Ever wondered What is a Franchise? In our latest ProfileTree TV interview, our CEO Ciaran Connolly chats to business giant Drew Beckett, CEO and Founder of Beckett Hanlon, an international property franchise.
In business, a franchise is a type of license that grants a franchisee access to a franchisor’s proprietary business knowledge, processes and trademarks. This then allows the franchisee to sell a product or service under the franchisor’s business name.
In this interview, Drew Beckett explains why he ditched retirement to use his 30 years’ experience in sales, property and investment to create a chain of franchises that sell international property safely.
What Is a Franchise?
A franchise is a type of business model in which a franchisor entity grants a franchisee entrepreneur/small business owner access to use its well-established business name, brand, products, and proven success system to operate a business location.
In exchange for the rights to the franchisor’s brands and knowledge capital, the franchisee agrees to pay an initial franchise fee along with ongoing royalty fees related to operations and use of trademarks. These ongoing payments also grant the franchise location continued access to critical training, standardized procedures, marketing guidance, operational advice, bulk purchasing power, and more from the parent company.
Essentially, becoming a franchise owner enables an entrepreneur to tap into an existing company’s reputation, leverage its supply chains, apply its methodologies, and have an ongoing lifeline of support. This allows the franchisee to hit the ground running with their business location while benefiting from the franchisor company’s experience, resources, leverage, and brand identity within the marketplace.
Check out the video below, and read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
The Story of Beckett Hanlon
Beckett Hanlon is the successful product of retirement boredom. After a longstanding career in the financial and insurance industries, Drew tells us how BeckettHanlon came to fruition.
“My background is financial services, and I worked for three different insurance companies. The last one being Zurich, I was the President of Sales there. I’ve never, ever been employed. I’ve always been self-employed – even by Zurich.”
He explains how at the age of 56 he retired and sold his self-employed business to Zurich. Originally, Drew had very different plans for the future.
“Previously my wife and I bought a villa in Spain and our intentions were to go and live there. Truthfully – after three months I got totally bored!”
To beat the boredom, Drew’s neighbour suggested he should try his hand at selling international property.
“Then for 7-8 years myself, I sold property at all price-points – from £100,000 to one million, even more, and I really really enjoyed it.
“Then my daughter Linda said: ‘Dad you’re going to get bored again, why not teach people to do what you do…so why not start a franchise?’.
“I then got a couple of very good people to build a franchise. It took 15 months to get that up and running, legally and every other way. At the same time I was selling property myself and building the franchise.”
Drew points out that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that patience really is a virtue when starting up a franchise.
“It took 4-5 years to build this. I think in the first year we had one franchise partner. My wife asked me if I thought it was going to work and I said ‘Yes it will work, it just takes a bit of time’.
“So the one thing I’ve learned – and I’m 70 years of age – is that you can’t put a price on time. You just have to work on it.”
Where Beckett Hanlon is Now?
With many new businesses, success comes after striving. Now, six years after conceptualising the franchise, Drew talks through his progression to date.
“We have recruited 19 people to date, which I’m very happy with. Hopefully we’re going to have our 20th one before year end. We have people in Dublin, we have people in Northern Ireland and people in the UK.
“We also have three offices that we use: one in Belfast, one in Dublin and one in Manchester.”
And when Drew found himself doubting if he could set up a franchise business – he realised that his experience in financial services would help him in selling property and franchises.
“Truthfully I never thought I’d be able to do this. But I realised one thing I had – I speak to people in my past life about financial matters and try to help them with that. In franchising and selling international property, I help the people, or my partners help them, find their dream home they are looking for but making sure it is bought safely”.
How did Beckett Hanlon Grow?
No business can grow without investment in a solid strategy. Beckett Hanlon tried and tested many routes to get the franchise name out there – one of them being advertising.
Exposure is key to raising brand awareness. Drew explains how he moved from simple word of mouth methods to print and digital advertising to help boost the BeckettHanlon name.
“I think the attraction initially was word of mouth – people I knew. At heart I’m a salesman and I’m proud of that, so I spoke to people that I’ve obviously known.
“Then I put a bit more money into the franchise and started to advertise in franchise magazines and websites.
“The magazines truthfully were not as good for me. I’m not sure about paper today, about people reading things. I think the internet and websites are taking care of everything. We do get quite a lot of leads online.”
