Franchise Opportunities in the UK

The International Franchise show at Excel (IFS) is one of our favourite place to go to meet enthusiastic people looking for a home for their talents and their futures.  Excel is a perfect catchment for our current drive to reach people in South East and East of England looking for franchise opportunties.

The choice of businesses for delegates to sign up to is bigger than ever – something for everyone in terms of budgets and sectors. If the franchisor isn’t exhibiting you can bet they will be attending.

At Seniors Helping Seniors we often look at other franchises to ensure that our offer is competitive and we stay ahead.  There were not many care opportunities at the show this year even though according to the BFA survey and Franchise Direct, for the right people “there really is no better industry to thrive in” read more here on Franchise Direct.

Our franchise opportunity is elderly care and we believe franchisees in any sector deserve loyalty, passion, knowledge and commitment from their franchisor, as well as the tangibles. Whilst I was touring the stands at the show, I was struck by how little some franchisors offer their franchisees and in the spirit of sharing, here’s a few tips on how to support franchisees.

The best franchise opportunities include teaching the best business skills.

How do franchisees build a customer base?

I was talking to an ambitious new franchisee who was celebrating having signed up to a franchise opportunity in a different sector.

We talked about his potential audience and how he was planning to reach clients.  He had been promised customer leads for his area but he hadn’t thought much beyond the practicalities of setting up his business and advertising to generate revenue.

He mentioned that he would inform his local newspapers about his new office opening in a few month’s time, and that he was sure they would write about it.

The reality is that earned media, or free editorial is becoming more and more challenging today. Why? Newspapers are struggling so need as much advertising revenue as possible, so when a news desk receives a press release about a new business launch, they are programmed (or told they must) to forward the contact on to the advertising team.

I invited the new tutor franchisee to our workshop on PR. He left with lots of ideas!

How do you get free editorial and does it matter?

Yes it matters! When editorial talks about the benefits of your business, your customers pay attention. Customers turn away from advertising.

You get free editorial content through well executed Public Relations.

Free content is called ‘earned media’.  Earning it is a skill and it can be hard work. Editors favour local content and since your customers are going to be local to you, you’re going to have to earn it yourself. Gone are the days that editors cover the opening of an office.

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) is everything you do, so PR needs to be a cornerstone of your business and certainly a big part of the training and support you get.

We place public relations support alongside core business functions and Seniors Helping Seniors is lucky because our mission is media friendly.  We have a strong foundation to build on.

Seniors Helping Seniors franchisees benefit from national coverage on the BBC TV, National newspapers, radio, regular mentions in lifestyle magazines, mentions in books about living well and ageing well and interviews by commenters on elderly care and employment of older people.

Having a brand that has been in the spotlight for twenty years helps but our service is about local knowledge and local expertise, so it follows that the news is local.

Seniors Helping Seniors teach our franchisees Public Relations.  We have partnered with Do PR to do this, who believe in teaching all representatives of our business to do their own PR – just like giving a man a fishing rod, rather than one fish at a time.

photo to describe Do PR's public relations strategy

DO PR’s PR strategy

Our PR activity is designed to be fun, effective and to help everyone by raising the expectations of ageing in Britain.

Here’s what’s involved in the Seniors Helping Seniors franchise opportunity PR offer:

  • Annual PR Planning
  • Press Release templates and media lists
  • PR training sessions for all franchisees
  • 24/7 support for all franchisees includes access to our bespoke PR suite, PR expertise and social media

The same package is available to other franchisors. Lisa from Do PR is offering a 20% discount using code IFS19* for franchisors signing up by July 2019.

Other PR agencies are available but here’s why we’ve never recommended the PR Agency model for start-ups Read more from here 

The benefits of franchising appeals most when job opportunities are more uncertain than ever and when 50% of new businesses fail in the first year, people are less inclined to go it alone. Read more from the BFA about 2018 Survey of best franchises here

Especially in care, trust is everything for clients.  With twenty year’s history, we are in a good position. Local stories about how we care for people in a unique, positive way and how we have re-invented retirement for local people with flexible well-paid jobs, are great reads and help us build trust.

Editors love good news content like this because it’s impacting local people and society as a whole – it’s a novel, positive model. The Seniors Helping Seniors brand has earned good publicity and we help our franchisees to formulate and tell the stories for the world to see – which includes prospective clients.

Often franchisees are parting with huge lump sums of money, but rarely do they think of it in terms of buying a job for themselves, they want and they deserve more.

From being franchisees ourselves, we know franchisees need mentors and they want loyalty. How much is a professional franchisor, who makes franchising in itself a career choice, hopping from one brand to another, going to know about your sector?

Franchisees want new skills, new lifestyles, as well as glittering futures.  PR is a skill that we are investing heavily in, and we’d be keen to see other franchisors do the same.