With Theresa May intending to trigger the official Brexit negotiation process by the end of March 2017 - thereby exiting the EU before summer 2019 - it is worth considering the potential impact of Brexit upon a substantial contributor to the UK economy: the franchise industry.
So more than four months after Britain's vote to leave the EU, where does the franchise industry stand? At Franchise Direct, the web's leading franchise portal, business is still going strong. Visitor numbers for the site remain steady; in fact, with no marked change in advertising or business structure, these figures have seen a slight increase in comparison to last year. Brian Rogan, Sales Manager for Franchise Direct UK, comments: "From what we've seen so far, Brexit doesn't seem to have had any negative effect on the UK franchise industry. New and exciting opportunities are coming on board with us on an almost continuous basis, and the feedback received from the majority of our existing client base has been very positive. We're also expecting a strong final quarter, with our email marketing campaigns almost already booked out for the remainder of the year."
Franchising has garnered a reputation for remaining a stronghold throughout periods of economic fluctuation, in view of its being considered a tried-and-tested, safe model in which to do business. Supporting this belief, bfa/Natwest franchise surveys have traced a 46% increase in franchising's contribution to the UK economy over the past decade, notwithstanding the global financial crisis. The surveys also showed that franchising was one of the few sectors to report growth during the crisis, further proving the industry's durability. As a sector which now contributes over £15 billion to the UK economy, its flourishing is a testament to the success of the many franchisors and franchisees who participate in its effective structure.
While it is difficult to predict the long-term effects of Brexit, it seems that the best or worst case scenarios will hardly spell disaster for UK franchising, as the figures have shown it sustaining itself as a robust industry during phases of economic inconstancy. All indicators appear to show that business owners and investors alike should continue to remain confident in the franchising model - a system which, let's not forget, has thrived for over half a century.