Another core aspect of selling franchises is a supportive sales strategy, as Drew points out.
No matter what business you have, you have to be a salesperson. However, it is a learning curve. With Drew’s extensive experience in sales, he provides useful advice.
“Sales skills are very important to have. When I started selling, I thought I knew everything – so at Beckett Hanlon training, we teach people: ‘You have to listen and learn before you earn’.
“I can help people to sell – but what I cannot do is get them out to work, which is often the hardest part. You have to want to do it.”
Acknowledging this, for anyone starting out in sales – Drew emphasises that while sales is an important part of franchising, the key is grounding yourself – not pressuring yourself.
“What I would say to anyone is realise one thing – you’re not meant to sell to everybody. Then you won’t think of yourself as a failure.
“We have a saying that ‘Your attitude determines your altitude’. We recruit people who never have sold a property in their life. Normally we don’t recruit estate agents, because our model is very proactive and not reactive. So it really is about being driven but caring, doing to people what you would want them to do to you, having good credibility and having recommendations. These are paramount.”
Throughout the rest of our 30-minute ‘deep dive’ into Beckett Hanlon and Drew himself – Drew covers his franchise model, what is involved in a franchise plus his own experiences in intricate detail.
To get advice and be inspired, watch our ProfileTree TV interview in full.
Expanding Your Understanding of Franchises: Beyond the Basics
While you’ve likely encountered familiar names like McDonald’s and Subway in the franchise kingdom, there’s more to this realm than meets the eye. Let’s explore some lesser-known franchise models and peek into exciting emerging sectors:
Beyond the Burger: Diving into Less Common Models:
- Area Development Franchises: Think of these as regional power players. You secure exclusive rights to develop multiple franchise units within a specific territory, building your own mini-empire within the brand’s umbrella.
- Master Franchises: Here, you become the kingmaker, responsible for recruiting and supporting other franchisees within your designated territory. It’s like owning a franchise… for franchises!
Emerging Frontiers: Where Franchising is Breaking New Ground:
- Tech Tsunami: Get ready for the tech takeover! From cybersecurity franchises keeping businesses safe to fitness studios powered by VR, the tech sector is embracing franchising, offering exciting opportunities for those who love innovation.
- Healthcare Haven: From senior care facilities to specialized medical services, the healthcare industry is increasingly turning to franchising to expand reach and improve quality. This opens doors for entrepreneurs passionate about making a difference in people’s lives.
Remember: These are just a few snapshots of the diverse landscape of franchising. As you explore your options, keep your eyes peeled for these niche sectors and unique models that might perfectly align with your interests and goals.
- Briefly showcase successful examples of less common franchise models to pique reader interest.
- Mention relevant trends and statistics to highlight the growth potential of emerging sectors.
- Emphasize the skills and expertise required for success in each model, encouraging self-reflection and informed decision-making.
Beyond Black and White: Nuances of Benefits and Drawbacks in Franchising
Franchising might seem like a shimmering mirage – promising instant brand recognition, proven systems, and lucrative profits. But like any oasis, there are hidden sands beneath the surface. Let’s peel back the layers and explore the nuanced benefits and drawbacks, tailored to different individuals and franchise models:
The Honey Pot: Sweet Rewards for Different Palates:
- The Risk-Averse Soul: Craving a proven business model with built-in marketing and training? Franchising offers a comforting roadmap, reducing the entrepreneurial rollercoaster with established brand recognition and operational frameworks.
- The Time-Crunched Hustler: Juggling a busy life but harboring entrepreneurial dreams? Some franchises, like cleaning services or home-based operations, offer flexible schedules and remote management options, allowing you to build your empire around your commitments.
- The Passionate Pro: Are you a fitness fanatic dreaming of owning a gym? A tech geek envisioning your own coding academy? Passion-driven franchises can be incredibly fulfilling, as you combine your expertise with the business infrastructure and support of a successful brand.
The Thorns Beneath the Roses: Challenges to Consider:
- Hidden Costs and Fees: Beyond the initial franchise fee, be prepared for ongoing royalties, marketing contributions, and advertising fees. Factor in these hidden costs to paint a realistic financial picture.
