Investing in a franchise, what you need to know
Denise Hutton-Gosney, Founder and MD of Razzamataz Theatre Schools has been franchising since 2006. In 2007, Denise appeared on BBC’s Dragons’ Den and won the backing of Duncan Bannatyne. She opened her first school in 2000 and then a further five more. With demand from students growing, she operated an ‘arms length’ pilot to prove the business model could work as a franchise. Today, there are almost 50 franchise schools throughout the UK as well as significant partnerships with the likes of Eurocamp, Disneyland® Paris and The Stage newspaper.
Entrepreneur with support
“If you like the idea of starting a business but not sure where to start, then a franchise will be a good option. Many people like the idea of going it alone but don’t have all the skills and experience that are needed. A franchise business is a popular choice for many people including mums who want an exciting career to fit around their children, to young entrepreneurs who have had little experience, because the beauty is that a franchise such as Razzamataz gives you all the support you need.”
“Start by selecting franchises that are operating in fields that you are interested in. There’s lots out there so to find out which ones you should research in more detail, find out if they are affiliated to any groups within the franchise industry. Razzamataz is a member of the British Franchise Association (bfa), which was set up in 1977 to act in the interest of the industry as a whole in assessing and accrediting the world of franchising. New franchisees who are seeking to invest in a reputable franchise should make this website their first port of call. We are also members of EWIF and again, they have lots of info on their website about what to look for in a franchisor.”
“The best way to find out if a franchise is right for you, is to talk to its current franchisees. At Razzamataz we are delighted that for the second year in a row, we have been awarded the Five Star Satisfaction rating by Smith & Henderson, which were founded in 2011 with the vision to be the most innovative provider of employee and customer feedback solutions. They work with more than 120 clients from the private and public sector. Our own franchisees provided feedback that put us within an elite group of franchisors.”
Attend a Discovery Den
“Once you have narrowed your search down, attend a Discovery Den, which should give you the opportunity to meet some of the Head Office team to find out more. At the Razzamataz Discovery Dens, we also introduce current franchisees so you can meet and ask questions about the highs and lows of running a franchise.”
Consider a re-sale
“Some of our most successful current franchisees have bought existing schools. When researching re-sale franchises, the first thing to discover is why the franchise is up for sale. In many cases, it is simply due to a change in circumstance of the franchisee. From the seller you need to understand the financial performance of the franchise over the last year or two. Don’t just focus on where the franchise is at this moment, are there any financial trends that you can pinpoint? Speak to the franchisor to confirm any questions you had with the seller. We invite all people who are considering re-sales to come to Discovery Dens. We are rigorous in this process because we only want the right people to be in our network and we won’t allow the existing franchisee to sell to anyone until we’ve had the chance to meet them and assess their suitability.”
Training and Support
“Find out exactly what the franchisor offers in terms of initial training and on-going support. As your business grows, you will face new sets of challenges along the way so it is important that your franchisor is keeping up with current marketing, PR and social media channels because this will directly affect how successful your own business will be.”
1. Say yes more often – I’ve done things that really scare me and that were way out of my comfort zone but those are the things that get you success.
2. Ask for help – being part of a franchise is wonderful to have such a helpful network of franchisees so make the most of it. The franchisees at Razzamataz are an incredible bunch and I learn from them all the time.
3. Don’t give up – business can sometimes feel like a bit of a slog, especially in the early days. But keep going and each week you will get a little breakthrough.
4.Celebrate success – we love to celebrate our franchisees, teachers and students’ success and believe that we have built a culture around supporting one another and creating a positive environment for all to flourish.
5.Find something you love – every job has its stressful moments but if you love it, that will get you through any tough times that you will face.
To find out if franchising is the right option, the Head Office at Razzamataz run Discovery Den days across the UK where potential franchisees get a chance to meet the team, find out more about franchising in general and discover what it is like to run a part-time theatre school.
Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz Theatre Schools
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