We caught up with Alex and Paul Dodgshon, veteran franchisees and now board members of Business Partnership, to find out more about this exciting franchise opportunity. Here’s what they had to say about Covid-19, Brexit, and scouting out the perfect franchisees.
Alex and Paul Dodgshon have achieved what many franchisees dream of doing: leaving corporate careers to become franchisees, before ascending to the positions of franchisors and directors.
After spending decades in the financial sector and banking roles, Paul felt as though he was ready to leave the corporate world behind. The savvy businessman was looking for a change that would allow him and wife Alex more freedom and flexibility around their family. When he was asked to take on the Staffordshire and Stoke franchise, it seemed like the natural next step in his career.
Now, the entrepreneurial couple operate in the Greater Manchester and Cheshire area while also sitting on the network’s board. We met to talk about how 2020 went for Alex and Paul and learn more about how being part of the Point Franchise network helps their business franchise find the right leads.
Adapting to change
Business Partnership helps business owners across the country sell their companies. Its experienced brokers deal with a wide variety of businesses, and can choose to specialise in niche sectors, large £1m+ turnover companies or apply their knowledge of business to a broader range of clients.
While 2020 turned many businesses on their heads, Alex and Paul revealed that Business Partnership’s franchisees were well equipped for the new digital norms. Most partly worked from home already or could easily switch from office to home office, making it business-as-usual from an operational point of view.
Each member of the network helps to value and advertise their clients’ businesses, before vetting potential buyers and securing the best possible deal – work that could all be carried out in a remote, Covid secure way.
One area where the franchise was forced to adapt, however, was in the training of new franchisees. Under normal circumstances, the head office team would welcome new franchisees via six days of face-to-face training.
However, 2020 called for a different approach, as Paul explained:
“Nobody wants to spend six full days training on Zoom–that would be very draining! So instead, we’ve broken the training down into more manageable sessions that allow a new franchisee to meet the team and really absorb the information.
To compensate for the lack of human connection, we’ve added additional training days to the package. There’s also going to be plenty of phone support and then, when we’re able to meet in person, we can take them through any areas they’re not sure about.”
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An opportunity for every age
There’s a common misconception that, as you get older, it’s time to start slowing down. But as Business Partnership has found with its network of successful franchisees, there’s no age limit to business ownership.
Paul revealed that a typical franchisee is someone who has enjoyed a successful corporate career and is looking for their next step. However, he stressed that, as long as they have an interest in business and a strong professional network, there is no upper or lower age limit.
“Business Partnership tends to attract people in their 40s/50s, as it’s a natural next step after spending years working for someone else. Some franchisees stay with us for a few years until retirement, while others have been with us for 20+ years. We’ve also just welcomed in someone who is only 29 but is doing incredibly well.”
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A network of experience
Support is one of the most valuable things about joining a franchise, and every member of the Business Partnership network receives as much as they need.
Alex and Paul explained how this collective franchise hive mind allows each franchisee to tackle challenging cases with confidence, offering their clients genuine insight and advice from someone with real-life experience.
“Between the three senior directors, we’ve got more than 50 years of brokerage knowledge. Chances are, we’ve assisted with the sale of the kind of business a franchisee is dealing with, and we can offer any extra advice or polish they need to seal the deal.”
“We’ve really nurtured a club ethos. Any of our franchise partners can reach out to the network and say ‘I’m going to see this type of business—does anyone have a case study or relevant experience I can use?’. They’re able to go into the conversation with a collective bank of knowledge and experience behind them.”
Accessing the best talent
Business Partnership is selective about its franchise partners in order to make sure they’re well suited to the opportunity. This can actually make it tricky to find the right kind of people. However, Alex explained that, thanks to sites like Point Franchise, Business Partnership has seen a number of good quality enquiries coming its way.
“We’ve only been part of the network since October, but we’ve already received plenty of quality franchisee leads—including one the very first day we joined!”
Paul explained that one of the biggest challenges with franchisee recruitment is finding the right, receptive audience to pitch the Business Partnership opportunity to. Point Franchise’s franchisee vetting service means that Business Partnership gets to speak to people who understand the concept well and have relevant experience.
“Of course, we won’t convert all these leads, but it’s good to have conversations that have potential, rather than feeling like a waste of our time.”
Alex added that, due to the nature of Business Partnership’s work, it’s crucial that new franchisees appreciate the investment of time and capital they’ll need to make.
“If you are willing to be an active part of your local business community, supporting events and meeting other professionals, that is the foundation for what we do. Your reputation comes from the work you put in with your clients, before finally securing their sale. You also get the satisfaction of helping someone through a life-changing process and the financial rewards those sales give them.
A bright future
Thankfully, Business Partnership’s franchisees were able to continue trading despite ongoing restrictions. Paul said that if the network can make 2021 as good as 2020 from a financial perspective, that would be a huge win.
“Our goal for 2021 is to get vaccinated and get out to see clients, old and new. We don’t need face-to-face meetings to succeed, but it’s something everyone really misses. Sadly, the impact of the pandemic means many people will have to sell their businesses, and our franchisees are ready to offer their expertise to make the process as easy as possible.”
The couple also expressed that they’re looking to recruit new franchisees, particularly in the North East and South East regions.
Join the Point Franchise network
If you’re looking to cast your net wider and find more potential franchisees via the Point Franchise network, learn how by visiting our advertise page today. Or check out our articles for franchisors, where you’ll find hundreds of insightful guides on everything from marketing to ongoing professional development.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©