- Lack of Complete Control: Franchise systems come with established operating standards and brand guidelines. While this ensures consistency, it also means less room for individual customization and entrepreneurial flair.
- Franchisee-Franchisor Tango: Not every partnership clicks. Potential conflicts around marketing decisions, territory rights, and operational interpretations can arise. Understanding communication and conflict resolution mechanisms is crucial.
Model Matters: Tailoring the Nuances to Specific Franchises:
- Fast Food vs. Retail: The demands and challenges of managing a high-volume restaurant franchise differ vastly from running a boutique clothing store. Research the specific operational complexities and cultural dynamics within your chosen industry.
- B2C vs. B2B: Franchises focused on consumer services require strong interpersonal skills and community engagement, while B2B franchises might emphasize technical expertise and industry networking. Align your strengths and interests with the demands of the model.
Remember: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the benefits and drawbacks of franchising. The key is to understand the nuanced tapestry woven with your unique personality, financial goals, and chosen franchise model. By delving beyond generic pros and cons, you can make informed decisions and set yourself up for success in the dynamic world of franchising.
- Showcase real-life examples of individuals who thrived in specific franchise models, despite potential challenges.
- Offer resources and tools to help readers assess their risk tolerance, financial readiness, and entrepreneurial skills.
- Emphasize the importance of thorough research and due diligence before signing on the dotted line with any franchise.
How to Choose the Perfect Franchise Match
The decision to join a franchise isn’t taken lightly. It’s like navigating a treasure map, filled with promising possibilities but also potential pitfalls. To help you chart your course towards success, let’s dive into practical steps for choosing the perfect franchise for you:
Shining a Light on the Numbers: Financial Deep Dive:
- Crunch the Numbers: Requesting the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) is your financial flashlight. Analyze initial fees, royalties, advertising contributions, and estimated operating costs to create a realistic budget.
- Seek Professional Guidance: Consult a franchise attorney or financial advisor to clarify the legal and financial implications of your chosen franchise.
- Stress Test your Budget: Don’t just analyze initial costs, project your cash flow and break-even point. Be prepared to weather the initial investment period and potential economic fluctuations.
Beyond the Glitter: Evaluating the Brand and System:
- Unmask the Brand: Research the brand’s history, reputation, and customer satisfaction ratings. Are their values aligned with yours? How well-established is their market presence?
- Kick the Tires of the System: Analyze the operational manuals, training programs, and ongoing support offered by the franchisor. Are they comprehensive and tailored to your needs?
- Talk to the Troops: Reach out to existing franchisees. Ask about their experiences, challenges, and level of satisfaction with the franchisor. Their insights are invaluable gems on your treasure map.
Know Thyself: Identifying Your Path:
- Strengths Check: Take self-assessment tools to evaluate your skills, personality, and work style. Which franchise sectors best align with your natural strengths and interests?
- Passion Compass: Does a specific industry ignite your spark? Consider your passions and long-term goals when choosing a franchise. Remember, you’ll be dedicating your energy to this venture, so choose something you truly care about.
- Life Balance Blueprint: Evaluate your preferred workload and desired level of control. Some franchises demand more time and hands-on management than others. Ensure your chosen path fits your desired lifestyle.
Beyond the Guidebook: Resources and Tools for Empowerment:
- Franchise Associations: Utilize resources from organizations like the International Franchise Association (IFA) to access educational materials, events, and industry insights.
- Online Assessment Tools: Online quizzes and self-assessment tools can help you identify your entrepreneurial strengths and interests, narrowing down your search for the perfect franchise fit.
- Franchise Expos: Attending franchise expos allows you to connect directly with franchisors, gather information, and compare opportunities under one roof.
Remember: Choosing a franchise is a marathon, not a sprint. Patience, thorough research, and self-awareness are key to finding the perfect match. Utilize these actionable steps, resources, and introspection to navigate the path towards franchise success. Your ideal treasure awaits at the end of the map, waiting to be unearthed with dedication and informed decision-making.
Beyond Franchising: Exploring Your Options
While franchising offers a compelling path to business ownership, it’s not the only choice on the menu. Let’s explore other avenues and compare their advantages and disadvantages to help you chart your ideal entrepreneurial course:
1. Starting Your Own Business:
- Total control: You call the shots, shaping your brand, strategy, and operations according to your unique vision.
