When’s the best age to start a business? #inbusinessby30

Richard Swayne 4I only started my business once I’d had children, and a lot of the time I think it would have been easier to start earlier. I know one or two people who had the foresight to realise that it might be easier to start a self employed business when you are young and independent, but many more who like me did it the hard way, juggling nappies and business plans. The British Franchise Association (the bfa) is launching an ‘In Business By 30’ campaign to drive more young people into the sector by highlighting the many success stories that young entrepreneurs are enjoying all over the UK, and they’ve done a survey all about the age people start a business.

The bfa/Natwest Franchise Survey 2015 showed that one in five (19%) of franchisees who launched their business in the last two years were under 30 years old. The reason for this appeal might be the back up that a franchise offers, with training, procedures, guidance and support are already in place. ‘There is little doubt that franchising provides a proven and reliable business platform for young people to launch their own business,” explains Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa.

“As a model which offers support and guidance every step of the way, franchising is ideally suited to younger entrepreneurs who may not necessarily have previous business experience. Age is no barrier when someone is hungry, determined and willing to work hard, especially when all the tools are already in place for them to succeed. In fact, many of the skills young people bring to the table, such as social media knowledge which some older franchisees may not have, mean in some ways they are even better equipped to succeed.”

Wilkins adds: “The success stories just keep on appearing, and really are an inspiration to us all. We have franchisees who started out as young as 19 who are thriving.”

Richard Swayne from Dartford (above right) started a franchise with Snap-on, the tools manufacturer and retailer which has a network of almost 400 franchisees, in January 2014.. After 10 months Richard paid off the loan he took out from Snap-on to start his business, and by the end of his first year he was No1 in the whole of the UK for sales and had won three awards thanks to his remarkable performance. Not satisfied with that, he increased his sales by 20 per cent in year two!  So what’s the secret of his success? He explains: “Knowledge. You can never have enough knowledge, I’m constantly learning. Listen to your customers, learn about your customers, what makes them tick and the products they need. Matching your products to your customer, that’s what it’s all about.

“Snap-on have got a fantastic programme, learning how to sell, managing a business; if you follow the programme, it works. The key is knowledge. You can never know too much.”

When it comes to being a young entrepreneur, Richard sees his age as an advantage. He explains: “If anything it’s helped me. Because I’m younger I get on with the 18-40 year olds a lot better. The things we’re talking about, socially and so on, we’re on a similar level. And I think they kind of look up to me. ‘He’s doing well, I want to be part of that, let’s get on board.’ When you start posting on Facebook, they’re engaging with that.”

For further details on franchising please visit www.thebfa.org.  To follow the campaign on Twitter visit #InBusinessBy30


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