Not to be rushed into, your decision to buy a franchise should follow a lot of research.
If you have never been in business for yourself before, the first thing you need to evaluate is yourself. Finding a franchise that offers genuine interest to you (rather than just a means to make money, or 'work for yourself') will go along way to helping you find the enthusiasm you will need.
You should honestly examine your existing skills (read honestly - the good bad and ugly). If you feel uncomfortable in any areas, consider taking on some training to make bring up your low skills to average, and your good skills to great.
There is a UK Government page about franchising and the basic skills you need, and the qualifications you might need:
Running a franchise can be the best way to run your own business, if you have the right support, right product, marketed in the right way.
For the more in depth advice, here are some more resources:
British Franchise Association
Voluntary self-regulatory organisation for the UK franchise industry.
This is a companion site to the BFA above, and only promotes BFA members.
This is a Franchise directory, where companies advertise their franchises. Read their "about us" page (link at the bottom of the page), to understand how they operate.
Same company as Franchise Direct above, but this site focuses on European franchises.
While all the above websites will offer advice, they are obviously biased, so as well as the UK Gov link up the page, do some independent reading and visit some forums to get some more "real world" information.
Here are some well reviewed books we found on Amazon (these are affiliate links):
UK Business Forums
Well established forum for all aspects of UK business, including forums.
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