The summer heatwave is showing no signs of cooling down, and the same can be said of the many franchise and acquisition opportunities that are coming up within the Belvoir Group! In my last column I talked about routes into franchising, and this month I thought I would touch on the benefits of growing your business by taking on an additional franchise territory. Two of our longstanding franchisees, Rob Forsyth and Jacob Felix, from Belvoir Tadley have recently done just this.
Rob and Jacob have been business partners for many years, and have done extremely well, winning many industry awards. However, they are both very ambitious and innovative entrepreneurs, and from the early days recognised that the best way for them to further achieve their business goals was to acquire a second territory. I am delighted that this has now worked out for them, and they have successfully secured the Belvoir Reading territory, as this will open a whole world of new business opportunities.
“Our current territory in Tadley doesn’t have a student market, a medical market, huge developments or a commuter market,” explained Rob. “It is basically a sleepy village with a large employer at the top of the hill. We have spent a lot of time and effort bringing in other areas, but we always knew that if we were going to successfully spread our wings in the way that we wanted to, we would need to expand out of our current territory.
“Our patch already included a couple of estates on the south side of Reading, and we have always done good business there. In addition, Jacob is from the Reading area, so is very familiar with the housing market there and we felt confident that we could operate successfully.
“The Belvoir Group has grown so much in recent times, and with so many franchise opportunities become available we thought the time to acquire Belvoir Reading, which had not been operational for some time, was now. If we didn’t do it, someone else was going to! Reading has a strong student market, two universities, two hospitals, and is a great commuter town, with great rail links. In addition, there could be very exciting business acquisition opportunities for us to capitalise on in the future.
“The process of acquiring the Reading territory was quite straightforward. I think if you are an existing franchisee your franchisor already has the measure of you and knows what you are looking for. However, there are some quite strong caveats within the franchise agreement. This is understandable, as the franchisor will not want to sell additional territories to someone who is going to just sit on them, otherwise the entire country could be bought in this way, and nothing would happen! To counter this, we had to agree to open an office within 24 months, which is not a cheap thing to do. The office must be fully branded, with all the services associated with it, so in some ways it is something of a risky venture, but Jacob and I viewed this as a risk worth taking. Our current business already has a manager, and the office has been set up to run autonomously, so we can devote our time to developing the new territory.”
Acquiring an additional territory is not for everyone, but it may well be something to consider. Because one of these franchisees already knew the area well, and they had done some business on the edges of the territory, this gave them a huge advantage. My advice to any franchisee who may be located next to a neighbouring territory with which they already have a lot of local knowledge is to consider this as leverage of potential assets. If you have the management resources to take on a second territory without jeopardising your existing business, then it may well be worth exploring the possibilities of expanding in this way. Importantly, there may well be acquisition opportunities within the second territory that would add a lot of future value to your business.