitions, it is possible to expand from a single operator by taking on new staff, develop into a multi-van and multi-unit operation and purchase a larger territory, which will give you access to a higher number of customers and vehicles.
Established over 20 years and as the originators of minor automotive paint repair technology, ChipsAway have built a fantastic reputation for providing high quality repairs to minor car paintwork scratches, bumper scuffs, alloy wheels, smart repairs and dents to car body work.
Thriving in the logistics sector
Most sectors are now highly competitive with hundreds of businesses targeting the same customers. With so many ways for customers to shop around and to discover information on a certain brand, it is essential that your business stays ahead of the competition. By investing in a franchise business with a highly-experienced franchisor and support team, you gain essential knowledge to help you achieve this.
In this exclusive article, InXpress, a global provider of shipping solutions, gives you their unique insight into the logistics sector and what to consider when you are researching franchises in this industry.
By the end of 2015, revenue in the courier, express, and parcel sector was forecast to reach £7.6 billion and has proven to increase year on year.
Although we have seen a growing demand for courier services in the UK, the recent economic downturn has created a shift in demand for lower cost courier and parcel service solutions. Consider how franchises responded to this change…
As an example, InXpress responded by leveraging global agreements with world-class carriers to secure preferential rates and provide international express, domestic express, freight and mail services to customers.
Top Class customer service
Excellent customer service should be at the heart of every business; with happy and satisfied customers, you gain loyal, repeat customers who refer your services to others!
We believe that there are so many ways to keep your customer service in order and on top form. Although refining and honing your franchise’s customer service may take extra resources, time and money, it will pay dividends in the long-term. Consider how franchises deal with customers…
For instance, InXpress franchisees and employees are trained to offer the best customer service that follows a set standard and ethos, and they find that this keeps their customers coming back time and time again.
In your research, find out if the logistical franchises you are looking at are reliant on technology or not. This is essential as more and more people now turn to it for their customer service needs. Ensure that you choose a franchise where your product, service and customer support team are all easily accessible.
Having adequate technology in place within your business will increase the ease of purchase for customers and therefore increase your sales. When you are researching franchises, ask the franchisor about how they provide customer service online and offline, as well as the usability of their digital platforms.
At InXpress, we know that our market and technology is constantly changing and developing. We consistently innovate and improve our service to make sure that our franchisees stay ahead of the competition. Our technology is regularly updated to meet growing demands and changes to make the process as easy as possible, giving our franchisees more time to go out and gain recurring customers.
Most people now shop around for the best price when making a purchase, so you need to make sure that your franchise’s price is competitive as well as profitable. Good Franchisors keep a finger on the pulse in terms of the demand for your product or service and understand the range of price.
As an example, at InXpress we leverage our global agreements with world-class carriers to secure preferential rates and provide international, domestic, freight and mail services to customers. Due to our innovative systems, which are specifically adapted to both customer and franchisee needs, we are able to offer competitive prices with reduced overheads.
Taking the above into account, when researching franchises within the logistics sector, make sure that you compare the market prices thoroughly and do your due diligence on the quality of online and offline services they offer customers, as well as the business model you would be following.
Care franchises answer the demand for high-quality services
The UK Care sector has seen more than its fair share of negative press. It seems that week in week out the media pick up on one bad news story after another. However, what they don't talk about is the wonderful, heart warming, inspiring work that goes on each and every day across the country by family carers, care professionals, neighbours and friends.
Increase in demand for high-quality care
The UK population is ageing and this is a trend that is set to increase year on year and shows no signs of stopping.
The baby boomer post war generation benefitted from greater job security and significant house price gains giving them the opportunity to build a retirement nest egg. This generation are now coming to the age where they are requiring care and support.
Opportunity for franchise businesses
Whilst the government and local councils wrangle over funding adult social care properly, it creates opportunities for franchisees entering the home care market to establish themselves as a private care agency of choice in their local area - thus avoiding the low paid and low quality end of the market which feeds the negative headlines in the papers each week.
There are millions of baby boomers to whom it has become ingrained to pay a higher amount for specialist products or services where they perceive an enhanced experience or greater value and this extends to the care provider they choose.
