Prime Minister Teresa May triggered Article 50 on Wednesday, the 29th of March, officially beginning proceedings for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.
Over the next two years, the United Kingdom and the 27 countries of the European Union will negotiate deals on international trade, including access and restrictions to the free market, amongst numerous other issues.
While it is certainly not an instantaneous exit, businesses in the UK are looking ahead to what this means for them and their livelihood. There’s no denying that there is uncertainty swirling around the value of the pound, the upcoming divorce negotiations, and the future relationship between the UK and the EU, but after all, it is the British way to keep calm and carry on, so there is no need to panic.
There’s also no need to cast aside your plans to franchise your business or scrap the idea of opening a franchise.
Franchise Direct spoke to several franchise consultants about the advice they’re offering their clients now that Brexit is underway. Many expressed positive aspects for businesses, particularly those with international aims and those in the tourism industry. Hear what they have to say below!
“We are helping a lot of companies to franchise internationally, and despite all the negatives we are finding a British brand is very well-received, especially in the Middle East and Asia. A lower sterling can only help the franchise be more attractive. My advice to franchisors is to be confident in their service or product; the world is a lot smaller today and there are countless opportunities outside Europe.” —Rod Hindmarsh, How2Franchise
“We are in the process of designing a new franchise in the tourism sector, which we believe will be very positively affected by the UK’s current exchange rates favouring visitors to the UK. Positive exchange rates for UK exporters are all good news, but don’t necessarily filter down directly to a single unit franchisee. For those in the hotel sector, tourism, or any connected line of business, a better exchange rate — in addition to encouraging visitors to the UK — will discourage domestic customers from holidaying or travelling elsewhere, which means more money is spent in the UK rather than abroad. That can only be good news for those franchises in this sector.” –Andy Cheetham, Lime Licensing Group
“Potential franchisees are investing for the next five years; it is intended to be a long-term, renewable, relationship — life-changing for them. Once they have made a decision to get on with it, my advice would be they should press ahead on the basis that Brexit, itself, will not affect many businesses in the UK who are buying and selling with other UK citizens. If the business they are buying into is dependent on an international supply chain that could genuinely be affected by Brexit, of course they should ask questions to satisfy themselves that they would be protected in the event that an alternative supplier had to be found locally.
“One point to consider for them, I suggest, is that the nature of the concept they are investing into should be one that is sustainable through all types of economic weather. If they are going into something which is in a fashion or fad or has reliance on people’s discretional/marginal spending, then it would be important for them to be linked with a brand that is strong in its market with positive reviews from clients, as those are the ones that are likely to continue more readily through temporary downturns.
“In our view the most important concerns for potential franchisors, potential franchisees and those going overseas is simple – the business system should be proven profitable and resilient. These features carry businesses through challenges, come what may. Franchising remains a great way to do business.” –Nick Williams, Ashton’s Franchise Consulting