Your route to success

Belvoir CEO Dorian Gonsalves advises on routes into franchising, and how you can decide on the best fit for your ambitions

Your route to success

Anyone who is thinking of becoming a franchisee has many things to consider before committing, and I have covered many of these in previous columns.  However, this month I thought it would be useful to look at the various entry routes into franchising, as there may be some that you have not previously considered.

With over 26 years of experience in the market, the Belvoir Group operates one of the largest property franchise groups in the UK. We currently support a network of 463 individual businesses across six distinct brands, specialising in residential lettings, property sales and property related financial services. In recent months the Belvoir Group has introduced two new entry routes into franchising, which provide interesting alternatives to the more conventional options.

When Belvoir launched its first franchise 26 years ago, the most popular entry route into franchising for our franchisees was to launch cold starts in new territories. However, as the years have passed, and times have changed, the Belvoir Group generally no longer offers this as an opportunity to take on a franchise with most of our brands, although there is one exception with the Mr and Mrs Clarke brand, which I will outline later.

Nowadays, by far the most popular option is for new franchisees to buy an established franchise business as a resale. Belvoir and Northwood are the most mature brands within the Belvoir Group, and as a result, many of the original franchisees who launched their businesses 15-20 years ago are now considering retirement or have achieved their business goals and want to move on to something new. Our recruitment team at Central Office always helps franchisees with their exit strategies, to help make the process as smooth as possible. From the point of view of a new franchisee, being able to take on an established business with a proven track record that is part of a trusted High Street brand provides huge advantages. Franchisees who take on a resale are offered comprehensive training, franchise and legal support, as well as assistance with business growth, marketing tools, access to financing and the opportunity to work with an established team. All these resources provide the potential to achieve business goals as quickly as possible.

The second route into buying a franchise within the Belvoir Group is for someone to buy an independent business that is then rebranded to Belvoir. This option requires a lot more training and support and doesn’t happen as often as acquiring an established Belvoir business as a resale, but if we think that someone has the capability and experience to make this a success it is certainly something that we will consider.

Another route into franchising is to consider a home working model. Earlier this year Belvoir acquired the estate agency business Mr and Mrs Clarke, which provides a brokerage style self-employed model. This option is attractive to those potential business owners who prefer a relatively low-cost entry into the market and want to open a cold start business with the possibility of converting their efforts into high turnover.

Finally, in the past month, the Belvoir Group has launched its Business Integration Model. This option is attractive to owners of established independent businesses who, for various reasons, think the time is now right to become part of an established franchise brand. This is an incentivized method of joining the Belvoir Group that will undoubtedly add value to existing businesses.

With so many routes into franchising within the Belvoir Group alone, how do you decide which route is best for you? This is something that the franchisor will be able to help you with. After in-depth discussions, the recruitment team can advise which route and brand best matches your experience, skills and expectations. For example, our Newton Fallowell brand is biased towards estate agency, although it provides a lettings service as well. It is also primarily based in the East Midlands, and both factors may help determine if a Newton Fallowell franchise is most appropriate for a potential franchisee. Buying into a franchise is a big consideration, but with so many options now available, there has never been a better time to invest in a business that can fulfill your ambitions.

Dorian Gonsalves
Dorian Gonsalves