Explore the many different care services on offer
With the private elderly care market opportunity being at an all time high it is not surprising that there are many home care companies offering franchises in the sector at the moment.
There are a range of different types of businesses on offer ranging from purely marketing franchises or recruitment agencies operating in the care sector through to those that are full service and expect their franchisees to cover all aspects of care delivery ranging from children with disabilities through to adults with behavioural problems.
It is important for prospective franchisees to explore the range of opportunities and determine for themselves what area of care they feel comfortable with and what level of business risk they are willing to expose themselves to.
Skills and characteristics needed to be a care franchisee
Whichever type of care franchise you decide upon - it is hard work. It requires people management, significant marketing effort and logistics planning.
However there is one universal characteristic that being part of the care sector brings - it is humbling. It allows you to get a true understanding and admiration for the human spirit both in its most joyful and most heartbreaking of times.
It takes a special person to want to become involved in this sector but if you enjoy people and truly want to make a difference then this could be the right choice for you.
Radfield Home Care
At Radfield Home Care, we provide specialist domiciliary care services for elderly who live at home. To find out more about what we do and the franchise opportunity we offer, please click here.
Working within a £billion sector with a virtually untapped marketplace
In the last 3 years, the UK’s domestic cleaning sector has grown by 91%, and the market is currently estimated to be worth £2.86 billion. Research has shown that Ovenclean operators currently deal with less than 1% of potential demand across the UK.
With over 26 million households in the UK alone, oven cleaners will benefit from a huge, virtually untapped marketplace as well as growing demand from emerging business markets – after all, everyone has an oven that will need cleaning at some point!
Loyal, repeat marketplace
Research carried out by Braun CareStyle reveal that oven cleaning is the most hated household chore, with a third (30%) of individuals across all generation claiming that they least enjoy scrubbing the oven. So once customers become aware of the incredible benefits of having their oven cleaned, they will never look back!
At Ovenclean, for example, we are able to drive demand through repeat and referral recommendations due to word-of-mouth and a wealth of satisfied customers. Ovenclean franchisees can restore the sparkle to ovens in just a few hours – results which would not be achievable by a customer on their own. Therefore, customers want their oven cleaned time and time again and will tell all their friends and family about the company who has come to clean it!
Opportunity for growth
Due to oven cleaning belonging to a sector which is rapidly growing in demand, there will be opportunities to grow and expand your business.
Depending on your business ambitions, you will have the chance to take on new staff, new territories and turn your business into a multi-van operation.
Oven cleaning as a career that is also very rewarding. Rejuvenating a dirty oven into a sparkling clean one is almost guaranteed to put a smile on customers faces, and the feedback and remarks from customers evoke a tremendous amount of satisfaction!
What’s more, an oven cleaning franchise usually benefits from low overheads, a high level of profitability and an easy-to-learn business model, which can be shaped to the individual’s life style and business ambitions. This means that franchisees can maintain an excellent work life balance, leading to a happier life.
Ovenclean is the UK’s original oven cleaning service with over 20 years’ experience. More about their franchise opportunity can be found here.
Making a profit from pizza
By Anthony Round, Business Development Manager, Papa John’s
Over the past 30 years, the UK pizza industry has grown into a thriving market. According to Pizza Delivery & Takeaway in the UK: Market Research Report 2016, the industry is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 5.4% over the five years through 2015-16.
In the early days names like Pizzaland to Pizza Hut and Perfect Pizza, caught the imagination of the public. Consumers were looking for a tasty fast meal at a reasonable price. The benefits of convenience and affordability have now developed the UK pizza scene into an industry worth an estimated £2 billion in the UK today.
In more recent years customer demand has become more refined and a sophisticated customer base demands excellent customer service and a premium product.
As an illustration of the rise of the popularity of quality pizza in the UK, Papa John’s was founded in the USA in 1984 and first launched in the UK 16 years ago. Now, there are well over than 300 stores across the Nation. The franchise’s popularity doesn’t stop there however, the company now has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories across the globe.
