Internet franchises, is an online franchise for you?
The internet has revolutionised the way that many people make a living. It’s not really surprising, as the potential of the World Wide Web is enormous. Being connected to potentially everyone on the planet through the click of a button is an incredible tool, so, as you might expect, there are a number of internet franchises in which to invest.
Franchisors have been able to utilise the internet in various ways to a create a very diverse set of franchise opportunities. These cover a wide range of industries and sectors and are built around differing business models.
One of the major drawbacks with internet franchises is that there are so many of them. That means it can be difficult to know which have genuine potential and which will be difficult to make profitable. With such a field of choice, it can also be difficult to know which one to choose.
Types of internet franchises
It would not be possible to list all the kinds of internet franchises available but we have tried to group them together in general terms to provide a selection of what is available.
Internet marketing – Web marketing is big business, with millions of companies around the world using the internet to try and promote their business and make sales. Web marketing franchises offer services such as SEO, pay per click, social media campaigns and more, to try and drive traffic to client sites.
Home-based service franchises – There are many home-based franchises that offer to provide a service over the net. These range from personal PAs to event organising. All can be run from a home office, using only a website and email to provide everything the client needs.
Retail – This is another of the main areas of internet franchise. You buy the products for the franchisor and then market and sell them online, taking a percentage of the profits. You don’t need to have space to store or mail the goods, as this will be done centrally, but rather you act as the point of sale. These can be very successful and are well suited to people who want to work from home or have some spare time to invest in a business.
Advertising and creative – Many advertising and creative industries can be run completely online. You deal with clients over the VOIP phone and via email and then carry out design work for them based on their specifications. This could be designing and building websites, providing advertising materials or graphic design. Copywriting is another area where it is possible to work completely online, and usually you don’t even have to meet your clients face-to-face.
Research – The internet is the most extensive source of information in history, and if you’re are skilled there is no limit to what you can find out. Companies are often in need of research either in terms of potential markets, product development or more. Research franchises can specialise in providing necessary data to businesses and organisations across the web.
Billing systems and invoicing – Many small businesses don’t have the time to deal with invoicing, billing or chasing up late payments and so they outsource to third party companies to do this for them.
As you can see, there is a wide range of business franchises that can be operated just over the internet.
Why choose an internet franchise over a partnership or start up?
The internet has given entrepreneurs an incredible platform to start businesses from virtually nothing and build them into global brands. Just look at Facebook, Google and others that were started by one or a few individuals with coding knowledge. So why use a franchise to utilise the power of the net?
Well, these days, there are literally millions of online enterprises, startups, apps and sites vying for attention. Unless you have some brand recognition or sales support, making it online relies on a huge amount of luck. With a franchise, you are starting a business that has a proven track record as a viable business model. You will receive training and support, as well as the use of trademark and branding materials.
All of which means you can hit the ground running and start making money from day one. And in the highly competitive world of web business, this is pretty exceptional. At a time when more than half of web startups fail within the first six months, this could be a great way to go. You can concentrate on growing your business, rather than on promotion and trying to get clients.
What to look for in an internet franchise
As mentioned above, there is a huge choice of internet franchises out there. So how do you separate the good from the not so good? You have to do your research and due diligence. Ask to see projected figures for the first six months, first year and more and compare these to data from other franchisees. Try to speak to people who have already invested in the franchise and learn from their experiences.
Unlike a physical franchise, you won’t need guarantees about areas of operation but you will need to know how it works in terms of market share. And, if there is no physical support in terms of acquiring premises or a lease, what will the franchisor be giving you in return?
The combination of the potential of the internet and benefits of a franchise business means that internet franchises are very popular in the UK. It’s important to try to choose a franchise that revolves around your skills and interests, as this will be reflected in your approach to making it work.