‘Our community is willing and able to share knowledge and experience for the benefit of franchising colleagues’

A big part of what makes British Franchise Association (bfa) membership attractive to franchisors is that it is standards based


BY PIP WILKINS, chief executive of the British Franchise Association

Use of the bfa logo shows a brand has passed the British Franchise Association’s rigorous accreditation process, and proven themselves to be a viable and ethical franchise.

We are proud of the standards we uphold and we believe that the community built among bfa members is at the very heart of the bfa’s member benefits. As an association we pride ourselves on building relationships with members, and encouraging networking and collaboration at our events.

Being at the forefront of this incredible community is something that we value and this is why our annual conference 2017 theme was The Power of Collective Ambition. The two-day event showcased how collaboration is helping our community to create a stronger voice that has the power to reach the wider media and UK government.

However, collective ambition does not begin and end with the bfa. It is a crucial element of what makes the franchising sector successful in the UK. According to the bfa NatWest Franchise Survey 2015, franchising not only provided the opportunity for franchisees to own 44,200 businesses, with over half claiming an annual turnover of more than £250,000, but also created 621,000 jobs nationwide.

A successful franchise operation understands the importance of structure and that each party has a role to play in ensuring the success of the business. Each stakeholder has responsibilities that are instrumental in the business, professional advisers provide current and relevant advice, the franchisor creates and develops systems while supporting their network, and franchisees provide front-line service and build a great brand reputation within their local community. Without each of these stakeholders, achieving the same level of success would be much harder, if not impossible.

Franchisors make the mistakes when developing their initial business so their franchisees do not have to. From their experience they provide ongoing support and guidance to their network to help keep them on the right track. Without this support a franchisee would have to start their business without a proven model and business expertise to lean on in times of difficulty.

Along the same lines, franchising is a lucrative model for brand growth. However, without exceptional franchisees, who have the motivation and drive to build a business and make it a success, franchisors would struggle to expand their business effectively.

Our community is uniquely willing and able to share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of their franchising colleagues and the industry as a whole. In a world where businesses traditionally favour secrecy and work to outcompete the competition, we believe this is what sets the franchising community apart from the rest.

Whether a professional adviser providing insight into positive industry trends or giving up their time to share their knowledge and expertise at a bfa event, a franchisor dedicating their time to the benefit of their network through operational developments or developing relationships with other franchisors and sharing their hard-earned knowledge, our community shares a common goal to champion the community of ethical franchises in the UK and achieve the promotion and recognition this thriving industry deserves.

As an association we understand the importance of working together towards this common goal. That is why we are working towards representing the whole franchising industry. We represent professional advisers, franchisors and suppliers to the industry. Our present goal is to grow our franchisee membership community to provide franchisees with the representation they deserve. Franchisee membership entitles franchisees to have their voices heard as well as access to exclusive bfa events and member benefits selected especially for them.

It can be a lonely world out there when you run your own business and we are working to build relationships to make sure franchisees, franchisors and advisers to the industry know they are not alone.