Women in Franchising

established company, and taking over a store that was already set up and ready to trade, making a profit from day one. I know how difficult it is setting up a business from scratch and having to wait for the cashflow to come in and keep your business afloat. So to have opportunity to build upon a business’s current success is fantastic.

What was the initial training and support like? My initial training was a two-day business course, which gave me the tools to create my projections for the next three years and a business plan to show how I was going to achieve this. I wasn’t new to Vodafone, but any franchisees who are new to the business go on a further course that will help them learn how the stores operate.


Donna Watton is a Vodafone partner agent in Boston, Lincolnshire.

What did you do before franchising and what prompted you to make the change? I worked for myself for seven years, and then worked for Vodafone in retail for 10 years. I loved both working for myself and for Vodafone, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to combine the two – doing the job I love while being my own boss. Having the chance to grow my business

and knowing I have the support of Vodafone behind me, together with my own experience, I knew this was the right choice. Once I had seen the franchise model, it was a no-brainer. I was excited to be making this transition from store manager to franchise owner.

How did you find out about franchising? As a Vodafone manager, I was lucky enough to be told about the possibility to change to franchisee in 2017 when it was first announced. I already knew about

franchising from researching running my own business, but at the time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

Describe the process for getting on board – how long did it take? I approached the Vodafone team, who sent me the financial details of the store I was interested in. These included a wealth of information that helped to build a robust set of projections and a business plan, which is what I needed to present to the divisional manager and franchise team. After being accepted, there’s the usual business insurances, accountants and solicitors to find. The whole process for me took around eight months, although I know the time frames do vary between stores.

What attracted you to this franchise opportunity? The main attraction for me was knowing I was going into partnership with an

What training and support is available ongoing? There is a wealth of support available from many different functions within Vodafone; you still have a regional manager to go to for general support, and there is a huge amount of resources available on a support hub. The great thing about being in contact with so many other people is that you can benefit from their experience and skills. This can also work both ways and your skills developed as a business owner can go to help other stores. It’s always good to keep your connections open and support others.

How was trading in the beginning and how is business today? The business has increased from day one, and we’ve kept above my estimated projections each month. One of my key changes after taking over the store was increasing the conversion rate, and another is to give the customers a reason to choose us rather than go elsewhere. The customer experience in store has always been great, but we are aiming to make it spectacular.

How have you found being a woman running her own business? It’s great! I feel really empowered in this environment to be who I am, make my own decisions and be creative in growing my


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