Franchising appeals to prospects from all walks of life – young professionals, experienced entrepreneurs and even retirees. But it goes without saying that the subsection of society that it tends to appeal to the most is busy, working parents. It may come as no surprise that there is often the misconception that franchising – specifically lifestyle franchises – is most suited to stay-at-home mums looking to make a supplementary income once the kids start school.
Here, we’ve spoken with six dads in franchising proving that this is far from the truth – franchising not only offers a viable income revenue with the potential to support an entire family but also allows for these fathers to inspire their own children to explore new career avenues. With Father’s Day coming up this weekend, we thought we would celebrate their collective achievements and recognise the commitment they’ve made to broadening their own children’s horizons.
Like father, like son
Gary Mullins has been a franchise partner with ActionCOACH for 15 years and, in that time, has built a business giving him a better work-life balance and a future for his family. The former engineering production executive spent more than 20 years travelling the world but, having never had the chance to actually explore the countries he was working in, he decided to look for something which would offer him more freedom. After attending ActionCOACH’s global conference in early 2007 and meeting with the global founder, Brad Sugars, Gary launched his Havant-based coaching business that summer.
“Some people choose to coach to the hours they wish to work whilst other franchise partners want to build a larger business. I had left corporate life to get a better work-life balance, but I also needed the business to support me in retirement and that meant building it to a size where it would generate an income for me once I was no longer working. I started as I meant to go on and brought in a PA and bookkeeper so I could focus on sales and coaching. In the first couple of years, my goal was to get the coaching business up and running. I soon established myself as one of the top five coaches in the UK.
“Four years in, I recruited my first coach and sent them to Las Vegas for the same training I had received back in 2007. Unfortunately, I experienced some of the same difficulties as many business owners and this first new recruit didn’t work out. My son, Steve, had joined me as a Business Development Manager and it was at this point that he decided to become a coach. He had learned a lot about the business and attended many of the ActionCOACH conferences and professional development events with me, so this was a natural progression. With Steve by my side, we’ve now grown the business to 40 one-to-one clients, running group sessions including GrowthCLUB and the 90-day planning ActionCLUB.
“Our values and culture are extremely important to us and it’s these that drive our business. We have an open and honest policy and the whole team are continuously learning to better themselves and our clients.
“Our next five-year horizon is to build a £4million-plus business with eight employed coaches and our ultimate goal is to grow to £10million turnover. Steve is passionate about giving back and reaching that level of income means we can make a real difference. I’ll probably have retired by then, but Steve will continue to run the business while I focus on family time.”
Following in dad’s footsteps
Dafydd Moore launched his Code Ninjas franchise with wife, Mel, after struggling to find after-school coding clubs for their sons, William, 14, and Oliver, 12. As well as being a Code Ninjas franchisee, the dad of two is Head of IT for a global technology brand – so he knows only too well how crucial it is that children in his community are equipped with the skills needed to excel both personally and in terms of their education.
“The demand for the Code Ninjas curriculum really helps demonstrate that we are, as a society and a community, taking positive steps towards equipping our younger generation with the ability to navigate the ongoing technological developments in the workplace. But, for me, it’s about making sure our students – we call them Ninjas – are confident in their own abilities and feel relaxed in our fun, non-pressured environment. Whilst our programme is built around teaching children how to code and build video games, Code Ninjas is about so much more than that. We develop our students’ sense of self-confidence by showing them how to work as part of a team.
“Our Code Senseisô – that’s the name we give to our coding instructors – play a huge part in that and I’m proud to work alongside them, especially as the majority are college or university age. I’d love to see my own two boys following in their footsteps once their school studies are over – after all, they were my inspiration for launching the franchise in the first place. I’m proud to see them attending our sessions and looking to their future with Code Ninjas. I can’t help but think what I would have gone on to achieve had I had access to something like Code Ninjas when I was at school.
“When I was growing up, I was told to learn a trade and you’ll always be employable. In 2022, learning to code and being able to navigate the ever-evolving digital technology that society relies on, on a daily basis, is the new version of that. Ensuring our own children are not only digitally literate but also digitally capable is important to both me and to Mel,” said Dafydd.
Father first, franchisor second
David Truby is Managing Director of lawn care franchise Greensleeves. The franchisee turned franchisor sold his territory to his son, Greg Truby, in 2019 to focus on growing the franchise network. Since then, the pair have developed a flourishing relationship that has helped the franchise go from strength to strength, and they recently achieved consecutive record-breaking years. Greg is now a multi-territory owner with the horticultural franchise and previously worked with his dad, David, in head office as Communications Manager.
“Working with a family member can always be difficult, especially when you’re their franchisor, so it’s essential to communicate your expectations for your relationship at work clearly. This undoubtedly helped me separate my personal relationship from my professional one with Greg,” explained David. “I also ensured that I was not his direct line manager. I wanted him to understand he would be treated like everyone else in the network and that there would be no nepotism. Giving him a separate line manager allowed him to develop his skill set and grow as a franchisee.
“It’s been amazing to see Greg thrive within the Greensleeves network. He’s now a multi-unit owner and I have complete faith in his abilities. I’m proud that I’ve been able to help him find a career in something he previously knew nothing about. The best thing about working with your son is that we share a level of commitment to the business that only family would bring – our relationship is built on honesty and communication, which is why we have been so successful. Of course, working together in a family business presents both unique advantages and challenges, but there are things you can do to help keep things running smoothly. We try our best not to talk business outside of work and have our other family members around to keep us in check.”
Developing an award-winning relationship
When it comes to fathers in franchising, it certainly doesn’t get much better than Pitman Training Bournemouth. The adult education franchise, run by father-and-son duo Gary and Calum Hales, has already picked up the New Business of The Year and The Dorset Mind Special Award at the Bournemouth Business Awards – just one year after launching!
“During the pandemic, dad and I decided we wanted to start a family-run business. And after a bit of deliberation, we decided to go for it,” explained Calum. “My dad very much leads from the front when it comes to business, so it’s certainly been a rewarding experience working with him. This isn’t the only business he owns; however, he’s in the training centre a couple of days a week whilst I oversee the day-to-day business operations full-time.
“The key to our overwhelming success so far is that we are a very tight-knit family unit, which I believe is essential. Because of our close relationship, we can be open and honest about everything that happens within the business. In fact, because our working relationship has proved so successful already, we are now taking on a second Pitman Training location in Exeter.
“Being a father of three myself, I’m picking up loads of great tips from working with my dad about how to handle my own relationships with my kids. It has been a unique experience, and I’ve learned valuable lessons from it. The most important lesson so far has been that it’s okay to make mistakes. It doesn’t really matter if you fail because failing means you are still moving forward. That’s a key message my dad has installed in me.”
So, whether your dreams of business ownership are motivated by the desire to build an empire for your children, or to set them on a path in a lucrative industry, franchising could be the perfect solution for you.