A franchise business can take you to many places – both financially and physically. The best parent companies have a presence around the UK, showing how successful and replicable their business model is, and offering would-be franchisees a range of territories to call their own.
But sometimes there’s so much choice on offer. Where should you focus on? Where, in fact, can a franchise thrive?
A number of factors will influence your decision. We’re going to look at them here, so that you can choose the right location for you.
Do your research on market geography
In all likelihood, you’ll be looking at a few areas in tight proximity. From the coast of the South West to Middlesbrough and Darlington, your chances of franchise success will increase if you have several pools of customers within reach of your head office.
And when the franchise owner comes to review your business plan after you’ve expressed an interest in buying a territory, they’ll want to know how you might serve those doorstep clients and what opportunities can be won.
So, what makes a place more commercially suitable than others? Some of the points may include:
The regional competition
Whatever industry you’re hoping to join, take a look at how other brands operate in the same area. What are they charging? What services do they provide, and are they leaving a gap in the market that you can fill? Ask questions and do some digging online.
The density of the territory
Are potential clients spread over a vast area? You don’t want to waste time in a market that’s stretched thin between several small villages. A city, or a major town, could give you the same number of business opportunities without the hours of travel.
The clients and industries
It depends on what you’re offering, of course, but some areas will have more of an appetite for the services you’ll provide. Our specialist cleaning franchisees, for example, may want to target manufacturers, pharmaceutical plants, mortuaries, schools or office blocks in their day-to-day work, as well as individuals. So how many of these businesses or institutions exist within the territory? More of a certain client type can sway your location choice, depending on the jobs you think you’ll have the most affinity for.
Once you’re clued up on these three variables within the territories available to you, your decision will seem much clearer – enough for you to gauge how much money can realistically be made there in the first year or two.
Analyse startup costs by location
Clients will be willing to pay more if you’re in an affluent corner of the UK, but you’ll also have to pay more to be there. Factors like insurance and the wages you provide your staff will be costlier if you’re in a sought-after spot.
Initially, you may think that a franchise business in North Wales – with its plentiful coastal communities – may be less profitable than, say, a branch in central Birmingham. Yet when operating costs are brought into play, that may not be the case. In order to accurately weigh up your decision financially, you’ll need a firm knowledge of the funds you’ll be paying out and bringing in. Good forecasts can tell you whether a territory is worth the trouble.
The cost of a business premises may also vary depending on the location. So aside from what you’ll earn, think about what it’ll take to become established and stay afloat in a certain area during those initial months.
Learn how the community is structured
Whether it’s a dynamic professional hub, a quiet family suburb or somewhere remote and traditional, the feel of a place will influence market tastes. And it will also impact your personal sense of satisfaction.
Finding these cultures and networks is vital to becoming a part of them, and integrating yourself within a community is essential to build trust in your organisation amongst such groups – leading to greater levels of repeat and referral business.
One way of scoping out the local community is by researching the networking groups or events run by other small business owners. When do they meet, and what are people saying about them? Do other people find them a useful source of both support and leads? Search for reviews, awards, and any achievements of the group.
Elsewhere, are there places where residents like to gather? Showing your face at a market, fete or celebratory event can further establish that trust you want people to have in you as their local service provider. But you can also examine how you’ll reach the widest number of people on social media; for example, interacting with those who’ll share your posts and updates.
Consider your own work/life balance
Finally, there must be a consideration of your personal wishes. After all, it’s important to feel happy in the place that you work – especially when you’re running a business or on the road for several hours at a time.
To ensure you make the right choice in a franchise territory first time around, we suggest you weigh up:
The proximity to your own home
Some see buying a franchise business as a chance to move somewhere new; others want to stay where they are. If you fall in the latter camp – common for families or married couples – then ensure you don’t have an especially long commute.
The things to do
Do you like the outdoors? Prefer the city life? Choosing more or less urbanised areas can impact your sense of fulfilment. White-collar professionals can thrive in one environment, whereas others may opt for the countryside, or places steeped in regional history.
Further expansion plans
Without getting too wrapped up in your potential, don’t forget that expansion could be on the table if you perform well and choose to pursue it. Keeping your branches fairly close together means that you can give personal attention whenever it’s due. So you may wish to consider how another, nearby region differs from your first choice.
Rainbow International has a lot of experience matching franchise applicants to their ideal territories. For more information on franchises for sale in your area, get in touch with our team. We’ll help you discover where your business leadership can find its ideal home…