A paws-itive start to the year

As the new year unfolds, it is a natural opportunity for franchisors and franchisees alike to pause and reflect on the achievements and milestones that defined the previous year.

A paws-itive start to the year

Celebrating these accomplishments is not just a ceremonial gesture. It is a strategic imperative that fuels motivation, strengthens team morale and builds a resilient culture. For Petpals, this certainly holds true after a successful 2023. Building on the momentum of this year’s conference, Kevin Thackrah, Director of Petpals, discusses why an annual conference should be a time for collaboration, the exchange of best practices and celebration – especially after the brand’s ascent to the ranks of our esteemed poll of the best franchises in the UK, the Elite Franchise Top 100 (EF100). With this noteworthy achievement in hand, the brand’s recent conference served as a moment for the network to reflect and anticipate sustained success throughout 2024.

A franchise conference functions as a central hub for training and education. It enables franchisees to participate in workshops, seminars and training sessions, empowering them to refine their skills and stay updated on industry trends. The opportunity to share best practices is instrumental in fostering a culture of continuous improvement across the entire franchise network. Berkeley Harris, a global expert in sales, management and leadership, hosted our recent conference at the Kettering Park Hotel, offering a varied programme tailored to meet the needs of our Petpals network and the dynamic pet-care sector.

Recognising the need to host insightful sessions on both pet care and business, our conference always has a balance of programmes that tackle the current issues of pet care while also focusing on franchisee expansion and franchisees’ success across the country. In the spirit of sharing best practices within our tight-knit network, a specific focus on expanding services was addressed in the New Business Focus round-table chat, complemented by a talk from Jill Foster – Cat Manager at Petpals Darlington and Yarm – who shared insights on enhancing franchisees’ cat businesses.

A testament to our commitment to keeping our network well informed and supported, we proudly secured a position in the esteemed EF100 for the third consecutive year – a title we will proudly hold for the duration of 2024. The EF100, a platform honouring excellence in the franchising industry, involves a rigorous evaluation by a panel of 24 specialist judges, considering criteria such as growth, ambition, community contributions and innovation. Alongside this achievement, we are thrilled to be shortlisted for the EF100 Community Builder of the Year Award, recognising outstanding contributions across all categories. Handpicked by the Elite Franchise team, this accolade acknowledges our standout strategies and exceptional dedication to the franchise community.

At Petpals, we understand that without our network of outstanding franchisees, accolades like this would not be possible. Motivation and recognition are vital aspects of our annual conferences. A franchisor should use these gatherings to acknowledge and reward outstanding franchisees, motivating the recognised individuals and inspiring others to strive for excellence. That is why, before the busy day of networking and knowledge sharing concluded, we took a moment to honour franchisees who demonstrated exceptional dedication in 2023. Among these outstanding individuals was James Callow, franchisee at Petpals Crawley. Despite launching his franchise just last year, James has achieved remarkable success – earning him the well-deserved title of Rising Star in the network.

On his award win, James said, “I’m so honoured to be recognised by Petpals for my efforts this year,” said James. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of a community that values and acknowledges the hard work of its franchisees. The support and recognition from Petpals have been instrumental in building my business, and I am proud of the strides we’ve made together in just one year.”

We are delighted to be included in the Top 100 list for 2024 once again. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our head office team, as well as our outstanding network of franchisees, exemplified by individuals like James and their committed staff, who consistently provide exceptional customer service and uphold the highest standards of pet care. Our annual conference, which has always exceeded expectations, took on added significance this year as the ideal platform to express gratitude for everyone’s hard work and reaffirm our commitment to keeping the network well informed. With this prestigious accolade, the conference not only served as a token of appreciation but also as a strategic initiative to ensure that our network remains informed and well equipped to sustain our success throughout 2024.

Kevin Thackrah
Kevin Thackrah