Every business has to start somewhere, but with the right idea, pitched at the right target audience at the right time, a small enterprise has the potential to grow.
Scaling up a business can certainly present challenges and many companies will restrict growth in order to retain a level of service, quality or values which would be difficult to achieve as a bigger entity. Having said this, many organisations that have developed successful operating systems and a strong customer base, are actively seeking growth opportunities.
Franchising a business offers the potential to expand into new regions without the costs associated with internal expansion or acquisitions. With a tempting and proven business model in place, other enterprising individuals can buy into your brand and follow your formula to run their own business.
Many of the brands that we are familiar with are run as franchises including Subway, McDonalds, Auditel, Tax Assist Accountants and Noa Noa. If you are a business owner at the point of franchising your company, you may want some more recently established examples that you can relate to and gain inspiration from. The following two examples show the potential for a small business idea to grow rapidly through franchising.
Magical Maths was started by Colin Bradford, initially as an extra-curricular club in his former school. The pupils loved it, whilst parents and teachers were notably impressed by the results, so he was asked back. Having sent letters out to the other primary schools in Leicestershire, the combination of games, magic and puzzles to teach maths in a fun way proved popular and twenty schools requested Magical Maths clubs.
Word spread, along with success stories, and before long 150 schools in the county were registering their interest in joining the club. With clear indications that there was considerable demand for the Magical Maths formula, Colin Bradford decided that the best way to expand was to franchise the club.
Initially branching out into Northamptonshire and Cambridge, franchises are in the pipeline for Norfolk and Worcester, with 20 additional territories being outlined as expansion opportunities over the coming 18 months. At present 130 self-employed teachers deliver the club and it might not be long before the children in your local primary school return home talking about Magical Maths club.
Rupert and Buckley
James Buckley-Thorpe began selling clothing to fellow students when he was still at university and the business grew from there. Having developed a popular range of student clothing, the brand Rupert and Buckley now operates from Bath, with franchises in Bristol, Exeter and Cardiff. Although the rental costs of the retail unit in Bath became too high to remain viable, the hunt is on for an alternative base and there is plenty of good news for this relatively new franchise.
This year Rupert and Buckley was cited amongst the UK’s fasted growing SME’s and this has attracted incredible interest. As a result of its impressive record to date, the company has received £2.5million in funding to support an 18 month expansion programme. The aim is to reach £1milllion turnover and set up many more franchises in university cities, which will include Glasgow, York and Oxford.
The key to success is ensuring that you have a robust package to offer to potential franchisees. The more support, information, training and resources they are provided with, the better able they will be to replicate your model.
As the franchisor, you will need to prepare a business plan, financial summaries and forecasts, along with detailed working practices. You need to share your values and visions and select franchisees who have the right skills, attitude and experience to take on your brand. You are likely to be involved in training, but you may also invest in specific training from other sources, such as specialists in financial management, digital marketing or health and safety.
There are plenty of available resources that you can also be of value to your franchisees. From accountancy packages to specialist franchise email marketing tools, your investment in their success can pay dividends.
With the right support and resources in place, your franchisee stands the best chance of helping you to take your brand from strength to strength and allowing your business to grow. Maybe you’ll be held up as an inspirational franchise model in the not too distant future.