When starting to look at franchise opportunities, if it’s all new to you you’ll quickly recognise the franchise brands you’ve probably already seen lots of times on the high street. Once you start to dig a little further you’ll soon discover that franchising covers a multitude of industries and within those industries, the opportunity to sell to a niche market.
Whilst becoming a franchisee of a well known fast food or high street outlet might be the perfect choice for you, it’s certainly worth keeping your options open and looking at a number of very successful niche brands that might better suit your skills, drive, motivation and commitments.
So what is a niche market?
As you’d expect, a niche is a small space. Niche franchise opportunities are most likely to target a more specific, focused market.
As with any opportunity there are pros and cons to this and you need to weigh them up with your needs and wants in mind.
Some examples of a niche market could be as follows
- Fast food: The vegan market
- Recruitment: Transport and logistics sector
- Finance: Invoice or factoring services
- Fitness and health: Targeting the 60+ market
It’s important to remember that a niche market, business or franchise opportunity shouldn’t be and isn’t a fad or novelty. Whilst a franchise looking to service the latest ‘hot’ thing is exciting, it’s likely interest will wear off over time and your business, most probably, will eventually, have to change or fail.
Is it risky?
There’s a risk element in starting any new business. Going down the franchise route is an excellent way to decrease many of the risk factors.
In order to further decrease those risk factors when choosing a franchise that operates within a niche, you should consider the following.
- Always check the likely life span of the franchise you are looking to buy.
- Ask yourself and your friends if there is indeed a market?
- Ask the franchisor about how they believe the business will grow over the next five to ten years and why they believe this is the case.
- How successful has the franchise been over time?
Any business that looks to expand through franchising should have, at the very least, been running the business successfully for several years in order to illustrate the operation of a proven business model.
Any franchises that you choose to visit should also provide you with an opportunity to speak to any of their existing franchisees so you can listen to the views of those already running a business in that particular market.
At Driver Hire, we’ll provide you with a full list of our franchisees to talk to over the phone or visit. You decide who you want to talk to.
If the franchise is brand new and targeting a previously untapped niche market you could benefit from higher potential and rewards, but this also means that the level of risk is much higher. Are you prepared to take that risk and be part of the trial? It is quite often said that if it seems too good to be true then it probably is.
As always do your research and thoroughly. Google doesn’t have all the answers and some footwork, visiting the territory you are looking to buy should also be considered.
Technology and the internet have helped many businesses move into niche markets, as the ability to find and target your chosen market has become easier and cheaper. Websites, forums and social media have also made it easier for businesses to come across as experts in their field.
If you’re looking at a number of similar franchise options observe which brands come across as the expert and or work with leading industry bodies. Are they portrayed positively in the news? Are they winning any awards? If an established franchise, do they look at new technologies or innovative products to keep with the times and adjust to meet the needs of their market?
So what are the benefits?
A niche franchise means you won’t be trying to market to the masses. Therefore you can usually act smarter and be clever and targeted with your marketing.
As mentioned, the rise of the internet and social media can help you to develop a marketing strategy that fits your market and your budget. A good franchisor will already cover this or provide you with the tools to deliver relevant and timely marketing messages.
Working in a niche market can also mean you have less competition, or at least, less direct competition.
This doesn’t mean you can expect your customers to come banging down your door – you will still need to work hard in finding them and keeping them. Providing a high level of customer service which feels unique to the customer can go a long way and this is something that isn’t always possible to achieve in a mass market.
Once you’ve done your research, asked all your questions and seen as many people as possible, crucial elements that will help to make your franchise work is your passion and drive to make the business succeed.
This is especially so in a niche market where your clients will also be passionate, sensitive or particularly in need of the products or services you will deliver.
The opportunities to suit you are out there if you take the time to look past the high street brands, and uncover some of the more interesting options.
Driver Hire, a management franchise has been in business for over 30 years and franchising since 1987. Franchisees offer a temporary and permanent recruitment service to the transport and logistics market, a niche market within the recruitment sector.
Franchise opportunities are available within the UK. Initial investment is from £35,000.
For further information call Kasia Baldwin on 01274 361073
Written by Kasia on behalf of www.franchiseinfo.co.uk as a contribution to their general franchise advice features.