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How franchisee feedback created award winners

advantages that franchisees look for as they are based on feedback from thousands of franchisees over the year in the unique Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark survey of the consultancy Smith & Henderson. The awards are sponsored by Lloyds TSB and supported by Franchise World. To advise readers on what attracts franchisees, we are running a series of interviews with the four winning franchisors beginning here with Mandy Bagot, the founder of Cloud Bookkeeping, the winner of the Best Growing Franchisor title. This category is for franchisors who have been franchising for less than two years or have less than 15 franchisees. “When I started as a new franchisor


in 2010 I was passionate about what I wanted to achieve, but I knew I couldn’t achieve it on my own and would need a good support system in place,” says Bagot. “So I worked with a BFA- recognised franchise solicitor, a franchise consultant with many years experience as a franchisor, and a franchise marketer. “After working with my pilot franchisee

I chose to grow my franchise slowly, and selected exhibitions as my main marketing route where you can get a feeling of which candidates are really interested in your franchise. “We had many enquiries and I could

have taken on many more but with the help of franchisee profiling selected those with whom I could work with, who loved our brand and the direction we were taking and could also work with each other. I personally met them all at the initial meeting. “At the start along with my pilot franchisee and my IT company I put in lots of hours to ensure our cloud platform and operations manuals (all six of them) reflected the latest changes in cloud technology, so that they would be used by

he success of the winners of the Best Franchise Awards pinpoints the

● Nick Holzherr, 2012 Apprentice finalist, with Mandy Bagot (left) and Nikki Butlin, both of Cloud Bookkeeping.

our franchisees on every bookkeeping assignment they worked on and not left on the shelf gathering dust. I personally update the manuals regularly in the light of the latest developments and to reflect best practice from feedback from our network of franchisees. “I spent a lot of time working with

several consultants to develop our brand and this has been essential to our growth, which has been boosted by the development of cloud software in the last couple of years. One of our franchisees even went a step further by branding his car. “As the number of franchisees grew, I took on more head office staff, two part- time accountants to help with training in 2011, and in May, Nikki Butlin as full time business development director.

Lasting relationships

“As a home-based franchise our franchisees could feel lonely so we work very closely with them. We build up strong lasting relationships by speaking to them on a weekly basis, contacting them by email and remote computer access, and visiting them at their home, marketing events and clients’premises. The whole network meets at quarterly development days at head office, which is often quite lively.”

10 April/May 2013

Saskia Gravett, who joined as a franchisee at Chelmsford in April, continues the story. “I hadn't worked for over 10 years and

didn't have the confidence to set up my own business. After much investigation I decided a franchise would be the best choice for me. “I looked at several different types and decided on Cloud Bookkeeping. Mandy was very approachable and the questions I asked were always fully answered. She gave realistic forecasts for what a franchisee should expect to earn within the first three years and, if anything, her figures turned out to be a little conservative, as I have exceeded my six-month target. “Cloud Bookkeeping has an excellent

support system. For any bookkeeping queries, Nikki is always available and for any business queries, Mandy is happy to help.

“The franchise has given me the

confidence to start my own business and has exceeded my expectations. I always get so much out of their development days. It is great to get other people’s ideas and perspectives on things and is good to know that you are not alone.”

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