TaxAssist holds bespoke event to engage and support the staff of franchisees

November 17, 2019

Knowing that happy staff who feel engaged and supported are key to the success of a practice, TaxAssist Accountants recently held its first staff regional meeting at Hampton Manor Hotel in Solihull.

 
This event was delivered by Senior Managers Richard Washington, Richard Chatten-Hague and Jo Nockels on the back of the recent franchisee regional meetings with similar content but tailored specifically for staff.

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Richard Chatten-Hague, Senior Business Development Manager, said: “It was great to be a part of this productive and enjoyable, inaugural event.

“We know how vital a role staff play in the running of a practice, and so we felt it was important to hold a bespoke meeting to showcase the vast support on offer, keep them up to date with technical and business development initiatives and to provide them with a platform for views and ideas.

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“We are hopeful that holding events such as these will help with staff engagement, development and retention. We received excellent feedback from all who attended, and we will be looking to hold this event again next year.”

TaxAssist takes its commitment to staff development very seriously and runs a two-year diploma course for senior practice staff designed to nurture management and leadership skills. It also produces regular webinars and business development, technical and software training days for staff to attend.

Related: TaxAssist Accountants Franchise

Many franchisees in the network are also recognised as ICAEW accredited trainers, helping to attract and retain talented individuals by offering the ACA qualification.

A list of current staff vacancies can be found here.

Sew Confident Chorley: Getting green with the lean, mean sewing machines

November 17, 2019

Fatbergs in the UK first burst onto the sewer scene in the early 2010s, coinciding with the proliferation in usage of disposable cloths in the form of things like make-up wipes, and earlier this year, the largest fatberg ever discovered was caught sludging its way along a sewer in Liverpool. It weighed 400 tonnes and was 250 metres long. It’s still being broken up to this day.

 
Non-biodegradable solid matter is not only bad for the sewers, but bad for the environment. Aside from the fact that such products are thrown away and likely end up in landfills, they also leave a significant carbon footprint in their wake as a result of polluting manufacturing and distribution processes.

But, keen to show how things which are part of the fabric of modern life need not be so environmentally damaging, a Chorley sewing group are getting green.

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Part of a national, award-winning sewing tuition franchise, Sew Confident Chorley on St George’s Street is headed up by Dawn Elliot. Born in Fife in Scotland, Dawn moved to England at the age of 15, eventually becoming an office manager for an engineering company in Bolton before the urge to do something different kicked in.

Quitting her job, Dawn opened Sew Confident Chorley three months ago and hasn’t looked back.

“It’s gone really well,” said Dawn, who lives in Westhoughton and runs the group with the help of ‘nice little team’ of four freelancers. “People who’ve come along have really enjoyed it.”

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Covering a wide range of haberdashery’s myriad facets including everything from beginners’ tutoring and hand embroidery to quilts, soft furnishings, lingerie, dresses, and tote bags, Sew Confident is focused on reviving the tradition of hand-crafts in a warm atmosphere with like-minded people.

With people also embracing the therapeutic side of the venture, Dawn says she is ‘absolutely loving’ the change of career and while it is not easy, the job is wholly rewarding ‘when you see what people are accomplishing’.

“I’m really loving meeting people and chatting to them – people say I’m dead patient, but that’s what it’s all about,” explained Dawn, who was taught to knit by her mother and grandmother. “We don’t want to be like the old-school home economics teacher who tells you off if your stitching isn’t perfect. We’re laid back – it’s about the social aspect.

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“A few people who have come to the classes have said they’ve had anxiety issues and difficulty getting out and meeting friends, and by the end of the class they’re chatting to everyone,” she added. “It’s really rewarding: I’ve often been brought to tears by the odd message saying ‘you’ve really helped me.’

“Having something to focus on when you’re having a bad day, you need that. Be creative; do something for yourself.”

Spearheaded by Colette Cameron, who works in Sew Confident’s Glasgow branch, the group’s new focus on eco-friendly crafting is set to be a hit with plenty already showing an interest. Classes will offer people the chance to crochet quirky plat pots from old t-shirts and make their own make-up wipes, kitchen roll, and tote bags as part of the Sew Sustainable programme.

“Colette’s very into the environment and is always looking at how we can recycle, reduce waste, and reuse fabrics,” said Dawn, 42. “A lot of people are more aware and are getting into reusing things and cutting down on waste, and we’ll have classes where you can recycle and reuse to make quirky things yourself. People are into that sort of thing and want to give things they’ve made themselves as gifts.

