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Entrepreneurs: the future is franchise

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In the current economic climate, anyone thinking about starting up their own business has to be more careful than ever. But investing in a franchise could be a much safer and viable alternative than starting from scratch. According to Lloyds TSB, franchising contributes £10.8bn to the UK economy and most banks are willing to put as much as 70 per cent of the startup costs in to an established franchise. Thus showing that by purchasing a franchise you are already buying into an established concept.

One local business man who owns franchises of recruitment brands Select Appointments and Parkhouse Recruitment has turned the businesses around and become a successful entrepreneur.

Darren Leppard has the following tips for all entrepreneurs considering the franchise route:

• The first thing to think about when taking on a franchise is the type of business you want to run, some franchises are aimed at you being a single person business and others are based on you employing staff to work in the business for or with you. Decide how you would prefer to operate your franchise in advance.

• If the franchise you choose involves hiring staff one of my top tips is to ensure that you look for certain qualities in staff such as good work ethic, honesty and reliability, over and above academic qualifications or previous experience. Skills can be learned, honesty and moral fibre can’t.

• Don’t forget to think about what it is you want to achieve in the long term. Franchising is not for everyone and it can be a long slog for new franchisees. If you are looking for a quick buck, it may not be the route for you. Franchising can be extremely hard at times. However if you have the drive, determination and attitude it can be a life changing decision.

• The most important step is to look at what your prospective franchisor is offering and what support they are giving you. For me, the whole reason for going down the franchise route was to have a proven business system from a reputable brand who only earns money from my business if I am making money. That way, it is in the franchisors interest to support you.

• Franchising is not for everyone but the major plus points with the Select franchise has been the fact that it has given me the best of both worlds, the independence of my own agency with the back up of a larger company to support me. During a recession, that safety net has never been more valuable.

Leppard concludes: “I think there will be some fantastic opportunities for entrepreneurs who are looking to start new businesses, but I would say there are some very good franchise models out there and some not so good. Do your homework and checkout feedback from existing franchisees and customers. That’s the best way to weed out the cowboys.“

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