An executive's franchising decision
If you have plenty of business acumen and commercial experience and are growing tired of the corporate world, a franchise could be the way to achieve the financial freedom and work-life balance you crave. Katie Shevlin looks at the opportunities for executives in franchising
The beauty of franchising is that it presents the option to buy a business in a sector completely new to you, as a franchisor will offer comprehensive training and back-up should there be anything you are unsure of. This means an executive can enter into virtually any market they deem worthy of investment, as they will have the commercial knowledge and business skills that the franchisor desires and any essential industry-specific training will be given prior to launch.
One such company seeking investors with business experience is Good Companions, which provides high-quality domiciliary and live-in care to the private care market but is also focussed on delivering and competing to deliver a range of additional services to multiple markets.
David Johnson, business development manager for the group, comments: “Profitable long-term local authority and NHS contracts provide the potential for increased economies of scale, increased revenues and added profitability. Our model provides multiple income streams and marketing opportunities as well as a more robust business capable of achieving faster rates of growth.
“This will be language routinely used by executives in any business sector and many of the terms and goals described above are common to many different types of industry.
“An experienced business executive brings additional qualities, strengths, skills and knowledge that further enhance the financial performance, development and growth of the franchise business. Good Companions hope to work in partnership with many entrepreneurial executives who have a personal interest in developing their own business.”
Many business models allow for the employment of a manager to take care of daily operations, leaving the investor to concentrate on business development.
This type of director role means that, after the initial few months spent training staff and building up a client base, you will eventually have the benefit of flexible working hours.
If you want a more active role, there are many business-to-business service providers that require individuals with commercial expertise and sales knowledge in order to establish their franchise efficiently and manage business relationships effectively.
Red Flag Alert offer a business intelligence service to small- and mediumsized enterprises and many of their clients are solicitors and accounts. Those with a professional or executive background are better placed to provide their service to clients, as they will be experienced at building the relationships that are central to the success of the business.
Dan Archer, Red Flag Alert franchise director, says: “We recognise that few franchisees will have direct experience of our industry so we are really looking for the sort of transferrable business skills that people from a white-collar background tend to have in abundance, such as commercial understanding, financial and legal knowledge, experience in organising and leading meetings, training skills and sales understanding.
“Executives will have a better understanding of business, legal or accountancy matters and are more familiar with dealing with other business people.” Here, three individuals with an executive background describe their transition from to employment to franchise.
NIC Services Group
Brian Pestana joined NIC over 3 and a half years ago and has found great success running his management franchise alongside his wife Carola.
What did you do prior to franchising?
Prior to joining NIC, I worked in the corporate world. I was managing director in my two previous jobs, but grew tired of the long hours and extensive travel.
How does this previous experience help in the day-to-day running of your franchise?
My business acumen and skills in sales and management have been extremely useful. NIC caught my attention because it is a management opportunity, allowing me to concentrate on the business rather than the actual cleaning.
What kind of support do NIC provide?
NIC provide full training, including a practical course to teach you all about the skills you need for the cleaning industry. The support is there for you to build on and if you require advice you can phone head office at any time for some help or guidance. Having the backing of NIC has been invaluable.
How has investing in a franchise improved your lifestyle?
It’s had a very positive effect on our lives. Working for ourselves has given us the chance to really change our lifestyle; although we still work hard, the hours we work are more flexible. We are able to take time out on a regular basis to spend more quality time as a family.
Donna Stafford is a franchise partner with Select Appointments, operating branch offices in Peterborough and Lincoln.
What did you do before investing in a franchise?
I was working as a European account manager for an electronics firm when, in 1997, I was made redundant. I responded to an advert for a recruitment consultant.
I knew I was good at sales and meeting targets as well as interacting with clients so I thought the position would be ideal for me. I got the job and stayed with this large corporate agency for a few years before moving to a small independent agency. In 2001, I joined the Peterborough office of Select Appointments as executive manager. After five years in this role, I approached the board to ask if I could invest in the business as a franchise partner. Today, I manage a small team of consultants in each of my two offices.
