While we’re now seeing the light at the end of the five-year tunnel of recession, there’s little doubt that it’s had a massive impact on many areas of life. For a start, self-employment figures have rocketed as people look to make their own success instead of relying on others. Between 2008 and 2012, for example, the number of Brits who class themselves as self-employed increased by 367,000, with 60 per cent of the growth occurring in the final 12 months of that period.
The growth can be attributed to a couple of things; for a start, the downturn caused many people to lose their jobs as businesses were forced to cut costs wherever possible. Many of those who struggled to find their way back into work decided to take things into their own hands by choosing to become self-employed. Others saw the recession as the push they needed to move on and fulfil their lifelong ambitions of actually becoming a business owner.
As economic optimism begins to pick up, this trend not only remains, but has extended to other, seemingly less-likely demographic groups. It’s now more normal for example, for university graduates and even college-leavers to move straight into business ownership. One route many of these young entrepreneurs are deciding to take is that of franchising, but what exactly does it have to offer that the alternatives don’t?
An easier way in
Running a business will never be easy at first – after all, this is why it’s often such a rewarding thing to do. For someone who has never considered it before, the whole idea can be extremely daunting. It requires a lot of preparation and planning, with copious amounts of hard work, a crucial ingredient to success. It is usually a case of navigating a challenging uphill road before any of the prizes are realised. Buying a franchise, however, can be a great way to eradicate some of the setting up on your own pitfalls.
For yourself, not by yourself
Running a franchise gives you, as a young entrepreneur, the space and opportunities to fulfil your potential with the invaluable backing of an established and trusted name. Without years of experience to draw from, mistakes will be inevitable; this is, after all, how we tend to learn. With an experienced franchisor behind you, however, you have a ready-built knowledge base in place to help you avoid making any of the errors that would normally come up in the early stages of conventional business ownership.
The all-important brand image
As well as the franchisor’s ongoing support, you can also expect to benefit from their branding efforts. This means you don’t have to deal with the challenge of building up a recognisable and effective image of your own, which is undoubtedly one of the most time-consuming tasks a new business owner would usually face.
Of course, the extent to which you benefit from this ready-made brand image will depend on the reputation of the business you choose. If you were to buy into a business which has a poor reputation among consumers, you could well be giving yourself even more work to do as you’ll be forced to change people’s opinions before making any progress.
Just add enthusiasm
While it’d be wrong to generalise, young people who still have a whole life’s worth of career-building ahead of them often have a lot more enthusiasm than those who have been working for decades already. With only a few years’ experience of conventional employment – or perhaps none at all – you’re likely to be brimming with optimism about the possibilities ahead. Franchises provide the perfect outlet for this excitement as they require a certain level of fresh thinking and can help you to avoid some of the pitfalls normally associated with entrepreneurialism.
A growing number of franchising companies are realising that embracing youth and the fresh thinking that tends to come with it is a good way to get results in increasingly competitive markets. While raw energy and a fearless drive to succeed could lead to costly mistakes during the early days of a traditional business, the support provided by a franchisor’s experience mean that potential can really be fulfilled.
According to a survey from ‘Start your own Business 2012’, 82 per cent of current business owners fall into the 35 – 64 age bracket, with NatWest data showing that the average franchisee is 49 years old. However, more and more twenty-somethings are seeing entrepreneurship as the best way to reach their own potential. While the general benefits of franchising are there for everyone to see, it’s important to realise how many of them are even more applicable and relevant to those who are just starting out in their career journeys.