Scots should turn to franchising to ‘Brexit-proof’ business

Leading experts are calling for Scottish entrepreneurs to capitalise on the nation’s ­franchise boom to “Brexit-proof” their business.

From left: Craig McKerracher, Fiona Strang, David Kaye, Jennifer Murphy and Jennifer Sillars of Harper Macleod's franchising team.

David Kaye, partner and head of the franchise team at legal firm Harper Macleod, is promoting franchising as a lower risk business model, due to the added support within the organisation and the established customer base.

Speaking as the industry’s leaders gather in Glasgow for Scottish Franchise Week, Kaye, the first Scottish lawyer recognised as a qualified franchise professional by the British Franchising Association (BFA), said: “If we can educate our entrepreneurs on the irrefutable benefits of the franchising model then I believe it could make a significant impact on the Scottish economy.

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“With Brexit and all the ­economic uncertainty of the past few years, it can be a big risk to start up a business on your own.

“However, due to its proven business model and the support systems in place at good franchises, the evidence shows that much of that risk is removed.

“The services and products that tend to make good franchises are demand-based, and that demand will remain no matter what happens, so in many ways franchising is Brexit-proof.”

Scottish Franchise Week will include a mixture of seminars and educational forums, along with a business breakfast headlined by keynote speaker Chris Newlands, serial ­entrepreneur and chief ­executive of space tech firms Tripsology and Spelfie.Harper Macleod is to host the Scottish Forum at its Glasgow offices on Wednesday 11 ­September as part of the initiative. The forum will feature leading sector figures meeting to ­promote the sector, exchange ideas and discuss the issues affecting franchising north of the ­Border.

Kaye said: “For the past five or six years, franchising has been really taking off in ­Scotland, approaching an overall value of £1 billion to our economy.

“However, with the overall UK sector worth more than £17bn, it could and should be even bigger, with less than half of all the UK franchising ­systems represented in ­Scotland.”

BFA’s regional Scottish chair Suzie McCafferty, who is also chief executive of international franchising consultancy Platinum Wave, backed Kaye’s call.

She said: “Over the past six years the UK sector has grown by more than 25 per cent and this week is an opportunity to ensure we claim our share of that growth in Scotland.

“As a proud Scot I know that we have many brilliant, driven business people who would either be ideal franchisors or franchisees and if we can bring the opportunities to them the sky is the limit.”

This comes as two businesswomen hailed the virtues of the franchising model.

Joanne Bennett, an Edinburgh franchisee of cleaning service Dublcheck, founded her business six years ago and has grown to turn over more than £200,000 a year.

She said: “I wanted a change of career which would enable me to become more fulfilled both in my professional and personal life. I knew that franchising would suit me, because I could follow a structure and be supported, but also set my own hours so it could fit round my family.”

Tara McGregor, who switched from a career in tourism to teach yoga with Tatty Bumpkin, a specialist network of instructors for baby and child classes, added: "I wanted to try working for myself, but I am not a natural entrepreneur and I didn’t have a big business idea! Tatty Bumpkin stood out for me because of the passion and commitment of everyone involved."