“It’s more personal,” she said.

As well as tutoring the nimble-fingered crafty folk of Chorley, Sew Confident are also looking at doing something with Green Living Chorley, a group which is seeking to promote the benefits of an eco-friendly lifestyle, in the future. And with going green proving a hit, Dawn really is putting the ‘sew’ back in ‘social’.

“I’m really enjoying the work, and I’ve got quite a few friends from it,” said Dawn. “I’m absolutely loving it.”

By JACK MARSHALL

Source: LEP

Bestway Retail poised to leverage key demographic mapping data

November 17, 2019

Bestway Retail has completed its UK-wide demographic mapping exercise, allowing its franchise and symbol group retailers to leverage key insights into which ranges, promotions and operational models offer the best fit for specific postcode locations.

Chief retail officer Andy Cresswell told C-Store the group was now “looking ahead,” and had “refocused the business” following the turmoil related to the collapse of Conviviality and Bestway’s subsequent acquisition of its retail brands.

 
The mapping process, undertaken over the last six months with data specialist CACI, had taken a “huge amount of resource and time” but its culmination had helped the business to take up a “fighting position; something which is key in the industry today because it’s tough out there,” he said.

“It’s given us real clarity on a significant range of factors, including who the local competition is and key details about the customer demographic, allowing us to model precisely which formats would be the most successful for that specific location.

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“It’s a huge opportunity as we can now have a much better conversation with retailers about picking the right operating model for them.”

The development was likely to result in some switching between store formats in a bid to ensure that they were best suited to their unique locations, Cresswell added. The “plentiful” data would also enable Bestway to focus promotions and special offers much better to local areas and to send specific limited stock promotions to exactly the right stores.

Cresswell confirmed that the next stage of the process was a review of all the company’s retail brands, where the group now has a model for all types of customer from retail club, symbol (Best-one), franchise (Bargain Booze) and specialist (Wine Rack). However, he maintained, “we won’t be refitting hundreds of stores in the next few months, this is a long-term project”.

“Some will be better suited to a Bargain Booze format, while others may have a significant opportunity for growth under a more specialist drinks led format such as Wine Rack. Likewise, there are convenience-led fascias for others where we have an opportunity to be the primary top-up store for that location,” he added.

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Franchisee confidence in the business was also improving, Cresswell claimed. “From a franchise perspective, confidence is everything. Last year we lost a lot of (Bargain Booze) franchisees but this year we are now back at what I would call normal attritional levels, and have opened a few new sites with franchisees” Creswell added.

The180-strong company-owned store estate, 105 of which are the formerly P&H-owned Central Convenience Stores, will also benefit from the completed data project, and the outlets will be increasingly used to trial activity such as new forms of promotions and customer communication.

“Our focus on our company owned store estate has been ramped up, including the appointment of a new regional operations manager for the south where the Central Convenience Stores estate is concentrated,” Creswell added.

By Gaelle Walker

Source: Convenience Store

Drain Doctor welcomes first solo female franchisee with launch of new Edinburgh division

November 15, 2019

National plumbing and drainage business welcomes first solo female franchisee with launch of Drain Doctor Edinburgh.

Drain Doctor, the UK’s leading full service combined commercial and domestic plumbing and drainage organisation, has welcomed it’s first solo female franchise owner, Rachael Parry, with the launch of Drain Doctor Edinburgh.

 
Prior to the launch of her new plumbing and drainage franchise, Rachael spent 14 years working in Financial Services where she held the position of Product Manager at several blue-chip organisations, including Royal Bank of Scotland and Tesco Bank.

Within these roles, Rachael was responsible for creating and implementing action plans to drive trade, hit targets and deliver results, skills that will prove invaluable to the day to day running of her business.

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Rachael’s lifelong passion for the industry, alongside her experience of working within finance and managing teams, will drive the success of her business; she often recalls how she wishes she had trained as a plumber when she was at school to capture the female tradesman market.

Having just reached her milestone 40th birthday, Rachael decided that it was time to achieve this lifelong ambition of being her own boss and setting up a plumbing and drainage business.

Not wanting to start a new company from scratch, Rachael chose to go down the franchising route and make an investment in a sector and with a brand which was well known and growing fast.

