Woozelbears Case Study

Woozelbears Case Study

Woozelbears – Canine Hydrotherapy

 

The Woozelbears brand was beginning to grow, Charlotte – the franchisor, had recruited five franchisees by the time she had made her initial enquiry to sell on the 9th of July.  Charlotte’s Witney branch was the initial operation of the Woozelbears network.

Due to the location of the site being a 5-hour journey from Charlottes home, she made the decision to sell her franchise in Witney in order to progress the company via the franchising route as she was going to need money to invest in more potential franchisee’s.

 

The Beginning – Valuations and Listing Agreements

Charlotte chose Franchise Resales due to a recommendation by one of our funding partners; she says, “I chose the company based on a recommendation from franchise finance, there isn’t another company that provides this service and they were responsive to my enquiry.”

Franchise Resales Lead Manager, Keith Halsall, initially dealt with Charlotte’s enquiry to sell. He provided a Market Appraisal on the business which supplied her with a price to sell. Keith had to work with Charlotte whilst completing the Market Appraisal as the accounts were complex due to other business ventures. Together, they generated a price which both parties were happy with.

Being a relatively new franchise brand, which operates within a specialised sector, made the valuation moderately subjective. As Charlotte herself states, “Initially you always over value your business as the owner, and really, it’s only worth what someone will pay for it in the current market. With it being a niche business, I knew it would be harder to find a buyer than your standard franchise.” Charlotte and her accountant valued the business at £220,000 with an asking price of £240,000. Franchise Resales believed this figure was above market price due to it being a brand with little history and never having had a resale to gauge against. Keith was happy to list the business at Charlotte’s desired asking price, with the provision that if the market feedback shows that the price is too high, we could lower it.

Advertising

Advertising was a concern for Charlotte, primarily about finding a specialist buyer via broker websites. Franchise Resales and Charlotte came to a mutual understanding that if a buyer was found through direct advertising at dog shows, then no completion fee would be charged.

After several phone calls, Charlotte agreed to our terms and conditions and the listing agreement was sent out for signing. Circumstantially, we can be flexible with requests – Charlotte asked if we could put a special term in our agreement regarding finding a buyer from a veterinary exhibition. Charlotte said, “If I found a buyer from a veterinary exhibition, I asked for the fee to be reduced.” Franchise Resales agreed to her request and the Listing Agreement was signed at the end of July 2018, and the initial setup fee was invoiced and paid.

 

 

 

Prospectus Process

On the 27th July 2018, Keith sent out our Prospectus Information Form to Charlotte for completion. This is a form that the seller completes in order to provide us with a true understanding of the business. Once we have this information, we produce a Prospectus of Sale which provides buyers with all of the information they require to make an informed decision about potentially purchasing the business.

On the same day, a coming soon email was distributed to our database of potential buyers. This is a quick, vague email; it includes the business name, sector and general location. The concept of the coming soon email is to arouse initial interest so that when the Prospectus information form is back, we are able to contact the initial enquiries immediately, prepared with any information they may request.

Charlotte was pleased with our prospectus, stating that, “the prospectus was professional and well put together. I was pleased with the outcome and very few changes were needed to present it to the public. We did review it once during the process to keep it current.”

Occasionally, during this part of the process there can be some teething issues. Whether it’s from not enough information inputted into the forms, lack of clear communication, or a difference of expectations. This instruction was no different, in the early stages of our relationship with Charlotte there were a few minor issues that came to light. We had changed an internal process and unfortunately, the business was not advertised as quickly as we both would have liked.  The issue was swiftly resolved by one of the Directors, Michael Bohan. The business went live on external websites at the beginning of September and New Instruction Emails went out three times over the next 6 weeks.

Lead Enquiries and NDA’s

Over the next couple of months, leads were few and far between; none of which were looking promising. However, on the 15th November 2018, we had an online enquiry from Darren Brown. Franchise Resale’s Lead Enquiry Trainee, Ellie, dealt with the enquiry and sent an email to Darren informing him that an Account Manager would contact him and attached Franchise Resale’s Top Ten Tips for Buyers, and the Buyers Guide to Buying a Franchise Resale.

During the initial telephone conversation, Darren explained his situation and why he was interested in Woozelbears. Darren had 25 years’ experience working in Blue Chip companies, finishing his last senior role at the end of 2018. Darren had some equity behind him, meaning that he had the opportunity to buy into a business.  He explained that he was interested in a business that he could develop and had growth potential. It was essential that he would be buying into a sector where there would be genuine interest for himself and his wife to become involved. Ellie was pleased with what Darren had said and agreed to issue an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement).  All potential buyers through us have to be qualified and sign an NDA to receive any information on the business/es they enquire about.

On the 30th November 2018, Darren signed the NDA and was passed over to our Relationship Manager, Patricia Hayward, to receive more information, the financials and the business’s accounts. Darren could not progress any further until his current job contract had finished, also, with Christmas around the corner, Patricia and Darren agreed to cease contact until January 2019.

Darren states, “I found Patricia to be respectful and helped chased things along without being too pushy.  It was clear she only had limited knowledge about the business and the accounts, so it was good that there was a deeper level of knowledge and support within Franchise Resales to guide me through the  process.”

