Supporting business growth

Dorian Gonsalves advises on the many advantages of receiving franchise support when expanding through acquisition

Supporting business growth

Business growth is always exciting, and in recent weeks several franchisees from within the Belvoir Group have completed on acquisitions or resales that have dramatically increased the size of their business. 

One example is that of Mitch Mitchison, the owner of Northwood Reading & Newbury, who recently acquired a local independent lettings’ agency, which doubled the size of his business overnight. Becoming one of the largest letting agents in Reading is a very exciting time for Mitch, but there is no doubt that he valued the experience and support he received from the Belvoir Group throughout the process. Receiving support that is tailored to a particular brand, during and after an acquisition is very important, particularly when it involves taking on new team members and new premises and even in some cases, a new territory. 

The Belvoir Group has its own dedicated inhouse Acquisition Team. The team assists with all aspects of the acquisition process, such as sourcing opportunities, assessing them to ensure they are viable and will add value to a franchisee’s existing assets, and then helping franchisees with negotiating, providing financial and legal advice etc. Once the acquisition has completed the team continue to support the franchisee through the first few weeks, holding their hand as they work through a whole checklist of things that need to be done. This action checklist will vary in nature depending on whether the acquisition is an asset sale. 

Importantly, the team will help to ensure that the franchisee is abiding by all the rules and regulations that apply to the acquisition, such as the transfer of employees and the application of TUPE (The Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) which is designed to protect the rights of employees. Communicating clearly with employees who are transferring is very important to help reduce stress for them and address any concerns they may have. Without the support of the franchisor this stage of the acquisition process can seem a little daunting, but the Belvoir Group has been assisting franchisees with acquisitions for so long the entire process is now something of a well-oiled machine, making it as smooth as possible for all parties. So far this year our Acquisition Team has helped with 13 franchisee-led acquisitions, and four more are with lawyers, whilst a further 16 are in the pipeline, so the appetite for acquisition is very strong.

In addition to buying out independent agents, another way for our franchisees to achieve business growth is by taking on the resale of an existing business from one of the brands within the Belvoir Group network. Some of the brands within the Belvoir Group have franchisees who have been operating for 10-15 years and have decided the time is right to sell their business. Others choose to sell for different reasons – perhaps they have achieved their business goals, wish to take on new challenges, or are suffering ill health. Resales can provide excellent opportunities for a new franchisee, but they can also be bought by an existing franchisee. 

A franchisee who expands their business by taking on a resale has the advantage of already knowing the business model very well and is well placed to provide a smooth transition process to existing clients and team members. A resale can also provide the business owner with new team members who have accumulated vast experience in an area that the franchisee is looking to build on – for example, a franchisee with a lettings business may be looking to enter the sales market and enhance their earnings by providing financial services. Taking on a resale that already offers residential sales is a fast-track method of achieving this goal.

In summary, there are many benefits to achieving business growth through acquisition but being able to receive support from your franchisor throughout the process provides a major advantage to achieving a successful outcome. Finally, when it comes to resales, I think it is worth pointing out that perhaps the biggest benefit of investing in a full franchise as opposed to an income-based pyramid sale type franchise, is that it enables franchisees to build a capital asset, which can then provide a healthy financial return on exit.

Dorian Gonsalves
Dorian Gonsalves