Whether you are already running a business in the U.K, or looking to bring a brand from overseas, these are the key pointers to maximize your success
1. Know what you’re trying to achieve
What are your actual objectives for the business? Without clarity over exactly what you are trying to achieve, there is no way of telling whether or not you are trading successfully.
2. Know why you’re trying to achieve it
Business objectives must align with personal goals; otherwise, the fire within you to drive the business forward could be lacking. The ‘why’ might be to grow the business to pass on to the next generation of your family, or to develop the business rapidly for sale in five years’ time. Clarity around the what and the why are essential components to achieving business success.
3. Have and maintain an up-to-date business plan with projections
At Hitachi Capital Franchise Finance, we liken a business plan to a business ‘sat nav’ – a roadmap taking you from where you are now to where you want to be in the future. A good plan will detail your business objectives, strategies, marketing and sales proposals, SWOT and competitor analysis, and detailed financial projections. The business environment is fastpaced and ever-evolving, so your plan needs to be a living document that is tweaked and updated to reflect the specific market and business conditions.
4. Track your actual progress against that plan
All too often, a business plan is written merely to satisfy the requirements of a franchise lender, then hidden away in the bottom drawer after a loan is sanctioned, never to see the light of day again – why? Track your actual performance against the milestones set out in your plan! You’d be amazed at how powerful your output can prove to be, by giving yourself the data you need to make well-informed business decisions.
5. KPI selection and analysis
There will be a selection of key performance indicators (KPIs) that are most pertinent to you and your business. Trying to monitor every single available KPI is likely to prove too time-consuming, and you run the risk of ‘analysis paralysis’. Instead, drill down to those KPIs that really have the most significant impact on business performance.
Conduct trend analysis on these KPIs:
• Are trends positive or negative?
• What is driving them?
• Is there an opportunity or threat that needs to be addressed imminently?
This information is vital to achieving business stability and growth – act on the intelligence provided.
6. Select the right partners
You are in business for yourself, but not by yourself; there is a network of support available for you. It’s important you do your due diligence on the support available and take advice from those you truly trust, avoiding those with ulterior motives. Especially if coming to the U.K. from overseas, the value of local knowledge must not be underestimated.
“Don’t be fearful of asking for assistance; the U.K. franchise industry is highly collaborative”
7. Look for clubs or business groups of likeminded people
Within the franchise industry, you will be able to access networking and development groups for people with similar goals and objectives. It’s well worth exploring the opportunities local to you, as sharing of best practice and learning from each other’s mistakes can prove hugely advantageous. A quick Google search should highlight what is available nearby.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Don’t be fearful of asking for assistance; the U.K. franchise community is highly collaborative. The worst thing you can do if you are struggling is to keep quiet and bury your head in the sand. There is a wealth of knowledge and experience in this sector – use it!
Growing a business can be very challenging. However, a franchise system allows a less risky route to the market, with the benefits of a proven model and devoted support from the franchisor’s head office. You can also receive guidance from your peers and suppliers, who help with funding, business planning, and training services.
Recent statistics from a bfa/ Natwest survey show that the franchise industry is booming in the U.K. Providing you conduct adequate due diligence, partner with the right franchisees and franchisors, and follow the tips outlined above, you should be on to a winner!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob Orme QFP is the franchise relationship manager for Hitachi Capital Franchise Finance.