Jonathan O’Shea, The Alternative Board (TAB) – Bristol North

The Alternative Board franchise
The Alternative Board Profitability For Businesses

The Alternative Board (TAB) is the world’s largest peer-to-peer support and business coaching franchise. For 30 years, business professionals who have taken on the TAB franchise opportunity have improved the lives of business owners worldwide.

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TAB franchisees come from many different career backgrounds, Jonathan, for instance, was an accountant, then a finance director in the charitable sector and then a chief executive in the charitable/not for profit sector.

It was while researching a role at the British Franchise Association (BFA) that he became more aware of franchising. Shortly after he saw an advert in a recruitment piece that talked about The Alternative Board (TAB) and as they were registered with BFA they already had a seal of approval for him.

So why did Jonathan choose joining a franchise over carrying on in an employed career?
“I felt it was time to start my own business but I didn’t want to start everything from scratch and joining a franchise meant I would be part of a community with common goals. My nature (I like being around people) meant that I didn’t want to be on my own and develop everything myself.”

When asked why he chose TAB over other similar franchises available Jonathan enthusiastically answers: “The franchisors themselves! The bit that stayed in my mind was not so much the Discovery Day itself but with my initial calls with the franchisors as I continued through the recruitment process.

“We met a couple of times and involved Julie (my wife) as it was a big commitment for both of us even though Julie would not be part of my business. Looking in their eyes I could clearly see that it wasn’t about making another sale; it was about making sure I got what I wanted. Their approach suited me down to the ground.”

‘Excellent and comprehensive’ is how Jonathan describes the training and support he received from TAB. “The materials were good and head office are genuinely there to answer all my questions, they are relentlessly receptive and polite. From the word go I felt part of a community that was there to support me.”

It’s been 4 years now since Jonathan joined TAB so what challenges did he face getting his TAB business up and running?
“First and foremost, it was learning the TAB process and developing new skills

  • Sales – I had NEVER had to sell a product or service in my life! But the training equips you with the tools and sales process, perfecting the ‘elevator pitch’ etc.
  • Becoming a salesperson - Gaining confidence in my abilities as a coach as well as a new business owner. The combination of ongoing training and sitting on our own franchisee Peer Boards give you the support you need. Being a business owner was not what I expected to start with, having spent a lot of time with business owners in my career the reality is stronger and a bit more lonely than you expect it to be. The TAB community is always there for you, but it is up to you to motivate yourself, crack on and get things done, no one is going to do it for you.

Signing his first Board Member was Jonathan’s first ‘high’ - from the initial meeting booked through telemarketing to the signing and the feeling of relief that he’d actually done it!

His next ‘high’ was holding first Board meeting where a member of the TAB head office team went to support him. By the time he was holding the first board meeting for his third board he definitely felt like it had more solidity.

Jonathan enjoys supporting and coaching his board members and it has been particularly interesting over last few months. Seeing the benefits they get from talking things through and value of the boards has been epic. He really feels that he has made a positive difference to people’s lives.

Jonathan plans to keep working for the next 10-12 years and then sell his business on.

What would Jonathan’s advice be to someone thinking of buying a franchise?
“Do it, but do thorough research beforehand. Understand the finances thoroughly. People need to know what the optimist and pessimistic outcomes might be. You will need the finances to see you through the launch period and you will experience highs as well as lows, but it is so worth it in the end”

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