Becoming a franchisee may be the way forward for people facing employment worries.
That is the advice of a senior figure at Swindon-based accountants and business advisors d&t, which does much of its work in the franchise industry.
The firm's commercial manager, James Thomas, said: "The pandemic is anticipated to cause increased levels of unemployment, and job hunters may soon find themselves frustrated and looking for different routes to employment.
"With the local Honda factory due to reduce staff further in the future, the community of Swindon may be particularly affected. However, it’s important to stay positive, and as one door closes another may open."
A British Franchise Association and NatWest survey in 2018 showed there were 48,600 franchise units in the UK - a rise of 10 percent since 2015 - and 710,000 people were employed in franchising.
Mr Thomas said: "A franchise entitles a franchisee to trade as their own business, where they follow a proven business model under the brand of the franchisor and granted by a Franchise Agreement, a legally binding contract.
"It’s surprising how many businesses are franchises, from well-known high-street brands such as McDonalds and Specsavers right through to children’s franchises, fitness, sport, dance, pets, photography, property, gardening and home improvement, plus van-based businesses and many more. There is a huge variety of options.
"The advantages of becoming self-employed and running your own business by joining a franchise is that there is already a support structure in place to help you starting out. Although you will run your own individual franchise, you are provided with a ‘cheat sheet’ - your operations manual - which outlines how to run every aspect of your business just as the original proprietor did.
"It means you won’t make their mistakes and can get up to speed quickly!"
There are other advantages, he explained: "With a franchise, supply lines are already in place. Branding and reputation will have already been built, plus you don’t have to create your own marketing from scratch.
"You will also have other like-minded franchisees to provide support, tips and advice. All this means the risk factor of joining a franchise compared with starting your own business is reduced significantly.
"However, at the end of the day, a franchise is still your own business and therefore, its relative success is up to you. Planning and preparation is key to making it work.
"The choice of franchise is also critical in terms of affordability (how much the franchised business costs to buy), personal preference (you need to be interested and passionate about your own enterprise) plus your lifestyle. What will best suit you and your family situation?"
Many people who become self-employed, Mr Thomas said, have never written a business plan before, and would be well advised to get help early on.
d&t, he added, currently worked with more than 100 franchise networks across the UK and welcomed enquiries.
He said: "Our best advice is to encourage new franchisees to work together with a reputable, independent organisation to develop a suitable business plan.
"Buying a franchise is a significant outlay, and so help with professional business planning is a tiny investment which can ensure franchisees are planning for success and on target to break even as quickly as possible."
Further information can be found at www.team-dt.com