Whether you’re an experienced franchisee, a budding entrepreneur, or a seasoned business owner looking for your next opportunity, the decision to take on a new franchise is a big one and is not something that should be taken lightly.
With thousands of different franchise opportunities available, it can be hard to determine what best suits your skillset and which opportunity is a solid one that will provide a good return on investment.
From home improvement and cleaning companies to fast food restaurants and takeaway services, the opportunities within the franchise sector are endless. However, there is one emerging pattern that is widespread throughout the sector: the rise of sustainable franchise opportunities.
Sustainability has longevity
With the typical franchisee agreement term being 10 years, it is so important that when investing in a franchise, you are confident in its potential and its longevity over the next 10 years. A sustainable offering helps provide the reassurance that the business will continue to evolve and develop to meet consumer demands.
Over the past few years, conscious consumerism has dramatically increased. Now, more than ever before, consumers are making their purchasing decisions based on the ethical, and environmental, impact of the products or services they purchase.
The impact of these shopping behaviors has been felt by companies across the U.K., with 78 per cent of companies expecting their sales to grow through a greater focus on sustainability. Companies that do not embrace this purpose-driven approach risk losing out on business and being left behind by their competitors.
This trend has trickled across into the franchise sector too. Franchisors are also needing to review their offering to provide sustainable opportunities that serve as a USP for potential franchisees. With hundreds of different franchise opportunities, the industry is a competitive one and in a similar vein to B2C companies needing to embrace this approach to secure work, franchisors must do the same. Providing a sustainable business opportunity helps differentiate a franchise business and will often be the tipping point that encourages a franchisee to invest.
A notable USP
As a franchisor myself, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact that a sustainable offering has had on the business. Not only have we been able to offer something to potential franchisees that others could not, but we can also offer our franchisees a USP when selling our products/services.
A sustainable offering with an environmental focus has helped ensure our franchisees are standing head and shoulders above competitors and is therefore providing a more profitable business opportunity.
From my own perspective as a franchisor, we have seen around 70 per cent of our franchisees come on board because of our sustainable product offering, with many stating that it was the deciding factor that helped them choose Oltco over another franchising opportunity.
In the early stages, we have also seen prospective franchisees asking more questions regarding sustainability so I’ve definitely seen the topic shift to the forefront of people’s thinking.
Influence spending habits
The financial benefits of a sustainable offering don’t just come in the form of standing out from competitors, either; a survey conducted in 2021 also found that 66 per cent of global consumers were willing to pay more for sustainable goods.
Customers will always vote with their spend and as a result, the franchisee and franchisor have to be continually thinking about how they can be more sustainable in the future as well as what they are doing currently as a business.
This is obviously beneficial from a sustainability position but it also makes sense in terms of business. Businesses want to be seen as consistently doing the right thing by the environment so I think we are going to continue to see improvement in this area.
It’s important that when investing in a franchise opportunity that presents a sustainable offering, you fully understand the ethical or environmental credentials behind this. Is the product actually sustainable? Is it having a positive impact on the environment? Does the company truly care about being sustainable or is this a tick-box exercise? The latter is often the most important factor to consider. Before investing, take the time to look at the whole picture from both a financial and values-led approach.
In the franchise industry, we have the luxury of multiple business owners sharing best practice which definitely helps to bring about positive change and at a faster rate. I think this will stand the industry in good stead as franchisors will always be reflecting on what more can be done.
Johnny Pearce is the director of Oltco, the U.K.’s leading sustainable resin driveway specialists.