Drain Doctor fitted the bill, particularly as it was part of Neighbourly, part of the world’s largest parent company of home service brands, with a franchise network of over 3,700 franchisees worldwide.

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The new office, which is based in Winchburgh, West Lothian, is ready to start trading from 11 November 2019. Alongside her qualified drainage technician, Kieran, and Drain Doctor branded van, which is fully equipped with new jetting units, cameras and the latest technology, Rachael will be available to serve homeowners and businesses across Edinburgh.

Rachael said: “The devil on my shoulder wanted to take on a traditionally male dominated industry and to achieve success through doing things differently.

“I believe that my ethos and ways of working, combined with the Drain Doctor culture of delivering an exceptional level of service will be a winning combination.

“I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and to be a key player in my city.”

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Pierre Jeannes, managing director of Drain Doctor, added: “I’m proud and delighted to welcome Rachael into our close network of Drain Doctor franchisees as the first solo female franchise owner.

“With her proven experience managing teams in large blue-chip organisations, coupled with her passion for the industry and her enthusiasm to make the business work, Rachael exemplifies the kind of franchise owner we look for across our industry and shows other women the fantastic opportunities that exist in our growing network.”

Drain Doctor is the UK’s leading full service combined commercial and domestic plumbing and drainage organisation with over 55+ franchise locations, delivering a 24/7 local service to customers across the UK.

By John Glover

Source: Deadline News

Monkey Music launch a partnership with Nordoff Robbins with a magical musical gift this Christmas!

November 15, 2019

Monkey Music, a leading light in pre-school premium music education in the UK, believe that a partnership with Nordoff Robbins, the UK’s largest independent music charity, is the perfect partnership.

 
To celebrate, Monkey Music has commissioned the production of a brand new charity song, ‘Music is a Gift’, with all proceeds of sales going to Nordoff Robbins this Christmas.

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Celebrating 25 years of delivering over 4.8 million classes nationwide, Monkey Music understands the power of music, reflecting the life-changing work Nordoff Robbins do, providing music therapy to thousands of vulnerable and isolated people each year.

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This heart-warming song can be downloaded from the Monkey Music online shop for just £1.49 Music is a Gift and all proceeds will be given to Nordoff Robbins.

Every Donation Counts, so please click here to learn more about Nordoff Robbins work, and to make a direct donation.

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The song was specially commissioned by Monkey Music and written by Fiona Pritchard. Vocals: Niamh Perry. Guitar: Ollie Hannifan. Bass: Marcus Pritchard. Drums: James Pritchard. Producer: Kevin Pritchard.

Monkey Music

Franchise business based on successful doggy day care model goes into liquidation

November 14, 2019

Canine Creche – A spin-off of an award-winning dog care business has been put into liquidation after becoming embroiled in a legal row.

The Canine Creche Group Ltd (CCGL), which had sold franchise models to clients across East Anglia was ordered to be wound up in June following a petition by a creditor.

 
The business offered franchisees the chance to run a business based on the successful Suffolk Canine Creche, which was set up in Martlesham by businesswoman Candace Rose.

Although Suffolk Canine Creche has continued to prove popular with pet owners – picking up multiple awards – the franchise model has faced problems.

Three franchisees – for both the dog walking and doggy day care models on offer – said they left the agreements, claiming they had been sold an unrealistic vision of how their business would perform. They said the franchise model failed to deliver the profits they had been expecting. Other franchisees have left but not commented on their reasons.

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Suffolk Canine Creche said the decision to place CCGL into insolvency was to avoid security costs which it had to pay as part of court proceedings. A spokesman said it had instigated the proceedings to recover money from a former franchisee – but as the security costs were greater than the outstanding amount “it would be foolish to progress the case”.

The spokesman added that CCGL owed no other money and the company learnt from the experience, including introducing more robust selection processes for franchisees.

Under the original agreement, day care franchisees paid £42,500 to CCGL, which entitled them to use its business model, as well as access to help sourcing a site, planning permission and licenses.

And while most said the initial support was helpful, many have questioned advice given. One said they had been recommended a “massive site” which left them with rates that were “absolutely crippling us”.

Others criticised the franchise payments, which required £300 a month to be paid for a “business coach” plus extra towards a marketing budget and 5% of the takings each month.

