In this blog, we are delighted to bring you a guest interview with Cathryn Hayes, a Senior Manager at the British Franchise Association.
1, Please give us a brief overview of the BFA and the aims of the association?
We were established in 1977 as a subscription-funded trade association - run by our members, for our members. Over the years, we have developed into the voluntary self-regulatory body for franchising, representing the ethical side of the industry.
Franchisors and professional advisors to the UK franchise industry wishing to be accredited must put themselves forward to the bfa to be tested against our extensive criteria to ensure that they meet the required standards.
Part of our work is running educational seminars for prospective franchisors and franchisees to help them understand how franchising works and key areas to consider. For our members, there is a range of specialist seminars and regional forums as well as our annual conference and other events. We focus strongly on sharing best practice and driving up standards in franchising.
2. How can prospective franchisees interact with the BFA and use it for due diligence on franchisors both on and off-line?
There are some great resources for prospective franchisees on our website including a list of 50 questions to ask a franchisor before signing up.
Our website also has details of our comprehensive one-day seminars for prospective franchisees which are held at various locations across the UK, as well as details and free tickets for the bfa-supported franchise exhibitions in Birmingham, London and Manchester.
Find out about BFA events >>> here.
Our twitter feed @BFA_UK provides regular updates about franchising news and events as well as links to useful advice, and we also have Facebook and LinkedIn pages that share advisory features, news stories and articles.
We’re here to help prospective franchisees every step of the way with objective, impartial advice, and encourage them to get in touch through any of our platforms with any queries or questions.
3. What key metrics and results from the 2015 Franchise Survey are particularly relevant to prospective franchisees to encourage them into the sector?
The 2015 bfa NatWest Survey shows that the contribution of franchising to the UK economy continues to grow, now standing at £15.1bn, with 621,000 people employed in the sector, through 44,000 franchised units and over 900 franchisors.
Some other key statistics: how successful are franchisees? Well, 97% reported profitability – a new record. And 91% of franchisees are satisfied with their franchisor, another figure which has never been higher.
Related content: Belvoir M.D., Dorian Gonsalves, responds to the BFA Franchise Survey results
4. Should prospective franchisees take peace of mind from the fact that Belvoir is a member of the BFA?
Our members go through our rigorous accreditation process before being allowed to join so bfa membership demonstrates that a franchisor has committed to operate in an ethical and fair manner and to adhere to our Code of Ethics.
If you buy a franchise with a bfa member, you are also able to join as a franchisee member and take advantage of the various benefits available.
View Belvoir's "Full Member" BFA listing
5. What advice would you give to someone who was in the process of choosing a franchise?
Take your time and don’t be rushed. Do plenty of research before committing yourself – good franchisors will be happy to answer your questions and provide you with enough information to make an informed decision.
Talk to existing franchisees as they will be able to give you a true picture of how they see the franchise, what support they got, both initially and on an ongoing basis.
Attend one of the bfa seminars for prospective franchisees which goes into detail about the advantages and disadvantages, things you should consider, research and due diligence.
6. Is 2016 a good time to start a franchise?
It could be! Much depends on whether it is the right time for you – are you at the stage when you are ready to take the plunge into running your own business with the support of your chosen franchisor? Buying a franchise is a bit like buying a house – it has to be the right one for you and what suits your needs might not work for someone else.
Make sure you do your research thoroughly and ensure that your franchisor is able to support you through your journey into self-employment.
Thank you to Cathryn for taking part in the interview.
There are over 900 franchisors in the U.K. and only around 400 of them are members of the BFA, so it should give prospective franchisees peace of mind that Belvoir is a "Full Member" of the association.
Belvoir is an award-winning estate and lettings agency with over 200 successful offices around the U.K. If you would like to talk about being our next success story, please call us on 01476 570000 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org