The British Franchise Association (the bfa) launches its ‘In Business By 30’ campaign showcasing young people in franchising. The aim of the campaign is drive more young people into the sector by highlighting the many success stories that young entrepreneurs are enjoying all over the UK.
The bfa/Natwest Franchise Survey 2015 showed that one in five (19%) of franchisees who launched their business in the last two years were under 30 years old. The franchise sector is currently worth over £15billion to the UK economy, and employs over 621, 000 people.
The reason why franchising is so appealing to young people is that you don’t have to be an experienced business person to be a success, as the procedures, guidance and support are already in place. All franchisees also go through extensive training.
Instead of launching their own business from scratch, they are investing in a proven and successful business model that works.
“There is little doubt that franchising provides a proven and reliable business platform for young people to launch their own business,” explains Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa.
“As a model which offers support and guidance every step of the way, franchising is ideally suited to younger entrepreneurs who may not necessarily have previous business experience. Age is no barrier when someone is hungry, determined and willing to work hard, especially when all the tools are already in place for them to succeed. In fact, many of the skills young people bring to the table, such as social media knowledge which some older franchisees may not have, mean in some ways they are even better equipped to succeed.”
Wilkins adds: “The success stories just keep on appearing, and really are an inspiration to us all. We have franchisees who started out as young as 19 who are thriving.”
A perfect example of a young person using franchising to start his own successful business is Richard Swayne from Dartford. Richard started a franchise with Snap-on, the premium tools manufacturer and retailer which has a network of almost 400 franchisees, in January 2014.. After just 10 months Richard had already paid off the loan he took out from Snap-on to start his business, and by the end of his first year he was No1 in the whole of the UK for sales and had won three awards thanks to his remarkable performance. Not satisfied with that, he increased his sales by 20 per cent in year two!
So what’s the secret of his success? He explains: “Knowledge. You can never have enough knowledge, I’m constantly learning. Listen to your customers, learn about your customers, what makes them tick and the products they need. Matching your products to your customer, that’s what it’s all about.
“Snap-on have got a fantastic programme, learning how to sell, managing a business; if you follow the programme, it works. The key is knowledge. You can never know too much.”
When it comes to being a young entrepreneur, Richard sees his age as an advantage. He explains: “If anything it’s helped me. Because I’m younger I get on with the 18-40 year olds a lot better. The things we’re talking about, socially and so on, we’re on a similar level.
“And I think they kind of look up to me. ‘He’s doing well, I want to be part of that, let’s get on board.’ When you start posting on Facebook, they’re engaging with that.”