Many changes have shaped the industry over the years. Home delivery was a major introduction and now online ordering is taking over as the way to order a favourite pizza treat, with increasing numbers of customers having never visited a store at all.
Achieving Repeat Sales
One aspect of the industry that is critical, is the degree of repeat business it is possible to create. Competition is fierce as you would expect in any mature marketplace.
Repeat customers will only keep coming back for more if they are impressed about all aspects of the buying journey from their initial enquiry to the lay out of the store (if they visit it at all), to the openness and efficiency of the staff to the delivery of the product. 30 years ago there was little choice however, now, customer loyalty has to be earned.
At Papa John’s during our new franchisees’ first training days we get them to sample all the different pizzas available on the high street. As well as introducing a little market research of our own, this allows franchisees to benchmark their future offering against the competition. We emphasise ‘keeping the main thing, the main thing’: we will not compromise on the product. Produce a better product with better ingredients and keep the quality consistent and the customers will return. However, creating the perfect product is not enough on its own. Franchisees must lead on delivery, service speed, scrupulous store cleanliness, staff training and in fact, every aspect of the franchise operation.
One interesting aspect about the pizza industry is that it seems less influenced by economic uncertainly than other food industries.
It is less expensive to have a delivery pizza than to take the family out for a meal for example. If the delivery companies have done their job properly, when the economic climate improves, customer loyalty will remain because of the better product quality.
Managing a store
When it comes to managing a pizza store it is important to understand and appreciate the overall customer experience. Staff need to be recruited and trained to provide a great product and service. Plus there is marketing and fulfilment to manage.
The role has huge variety and no two days are ever the same! The good news is that when you buy into a pizza franchise all training to enable you to run a successful outlet is provided. Ongoing support is also at the end of the phone. It is in the franchisor’s interest to see you succeed!
Papa John’s is one of the largest pizza delivery franchise companies in the world. More about their franchise opportunity can be found here.
Franchising in the greetings card industry
By Michael Johnson, Managing Director, Card Connection
Figures from the Greeting Card Association (GCA) put the UK greetings card market at £1.6 billion at retail. The GCA 2015 market survey also suggests 878.8 million single cards were sold in 2014 which was an increase on the previous year by more than 7%.
Have you ever thought about how many cards you send each year? In the UK ‘sending a card’ remains a popular cultural activity regardless of the economic climate. In-fact at Card Connection we have seen some of our high value cards being sent instead of a gift when it’s time for consumers to tighten their belts where spending is concerned.
Although no industry is recession proof, it has weathered the storm of recent economic uncertainty and sales in this established market have continued to remain stable.
Interestingly more women send greetings cards than men. The GCA survey suggests 85% of cards are bought by women. It is important to understand these industry statistics when selling greetings cards and as a franchisor we have studied them in depth to ensure our franchisees know how to design displays to appeal to the right customer demographic.
How customers browse and buy cards is also fascinating. Research that has been undertaken has given rise to how shop displays are organised. We encourage our franchisees to lay out greeting cards to a plan which reflects the ‘circle of life’ with birthdays on the left, moving across to wedding, anniversary, age and relations to sympathy on the far right – plus plenty in between! This researched, ‘formula’ for planned displays has helps maximise sales for retailers and franchisee alike.
Distress purchasing is also an interesting phenomenon in the industry. This is where the consumer may have forgotten to purchase a card, or chooses to buy one ‘en-route’ to meet the recipient. Therefore, we see sales in forecourts where these ‘distress purchasers’ are prepared to pay a premium price for cards, suddenly revealing a great market opportunity for suppliers!
When we interview a new franchisee they often ask about Christmas! It is a big sales opportunity but interestingly sales across the industry only rise by 13% at this time of year which again shows the strength of every day sales of cards.
Although this is a seasonal business ‘bread and butter’ card sales tend to be in birthdays, congratulations, wedding, anniversary, get well and many events which happen throughout the calendar year. Occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter are the icing on the cake as far as sales are concerned!