How has your executive experience benefitted you?
It was invaluable to see the recruitment business from both ends of the spectrum. I learned the importance of having good processes and systems in place to increase agency profitability.
What kind of support have you received from Select?
I am very lucky to have the support and resources of Select who have been in the recruitment sector for over 20 years. Select have always provided very good training to franchise partners; I believe this is essential for credibility in the industry, as being one step ahead of trends and legislation equips staff with the tools they need to create a successful business.
What are your plans for the future?
There’s plenty of business out there and I will be looking to grow my teams and expand.
What kind of person do you think a Select franchise would suit?
The key thing is to be able to build relationships. You also need buckets of passion, lots of drive and a determination to succeed.
Home Instead Senior Care
Paul Tame [pictured above with wife Jill] is the owner of the Epsom and Mole Valley franchise of Home Instead Senior Care. He’s had his business up and running for just over four and a half years.
What did you do prior to franchising?
Prior to starting the business with Home Instead I spent just over 20 years in the investment banking industry in the City of London. I managed a global team of accountants supporting the corporate finance and primary equity and debt businesses. It was a varied and challenging role involving a significant amount of international travel and long hours.
How does your previous executive experience assist you in the day-today running of your franchise?
My previous experience has helped significantly. The general management skills were transferrable, particularly business planning, people management and objective setting, attention to detail and responsiveness. Home Instead aims to be the pre-eminent provider of companionship-led care in the industry. To achieve this, it is vital that, at a local level, your team understand and embrace your values and aspirations for the business – communication is key. Everybody needs to understand their responsibilities and what I and the people that we support expect from them. The care sector is heavily regulated so it is crucial that there are processes in place to ensure the work we carry out is consistently outstanding.
Describe a typical day.
I’m not sure that there is a typical day, and this is one of the attractions of running your own business. As the business evolves, priorities change, but at the heart remains our fantastic caregivers, office staff, clients and their families. As such, I make a point of carrying out frequent visits to clients and I look for opportunities to get feedback from the team on a regular basis.
Why did Home Instead appeal to you?
I wanted to grow a business within my community that can genuinely make a difference to people’s lives. Being a typical accountant, I undertook extensive due diligence on most of the domiciliary care franchises within the sector, and for me Home Instead Senior Care stood out as I felt its values and aspirations matched mine. As soon as I met the team at the head office I was impressed by their ethos.
What is the training and support like from the franchisor?
The support received during the journey has been first class; Home Instead certainly gave me the template and processes to successfully enter into an industry that I had not had any previous experience of. Since then, the support given to me has been bespoke; most new franchise owners have different skill sets and as such have different requirements. My business support manager was matched to me, as she is skilled in the areas where I am weaker. The team at head office are very proactive in seeking opportunities that benefit the franchise network as a whole, and as the brand continues to grow they are able to lobby and help form opinions at a national level. This in turn has positive impact at a local level as more and more people are becoming familiar with our culture and values.
How has business been so far?
Business has been excellent; we have been growing at a rate that is manageable but quicker than expected. We now employ close to 100 people. What is particularly heart-warming is the frequent positive feedback we receive from clients, their families and other social care professionals. What has been most pleasing is that we have built a business that I am proud of.
What are your plans for the future?
Our plans for the future are more of the same, with a relentless focus on quality. It is always a difficult dilemma when looking at how to continue growth whilst retaining quality and workplace culture; I feel that this is certainly attainable but requires careful management. Home Instead give me the tools and support that will enable me to achieve this.
What advice would you give to anyone considering franchising?
Choose a business that you are passionate about. Running your own business is incredibly rewarding but I hadn’t anticipated quite how much emotional capital it takes. Ensure that you carry out due diligence first, speak to some existing franchise owners and research the competitive environment. There will be a point, having done all of this research, when you will need to take that leap of faith, follow your heart and go for it!
You may also be interested in...