B2B (Business to Business) Franchises
Often when people think about starting up their company and go it alone, they begin by thinking about what products and services they can sell to friends, relatives or other end users. One of the less considered options is to buy into a franchise which is all about offering products and services to other companies, not the general public.
Types of Services
When you start thinking about the sort of thing that businesses need to buy, the list quickly becomes quite lengthy. Whatever the sector of the market the company is operating in, they will need someone to clean their office, provide cooler machines and drinking water to their staff, build their website or print their marketing materials. Although some of the biggest companies have staff cleaners or do their printing in house, most will contract out these sorts of services to third party providers, and this is where the small entrepreneur comes in to play.
Choosing Your Niche
There are a huge number of different franchises operating in this sort of market and the first step in tapping into it is to think long and hard about the sort of company you wish to run. For example, if you enjoy being out on the road in all weather and meeting lots of people, a water delivery or plant supply operation where you go into client offices to do the work would be perfect. If you prefer to be based in the office and deal with customers by email or phone, running a call centre or offering tax return and accounting services may be more up your street. Making the wrong decision on the type of job you want to be doing can be costly, and as the reason most people go into business for themselves is to have a better quality of life, this decision should never be rushed.
Getting to know the owners of shops, factories, offices and other premises is key when you are running a company offering them products and services, so even before you take the plunge and start offering your products, networking is key. Up and down the country there are Chambers of Commerce, associations for owners of firms, charities and Government run organisations for new start-ups, and all of these can be a valuable source of contacts and new opportunities. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook will also help to spread the word about what you are doing and what your products are, and although it will take time to build up your followers, there is no charge for doing so.
If you work hard, build up your client base and get into the fortunate position of having to turn work away, expansion is fairly easy. Taking on additional members of staff will give you the chance to take on more contracts, as will expanding the operations into a neighbouring town or city. If you’ve done your networking homework, exploit your current contacts by asking them to refer you to their friends to help with the business expansion.