Franchising – In business for yourself but not by yourself

You may have heard about franchising but would you like to know more? Well, it does what it is says on the tin – franchising is being in business for yourself but not by yourself. What is inside the tin? What is a franchise? What is involved in researching the marketplace? What about the finances? What can franchising do for me?

Firstly, here are the key industry statistics taken from the latest NatWest/bfa Franchise Survey. (bfa stands for British Franchise Association – the voluntary self-regulating body for the franchise industry.) You may be surprised by the scale and scope of the industry.

At home in the world of work

More than 2.1 million people work from home and some 8 million spend at least some of their working week in the house instead of at the office, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Working from home offers many advantages and is an attractive option for today’s budding entrepreneur or teleworker. Being able to work at your own speed, in your own environment without the daily commute is encouraging an increase in home-working initiatives and “bedroom start-ups”.

Writing the wrongs

If you, like many, had letter writing etiquette drilled into you from an early age then nothing screams from a page louder than the elementary error of “Dear Sir” followed by “Yours sincerely”; You may think it doesn’t matter but the impression it gives to the recipient can easily undermine confidence in a business.

Experience on tap

Mentoring has long been a valuable tool in staff training. Typically, a junior member of staff is assigned a mentor – someone experienced from inside or outside the company – to guide them along the learning curve.And if it works so well for individuals, then why not for small businesses?
 

Disputes can be damaging to business

Companies are more at risk from disputes than they think, according to new research from law firm Nabarro.
Despite 78% having risk management policies in place only one third of policies cover dispute resolution. The estimated cost of commercial disputes is £33 billion each year to UK PLC*.
 Risk management policies may cover obvious issues such as health & safety, but the majority fail to cover dispute resolution.  Disputes don’t just cost businesses money to manage and resolve they can also have a damaging effect on a company’s reputation. Nearly 90% of those surveyed said that senior management’s biggest fear when it comes to disputes is damage to the organisation’s reputation.
Rise in scandals

Employee Lateness

The rail regulator has announced that almost 400,000 passengers face daily delays in their journeys.  Rail commuters have been hit hard by various problems, including flooding last summer, regular train and tube strikes, and the inevitable ‘leaves on the line’ in autumn.; Those who travel to work by road have their own problems. 

Seizing opportunities

It is one of life’s certainties that life is full of uncertainties and business life in particular has a habit of presenting us with all kinds of uncertainties – through situations and circumstances, both good and bad, which arise completely unexpectedly.  
We all welcome the unforeseen opportunities. They’re one of the things that make business exciting. Usually we need to act on them quickly because it’s unlikely they’ll recur again.  And if we don’t make the most of the opportunity, someone else will. It could be the chance to buy a competitor’s business or acquire a property that has tremendous future potential.

Time for a review

For many businesses, agreeing marketing budgets is an area fraught with difficulty as marketing departments struggle to justify and quantify the return on investment.
This is a particular issue for small enterprises, where margins are tight and ‘the bottom line’ is of utmost importance.  It is possible for such businesses to look at large companies and bemoan the vast sums of money they can plunge into promoting their products and services and the lavish advertising campaigns that are beyond the reach of most organisations.  However, there are valuable lessons small businesses can learn from their larger counterparts which aren’t reliant on breaking the bank.

Trading in China

As the Chinese economy continues to grow at over 10 per cent each year, an increasing number of SMEs are looking to set up a presence in China to take advantage of this growth. Although there are several forms of corporate vehicle available to SMEs, the two most popular are the equity joint venture (EJV) and the wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE).

The Right Formula for Data Leak Protection

Whether on the race track, on the web or in the boardroom, data leaks are invariably bad news.  Just ask Ferrari and McLaren, the F1 giants embroiled in controversy over allegedly stolen technical documents. Or Facebook, who mistakenly exposed a slice of their own source code recently, and thereby possibly their own users. Or Monster.com, who made the monster mistake of losing over a million customer records to expert “phishers.”

A tax on retirement

When is a u-turn not a u-turn? Many members of the Forum of Private Business (FPB) would argue that the Government’s suggested £100,000 in tax relief when they sell up and retire certainly fits the bill, following, as it does, the much-vaunted proposals to change the Capital Gains Tax system.
At best, it is a small step in the right direction. At worse, a limp gesture designed to ease the swelling tide of criticism from owner-managers, lobby groups and MPs since the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, announced that taper relief and indexation of Capital Gains Tax would be abolished.