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Helen Whight, who paid £6,000 for a dog walking franchise, said she had been predicted to make £26,000 in the first year by charging £20p/h for walks, but by the time costs were taken into account, her profit was just £160 for the 12 months

The franchisees have now parted ways CCGL following the winding up order led by franchisee Dilan Davda.

Mr Davda had sought to buy a cluster of franchises, which would have seen him run five day care centres in towns including St Albans, Stevenage, Harpenden and Colchester – but after several months the relationship broke down. After opening the first franchise, Mr Davda, 43, wrote to Mrs Rose asking for a break of several months to resolve personal matters. But CCGL claimed he was looking to quit the agreement and sent him an early exit invoice, first for £46,500, then reduced to £20,000 plus VAT.

Emails show disputes about the contract and the obligations of both parties.

When Mr Davda, who had already paid £75,000, including deposits, for the franchises refused to pay the exit fee, CCGL took him to court.

But his solicitors issued a defence and counterclaim, arguing the agreement was written with terms that “created ambiguities”. They said there was no requirement for Mr Davda to open all the franchises within one year, nor was there any requirement to pay an exit fee.

The counterclaim said Canine Creche made a “wrongful demand” for an exit fee.

It added that CCGL wrongdoing “destroyed the relationship of trust” and sought damages of £78,000 plus interest.

The court had not made a decision on the damages but ordered CCGL pay Mr Davda £4,800 in costs in March 2019.

Having not received any payment, Mr Davda’s solicitors filed a winding up petition, claiming the company was “unable to pay its debts”.

Mr Davda said he took the action to “send a message”.

CCGL’s latest published accounts for September 2018 showed it had assets of £35,000 but owed creditors £47,000.

Meanwhile, CCGL tried to move its franchisees over to a new company called Canine World. While some agreed, others refused. Ms Whight said: “We all said ‘no, what’s going on here’.”

She said she had already been looking for a way out “and this was my get out clause”.

A CCGL spokesman said the legal dispute happened a year ago involving a franchisee who it said owed the company £25,000.

“As claimant we began court proceedings to recover the loss having exhausted other avenues the court system then required a security that was greater than the outstanding amount, which meant it would be foolish to progress the case – sadly the court system failed us,” the spokesman added.

“To conclude the matter an offer was made to the respondent to write off our debt and settle costs of £4,200 (which the court ordered us to pay) in return for an amicable parting. The respondent declined via our solicitor, so the strategic decision was to place the company into insolvency owing £4,200 costs. The company owed no monies to any other party and we severed relations with the respondent.”

The company said it had learned lessons for its new business, including adjusting its profiling for franchisees to match that of our current successful operators and made our selection process even more robust.

“We have declined 16 people in 2019 who do not reach the standards of our criteria,” the company added. “We are delighted with the new franchisees who are in the process of securing and opening their new sites and feel confident that they will make a positive contribution to the animal industry across the UK.”

By Andrew Hirst

Source: EADT

Radfield creates more franchise opportunities with territory expansion

November 14, 2019

Radfield Home Care has expanded its territories throughout Birmingham to open up future franchise opportunities.

 
The HSBC Emerging Franchisor of the Year 2019 winner has launched new ‘super territories’ thought out the Birmingham area that, it claims, will offer franchise opportunities with ‘sustainable returns and high levels of social value’.

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The super territories have been developed to include three times the population of standard territories giving potential home care franchise partners a larger pool of clients.

Birmingham was selected as a base for the new territories thanks to its proximity to Radfield Home Care’s national office and the cities transport links.

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The new territories neighbour each other, stretching from Wednesdbury to Martson Green.

Franchisor, Dr Hannah MacKechnie, said: “We wanted to create a unique opportunity for inspiring franchise partners and one of the ways for us to do this was to increase the business opportunity within a given territory. After reviewing various locations across the country, Birmingham was perfect for this.

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“Made up of numerous small towns, each with their own unique cultures and demographics, it meant we could develop multiple super territories in the area each with a healthy mix of different age groups and incomes – essential for a healthy balance of clients and staff.”

By MATTHEW TRASK

Source: Home Care Insight

Woman’s personal fitness journey inspires approach at specialised gym in Sudbury

November 13, 2019

Gymophobics Franchise UK. Fed up with the dynamics of a conventional gym, Sarah Archer joined a fitness group, which adopted a unique approach to boosting health with weight loss.

After dropping three dress sizes at Gymophobics, she was inspired to launch her own business venture in Sudbury.

