Franchising case study

Ian HughesIan Hughes, Travel Counsellors.

“We offer a friendly, one to one travel service – a personal relationship with an experienced travel expert who cares about you and your journey”

I began my franchising journey a little under a year ago now, looking for a career change but knowing that the area I wanted to move into would prove difficult. With this knowledge I conducted much research on the internet, attending franchise exhibitions and meeting with the company whom I had wished to franchise on a number of occasions. This included open days at head office and speaking to others who had made that step to see how they had found the transition, including some who had followed a similar journey as myself.

With all of the due diligence complete I paid a fairly substantial fee to not only take the company brand, but to undertake their training, understand their ethos and have their continued administrative and business support from their base at head office while I build my business and beyond.

My situation may be slightly different to other franchises in that I had zero experience in the field in which I was entering, so I had some intensive training to undertake. Fortunately Travel Counsellors offer an “academy” franchise route for those completely new to the travel industry, as well as a more traditional franchise model for those who have a background in the industry.

I took the academy route, and found this to be very well structured .It allowed me to return home to open my business with enough knowledge to do so and grow at my own rate. I was issued with a laptop, had a business line installed at home and connected wirelessly to their IT systems for my return home.

Due to the nature of the beast I was never going to have all the knowledge required from this training, which is why I have continued contact with head office for support should it be required, as well as a substantial amount of online e-learning to further progress my understanding. It is this contact that I have found to be the most invaluable aspect of being a franchisee.

Now, this may not be the case for all franchises but having that knowledge and support at the other end of a phone has been exceptionally important from my perspective. From the smallest queries regarding individual enquires I had received to instantaneous support in situations of urgency, as well as IT provision when practical issues arose, the fact that they are there is a comforting guard against those days where you wonder if this has been the correct decision or not.

Beyond this is have almost daily contact with a personal business development manager, who advises me on growth of my business and the more practical issues involved in running one, again, something I have found hugely important given this is my first venture in doing so.

So while my situation is individual and my franchise somewhat rare in its circumstance in the market, the support of a strong central hub has been the most valuable part of my investment. With all of the staff wanting the same success it makes it much easier practically and emotionally to forge ahead with my ambitions to see my business grow and eventually thrive.