This article appears in the May/June 2014 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
Last year we beat the drum of consolidation and collaboration. 2014 is shaping up to be the year of growth.
Despite turbulence in the Australian aviation and automotive industries, news for small business coming out of Canberra and the corporate sector has been decidedly positive.
The inaugural Westpac-Melbourne Institute Small Business Index released in March indicated small businesses are performing better than they were three months earlier and owner operators are feeling positive about their current and future performance, despite tough competition and a challenging economy.
The index showed that four out of five small businesses expected their sales to increase and net employment is predicted to increase also.
In February, Small Business Minister, Bruce Billson made an appeal to lenders at a G-20 conference in Sydney. Despite the recovery from the global financial crisis, the availability of finance for small business has not improved, and in the Minister’s view, is hindering Australians going into business.
“This inability to obtain start-up finance is a strong disincentive to those looking to start a business.
“The Government wants this to change. A lending environment where families do not have to put their home on the line to obtain finance would lead to more entrepreneurship in Australia,” Minister Billson said.
Passionate, motivated franchisees with the ability and readiness to invest are the driving force behind the continued growth in this sector. The FCA fully supports Minister Billson in his plan to make running a small business in Australia more accessible and less burdensome.
Along with the news coming out in mainstream media in the first couple of months of the year, this is also the message coming loud and clear from within our membership.
Evidence from our member survey conducted at the close of 2013 highlighted two of the major challenges facing our members were finding suitable franchisees and access to finance to ensure the right people are becoming a part of their brand.
To this end, ‘people’ has become a key theme and focus for FCA this year. We will be working at various events to ensure the wider small business public have access to information, research and advice should they be interested in becoming part of the franchising sector.
Along with the Franchising and Business Opportunities Expo, the Franchise Council will also have representation at the Food Service Australia show, the Regional Living Victoria show and various internal careers expos held by companies in the aviation and automotive industries.
As always, our aim is to promote best practice in Australian franchising. A big part of that is ensuring prospective franchisees are as knowledgeable and prepared as possible for life with a franchise brand before signing up. Alongside this, we see our role as working with Government and other stakeholders to provide the best possible support for the sector.
As well as a Small Business Minister who is working to lower the barrier to entry for everyday Australian’s who want to work for themselves, there are support services like the Office of the Franchising Mediation Adviser and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, who have a hand in monitoring, supporting and enhancing the franchise sector. The Franchise Council of Australia works to maintain relationships with these bodies to provide the best representation of our members where their sector is concerned.
If starting a business is your dream, there are a number of steps you can take to increase the chance of it being a successful reality. First and foremost, your own research and due diligence is paramount.
However, it is reassuring to know the current Government, along with organisations like the Franchise Council of Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (accc.gov.au) and the Office of the Franchising Mediation Adviser (franchisingmediationadviser.com.au) are all working together behind the scenes to ensure the best possible environment for franchisors and franchisees to do business.
Start your research today!