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Branching Out?

Discussion in 'Researching & Planning your new business' started by Pete Brindle, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. Pete Brindle

    Pete Brindle Member

    Okay, so for anyone who doesn't know, I run a music school (a few classrooms, several teachers, some bands and a small upstairs social youth club thing for members). It has been a success, very hard work but a success all the same. I have been thinking about opening up another school for a while, because there are some kids who have to travel quite a way to get here, and I am sure that I could get enough pupils from other local schools to make it worthwhile.

    But how do I go about this? Obviously I can only run one of them, and I'm happy enough staying in my home town for the time being. How would I recruit someone to run the new school? Would I be better sending one of my trained staff there, even if it meant losing them here? Or should I advertise the job and hope that someone awesome steps forward? There is a chance I could work there for a month or so to make sure everyone knew what they were doing, but long term I know I have to stay in my home town.

    In the future I do hope to run a number of music schools across the country (and I have a few contacts in England as well who are making me think that there's a chance I could open one or more in the future there too) but just thinking about entrusting my idea and my vision on another person is scaring me!
  2. saltire

    saltire Member

    I know a few people that have been through similar dilemma's to this.

    There does come a point when you're growing any business where you need to let go and put your faith in other people. You'll need to put some rules and measurements in place to try and keep control of things. You'll make mistakes but the key is to learn fast.

    Have you ever thought about franchising it? That way people are more invested in it being a success or you could also offer a profit share to incentivise people the right way.

    I would do the first couple quite slowly and try to document the whole process and then you should be able to almost have a manual to do it anywhere you think there is a market.

    You're business is very people dependent so you'll need to get good at hiring the best people for the job.

    Good luck with it and i'm sure it will be a success :)
    Pete Brindle likes this.
  3. Pete Brindle

    Pete Brindle Member

    Thank you for your help. Franchising is something that crossed my mind, but the problem is that a music school isn't particularly hard to set up, so if these people really wanted to, they could do it on their own. It would be easier for them to be an employee asked to manage the building, but to be the owner of it is something else and if they were going that far they might as well save the fee and go it alone!

    I agree with the people dependent bit. We're nothing without people, every step of the way the right people need to be involved. So I'm determined not to get it wrong. I might start putting the feelers out with my best staff to see if they fancy a stint in another town. There are a couple who would be more than up for the job. It will be a loss to our building, but I'd hope that I could find inspirational staff to take their place if they agreed to go! And of course they would get a pay rise which should encourage them! I'd have to make sure the new setup wasn't a million miles away of course. A neighbouring town would be perfect. A few of our staff travel in anyway so it would actually be easier for them!
  4. If it were me (which I'm hoping it WILL be at some point in the future, branching out to another office) I would probably send someone I really trust to set it up, and then consider returning them to their own post back at the original office if they wanted to afterwards. I wouldn't want to entrust a whole new branch of the business to someone I'd never met or worked with before.
    Pete Brindle likes this.
  5. Pete Brindle

    Pete Brindle Member

    Yeah, thinking about it, it does seem like the best idea. I'm currently looking at properties to set up in. With our current place we actually built the building but I can't afford to do that again so we'll just have to try and find a suitable place for now!
  6. OnlineSales

    OnlineSales Member

    I would be interested to learn how you got on with your expansion plans. Personally I would go down the route of putting a trusted member of staff in charge of your new branch and maybe incentivise them with bonus payments, etc, if they deliver. There is also the opportunity to grow the business yourself, then when it reaches a certain level of turnover and profit, franchise it out. That way not only are you franchising a business already making money, very attractive to someone starting out, but you can also charge more for the franchise because it is established and making money. If someone is investing hard earned cash into an established business they are unlikely to stitch you up and set-up a rival business :)
  7. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    If done correctly franchising can bring in a lot of money but those who think it is simply a case of building up a brand and allowing others to use it for payment are very much mistaken :)
    Businessman likes this.
  8. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    ...Very true Mark.

    A year or two back I was brought in to consult on a third-sector project. They - or rather their delusional 'Chairman' - had previously brought in a large firm of consultants with a view to developing a franchising plan, but not told me. Exploring this option was put into my remit, and I very quickly concluded that they had nothing by way of I.P. other than their brand, which was still in a developing phase - something that, I think, would have been obvious to any competent business manager. - Only when I presented this conclusion did I get feedback along the lines of "yeah, that's what the other guys said"!

    Interestingly enough this is the same place that was shut down by OSCR just over a year or so ago due to them cottoning on that the whole operation was just a family-run rage-and-bone business trading as a charity in order to circumvent regulations, access handouts and gain cheap labour!

    When buying a franchise (and there are some dodgy/sham ones out there) you should be buying a whole 'turnkey' operational business which you are simply buying the right to manage in the way defined by the franchiser. - That means they should be offering you evidence that there is a proper marketing plan (and budget!) in place, operational policies and procedures are there and readily understood etc. - That there is proper training available and that the franchiser is selective as to who they will sell a territory to. - I've known 'franchises' that are nothing more than lame attempts to sell things like vinyl cutting machines and windscreen repair equipment and supplies at inflated prices; i.e. non-unique systems. - people sink their retirement money into them; and they're left with expensive bricks. ...OR those who have been so ripped-off realise they've been had and do what they should have done in the first lace; set up independently on their own.

    So no... It's definitely not just a case of building up a brand and persuading someone else to come in and pay for the privilege of helping you expand it; setting up a franchise is an awful lot more complex than that!