Unique distribution service
Methods of distribution of cards vary. Some retailers buy wholesale and some have card publisher designed displays. However, Card Connection works a little differently where greetings cards are supplied by the franchisee to the retailer on a ‘consignment’ basis.
This means stock and display equipment are ‘on loan’ and the retailer only pays for what they sell. The franchisee visits the stores regularly to merchandise displays and supply new and seasonal stock. This creates a win-win situation for both franchisee and retailer and has proved popular over more than two decades.
The greetings card market is one we are all familiar with as we will all have bought a card at some point! However, there is more to it than one might realise. From the design team that go into the process of developing cards based on trends to the various distribution methods and displays designed to tempt buying behaviour. For new franchisees there is a learning curve, however, the rewards are many including working in a flexible creative sector where no two days are exactly the same.
Card Connection is one of the UK’s leading greeting card distribution franchises. More about their franchise opportunity can be found here.
A healthy looking for organic produce
When veg boxes first entered the market, they were much more than just a box full of vegetables. They enabled small scale farmers to earn a living and bridge the gap between the field and the table, cutting out the middle man (mainly supermarkets) and reducing food miles. Today the competition amongst box schemes is on the increase but those founding principles still remain.
After a worrying dip following the last recession, the latest Soil Association report states that the organic market is looking healthy again, in fact for its third consecutive year it has seen growth and is currently worth nearly £2 billion. This growth has been reflected in Riverford Organic Farmers’ sales, which has shown an 8% increase in sales on the prior year.
Growth in the industry
Riverford remains one of the largest and leading home delivery schemes but competition is growing. Over the last year, new smaller box schemes entering the market has increased by 11%.
To remain competitive, companies have to stay relevant and original. For Riverford, that’s been done by introducing new product lines and listening to what customers want.
The overall growth in the organic market is primarily down to the great work bodies like the Soil Association have been doing. Promotion of organic products is high and consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what they are eating and where their food has come from.
There is obviously some concern following the recent referendum result, but as yet, it is too early to establish how or even if, Brexit will affect the organic market over the next couple of years. For the moment though, the market continues to out-perform the non-organic grocery market which has seen a decrease. In the same period organic sales saw a growth of 4.9% whilst non-organic saw a drop of 0.9%.
Role of social media
Social media is playing a big part in increasing awareness, with more and more people interacting, sharing news, recipes and experiences online and taking more responsibility for their carbon footprint.
Riverford has encouraged online interaction with their brand by launching its dedicated recipe channel on YouTube; a marketing tool that has proven to be effective at engaging customers.
Research has shown that the highest increase of people purchasing organic produce are the 18-29 year olds. Awareness amongst the millennial generation suggests they are more likely to purchase organic food to fit their personal health and wellbeing lifestyle, choosing quality and provenance.
Recognising the benefits of organic produce
There are five main reasons why consumers are switching to organic products, these stated as being: no pesticides, better flavour, more environmentally friendly, higher animal welfare and quality of food.
Fruit and vegetables are being cited as the first products consumers make the organic switch to when adopting a more organic lifestyle.The increase in home deliveries can also be attributed to the fact many supermarkets have reduced their organic product lines and given up shelf space to other goods.Consumers are now choosing a home delivery and shopping at smaller stores instead. By doing this they are also supporting smaller, independent businesses.
Even cost conscious consumers are switching to home delivery box schemes in an effort to avoid the trappings of the supermarkets and that £20 shop for a pint of milk that most of us have experienced.
Riverford have had to adapt to the change in habits over time. Consumers that were once happy to receive the same vegetables week in and week out as long as it was organic have now been replaced with those that want variety and the option to substitute items they don’t like.
Customers want to be able to make an interesting meal and learn new techniques along the way. This obstacle is being overcome with the introduction of tailor made recipe cards, cooking hints and tips and the ever increasingly popular recipe box range.
On the whole this is an exciting time to become involved in the organic market. Customers are historically loyal, once they’ve settled in to life with a veg box. As long as the customer receives great produce and service, a business within this sector will flourish and remain profitable.
Riverford Organic is a multi-award-winning organic delivery franchise business. More about their franchise opportunity can be found here.