 
“It was my dream to open my own gym,” said Mrs Archer, who became a qualified fitness instructor with the franchise, before opening her own branch on Market Hill in August.

“It’s going really well,” she said. “We have 136 members who have joined so far.”

Unlike traditional fitness facilities, the centre – which is a women-only gym – provides 30-minute circuit sessions where members take turns on specialist exercise machines.

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Each session is designed to boost all-round fitness, while focusing on any medical conditions that members may suffer from.

“It’s about changing women’s lives – it’s not just joining the gym; we try to improve their health, too,” said Mrs Archer.

“We take a holistic approach; we help women of all ages.”

The centre provides air-powered resistance exercise machines, which help to reduce pressure on the joints compared to traditional fitness equipment.

“We don’t use machines like other gyms, so women can exercise in their lunch breaks if they want to,” said Mrs Archer, adding that the sessions provide social benefits for members.

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“We’re like a home from home,” said the 53-year-old. “There’s a café area if they want to socialise.”

Noticing a dramatic improvement in a large number of members has been a rewarding experience for Mrs Archer.

The centre’s oldest member, who is 85 and a full-time carer to her husband, was reluctant to join at first, but has since reaped the benefits.

“Her mobility and confidence have grown in a short space of time,” said Mrs Archer.

The team wear smart clothes as opposed to sports gear, which helps to create a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Mrs Archer added: “We don’t want our members to feel intimidated in any way.”

By Priya Kingsley-Adam

Source: Suffolk Free Press

Ecocleen buys Regency Cleaning Services

November 13, 2019

Services provider Ecocleen in the UK has completed the acquisition of Regency Cleaning Services in a deal worth up to €2.9 million.

 
The successful takeover will enable the company to increase its presence within key sectors such as education and motor retail, while expanding its nationwide franchise network.

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“Regency Cleaning Services is a likeminded and profitable business that will immediately strengthen a number of existing franchisees while helping us create new franchise areas,” explains Jean-Henri Beukes, managing director of Ecocleen. Its managing director, Darran Penny, will also join us as commercial director, bringing more than 20 years of experience within the cleaning industry.”

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Beukes added: “This is the first of a number of strategic acquisitions we are planning as we look to accelerate our growth within the UK. We are seeking further opportunities in London, the South-East, South-West and North-West.”

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Source: European Cleaning Journal

TGI Fridays sold in £300m deal that will take it public

November 12, 2019

TGI Fridays is poised to become a public listed company again after its parent company, TGIF Holdings, agreed a sale to blank check company Allegro Merger Corp in a deal worth $380m (£297m).

Blank check companies are typically listed organisations with no operations that raise money from investors via an IPO for acquisitions.

 
TGIF’s holders will receive a combination of cash and stock valued at $30m (£23m) and Allegro will assume approximately $350m (£270m) of net debt.

TGI Fridays has become a leader in international restaurant franchising with more than half of its 840 branches located outside of the US. It operates around 85 in the UK.

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Licensing accounts for over 70% of total profitability, according to the casual dining bar and grill concept, which was founded in 1965.

Last year the business generated sales of approximately $2 billion (£1.54m) and the average annual unit volume (AUV) was around $2.7m (£2.08m)

Within the past year, Fridays has made substantial improvements to its management team, bringing in CEO Ray Blanchette, a 19-year company veteran who previously led the successful turnaround and subsequent IPO of Ignite Restaurant Group.

Subsequently, he brought both John Neitzel and Jim Mazany back to Fridays to run franchising and company stores, respectively.

“The first order of business when I took over this company was to bring in the best talent to improve operations and innovation,” he explained. “This transaction is the next significant strategic move, and will allow us to gain public company status and access incremental equity capital to accelerate the rejuvenation of this iconic global brand.”

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Eric Rosenfeld, CEO of Allegro, which was incorporated two years ago, said: “Allegro’s board and I believe that Fridays is an unparalleled iconic international brand and we are excited to be able to bring this opportunity to our shareholders.

“Fridays’ highly predictable stream of franchise and licensing revenue is very attractive and we believe that Fridays provides a compelling value to our shareholders.”

News of the sales comes as TGI Fridays prepares to transition to a new management team in the UK. Long-serving chief executive Karen Forrester is set to depart in December after 12 years and will be replaced by former Virgin Active boss Robert Cook.

By ANDREW SEYMOUR

Source: FEJ