Some 1,000 new franchise units and the creation of 10,000 new jobs a year by 2015 is the vision of Mr Franchise, a franchise brokerage service that has been launched by Iain Martin and aims to build a national network of 50 regional consultants.
With an extensive background in franchise match-making, Martin (pictured) believes he has spotted a significant gap in the market for advisory services for those wishing to acquire a franchise.
Currently, the only options open to prospective franchisees are to adopt the “DIY” approach to finding a franchise (seminars, books, exhibitions, magazines, and websites, etc.) or use a telephone-based brokerage service.
The Mr Franchise model is based on taking prospective franchisees through a structured assessment process that involves a series of face-to-face meetings. Based on these, they will be introduced to franchisors where their attributes fit comfortably, and managed through the recruitment process.
There is no charge for candidates who acquire a franchise through the service. Franchisors pay a success fee for each franchise awarded.
The business has appropriately been launched as a franchise, and following a trial of the system in the Black Country, the first Mr Franchise unit has been awarded to David Nelson, who has taken the Lancashire territory.
Nelson, who has been involved in franchising for a number of years as a franchisee, commented: “Having experienced the challenges associated with using the DIY approach to finding a franchise for myself, I immediately recognised the benefits of having a friendly local consultant who would be able to guide me through the franchise maze.
“I am delighted to be part of the Mr Franchise network, and although we don’t launch officially until the beginning of March, I am already finding a very positive reception from fellow business professionals in the Preston area.”
Martin believes that, with the demise of the local Business Link service, there is no easy way for prospective franchisees to get face-to-face advice, and he expects each Mr Franchise consultant to become a key member of their local professional advisory network.
Another major benefit of the service for franchisors is that the Mr Franchise business model is based on meeting prospective franchisees via referrals in their region, and whilst some internet and social media promotion will be used, it is not core to the business. As a result, Martin expects to be adding to the pool of prospective franchisees, rather than fishing in the same water as everyone else.
There are opportunities for established franchisors to become part of the Mr Franchise portfolio, but at this start up stage candidates will only be offered for the Black Country and Lancashire.