- Profit potential: All the rewards (and risks) are yours, potentially leading to higher profit margins.
- Innovation playground: No established framework to follow, leaving you free to innovate and carve your own niche.
- Steep learning curve: You navigate uncharted territory, mastering everything from market research to legal compliance on your own.
- Higher initial investment: Building a brand from scratch requires significant upfront costs for marketing, branding, and infrastructure.
- Risk of failure: Without the proven model and support of a franchise, the risk of failure, while not a guarantee, is statistically higher.
2. Acquiring an Existing Business:
- Established customer base: Tap into an existing market and avoid the long slog of initial customer acquisition.
- Proven track record: Analyze financial statements and historical performance to assess potential success.
- Existing infrastructure: Leverage established systems, branding, and operational frameworks, saving time and resources.
- Hidden costs: Potential liabilities and unforeseen issues within the business can emerge after purchase.
- Adapting to existing culture: Integrating your vision with an established team and clientele might require careful navigation.
- Limited growth potential: Depending on the industry and market saturation, you might inherit limitations on expansion opportunities.
3. Franchising vs. Other Models:
Franchising offers a middle ground, balancing the freedom of business ownership with the support and proven model of a larger brand. While you lose some control compared to starting your own business, you mitigate the risks and benefit from established marketing, training, and operational know-how. Compared to acquiring an existing business, franchising provides a cleaner slate with predictable costs and a brand with broader growth potential.
Inspiring Success Stories:
To spark your entrepreneurial flame, read about individuals like Steve and Debbie Travis, who transformed their lives and built a thriving home healthcare franchise, BrightStar Care. Or draw inspiration from Maria Rios, who defied gender stereotypes to become a multi-unit Taco Bell franchisee, proving that success knows no bounds in the world of franchising.
If your audience has a regional focus, highlight successful franchises within your area. Showcase local heroes like the family behind the beloved pizza chain Giovanni’s in Pittsburgh or the innovative fitness studio franchise Burn Boot Camp, thriving in cities nationwide. Highlighting local success stories adds an element of relatability and inspires potential franchisees in your region.
Remember: The best business model is the one that aligns with your skills, passion, and goals. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option, research thoroughly, and seek professional guidance if needed. By exploring all paths and drawing inspiration from success stories, you can confidently choose the one that leads you to entrepreneurial fulfillment.
Become a Part of Our Business Leaders Series
Interested in featuring on our Business Leaders series? In our acclaimed series, we share amazing advice, tips and stories from business owners, managers and senior leaders.
From growing your business to looking after your staff, new industry insights and innovative ideas – we cover everything to inspire professionals across all sectors. If you want to become a part of it, simply drop us a message.
Frequently Asked Questions about Franchising:
Q: Do I need any business experience to own a franchise?
A: While some franchises prefer experienced individuals, not all require prior business ownership. Many offer comprehensive training programs to equip you with the necessary skills and knowledge. Assess your existing skills and identify franchises that offer strong support systems for new owners.
Q: How much money do I need to start a franchise?
A: Costs vary widely depending on the brand and industry. Consider initial franchise fees, equipment costs, working capital, and ongoing royalties and marketing fees. Analyze your financial situation and create a realistic budget before choosing a franchise.
Q: What are the biggest challenges of owning a franchise?
A: Lack of complete control over certain aspects of the business, adhering to brand guidelines, and managing ongoing franchise fees can be challenges. Thoroughly research the specific franchise and understand its requirements before taking the plunge.
Q: What are the potential rewards of owning a franchise?
A: Leveraging a proven brand and marketing system, benefiting from ongoing support and training, and reduced risk compared to starting from scratch are some of the potential rewards. Assess your individual goals and determine if the benefits align with your priorities.
Q: How do I decide if franchising is right for me?
A: Take self-assessment tools to understand your skills and interests. Research different franchise models and compare them to starting your own business or acquiring an existing one. Seek professional guidance if needed to assess your financial feasibility and suitability for specific franchise opportunities.
Conclusion: Is a Franchise Right for You?
Franchising is not a magic formula for guaranteed success, but it can be a powerful springboard for your entrepreneurial journey. By understanding the complexities, weighing the opportunities against the challenges, and aligning your goals with the right franchise model, you can unlock the potential for a fulfilling and rewarding career as a franchise owner.