In January 2019, following conversation with Patricia – Darren agreed to fill in one of our Profile forms. This is a form that we ask buyers to complete in order for the franchisor to gain a good understanding of who they are. The franchisors needs to acquire personal information about the potential buyer interested in joining their network. Until a Profile form is completed by a buyer, we will not arrange a meeting between the buyer and franchisee/franchisor. Franchising is a process; if the buyer is unwilling to fill out the profile form, then how likely are they to follow a franchisors processes when they are in the network.

On the 5th February 2019, Darren returned his Profile form and Patricia arranged for him and charlotte to have an initial meeting on the 7th February 2019 at the Witney branch.

Darren said of his meeting, “It was good to meet up with Charlotte at an early stage to help us get a feel for the business and Charlotte who as the franchisor will continue to play a major role in the business.  The meetings we had were very open and informal and it was clear there was a mutual level of interest.  I was impressed with what Charlotte has achieved and importantly what I felt she could also go on to achieve.  She is clearly a classic entrepreneur, with lots of energy to get things done.  It was clear that the business had expanded to a point where some further management support and different thinking could be beneficial for future development, which was another big plus for us.”

Negotiations

The negotiation process is not as straight forward as it may seem, The team at Franchise Resales endeavours to work on behalf of the buyer and seller to make the transaction as smooth as possible. Darren says, “I think the negotiation period was longer and more complex than I expected, but I think much of this was driven by the fact that the future business structure was being devised as negotiations went along.  It was not a simple acquisition of a going concern.  I felt your role was pivotal in helping both sides try and balance an agreement.  At times it was looking like it would fall through, but unquestionably your communication and willingness to try and find solutions helped to get things over the line. I did feel the process of establishing a Memorandum of Understanding before moving to the legal stage was invaluable and helped to ensure the legal process, although quite involved, did have the benefit of  working to a clear framework of agreements.”

The legal process to completion

The negotiation stage is a critical part of any deal; this is where the Account Manager takes control over the proceeding negotiations. We request all offers to be in writing – preferably via email, it’s not a legal binding document – it’s an offer of intent to buy. Darren made his offer via email on the 4th April 2019, the original offer required negotiating and the final offer, following three months of negotiations, was agreed on the 1st August 2019. Darren had done a lot of due diligence himself, which would normally be done by a solicitor, to keep fees manageable. But at last, the deal has been completed and legal process complete!

Speaking of his experience through the negotiation and legal process, Darren says, “Based on previous experiences, I had expected this process to be lengthy and given the construct of the agreement and the changing company structure and loan guarantees it was always going to be that way. That said, both because of the work put into the MOU and also because the 2 legal advisers where pragmatic and efficient, I did not feel the process was held up due to much additional legal negotiations and inefficiency’s which can often happen.  I think the legal company recommendations from you turned out to be a big plus.  The only niggle was that both solicitors were very busy with other clients so sometimes there were longer response times than I would like to have seen, but in my experience, this is sadly normal for legal companies.”

 

 

Summary

When asked about her working relationship with Franchise Resales, Charlotte said, “I think I could have done with taking more advice from other professionals along the way for ways to package the business up and negotiate ideas …The communication regarding negotiations were dealt with very attentively by Michael, morning, noon and night! He always gave the time that was required and positively progressed the sale at every stage.”

Darren states, “I believe your business played an essential role in the sale. I found you very easy to work with, prepared to listen and understand concerns and try and work to push things forward.  I would also recommend your business to others.”

The FR Factor - National Franchise Exhibition

The FR Factor

Being a franchisor means being responsible for a business network and brand. The franchisor is ultimately responsible for the brand and the franchisees within. This involves providing the overall support and resources the franchisee needs to succeed as well as ensuring that the franchises are being operated to a certain standard. They are  responsible for training and recruiting new franchisees as part  of growing the franchise and brand.

So what happens when a franchisee wishes to move on?

The franchisor has the final say, however the seller also has a vested interest in what happens next. How do you protect your franchisees and do what is best for them whilst looking after your business and brand?

One of the best things you can do for your franchisees is to ask them to plan their exit. No matter if they have just started or if they have been with you for a number of years. The best protection for you and for them is an exit strategy. If a franchisee has these plans in place you can be assured that they are working towards an end goal and will be doing everything they can to create a successful business.

The exit plan is just the beginning of a franchisee exit. From the minute they decide to sell their business there are many decisions that need to be made.

One of these is who will be your new franchisee? This is your decision as a franchisor, you know what type of person you want to have in your network.

There are many factors to consider here: can the prospective buyer meet the financial responsibilities of the businesses after the initial purchase. It may be an established business they are buying however there are still ongoing costs once the new franchisee has taken over. The last thing you need is to find a great candidate only to find out they may not have the finances to cope with running a business.

Are they a strong leader? The overall reputation of your brand can suffer even if just one franchise out of many performs badly. You must be able to assess your prospective franchisees on their leadership qualities and experience in leadership roles.

Communication skills are also vital for your new franchisee, not only will they be expected to show excellent customer service skills within their new business they will also have to show they can communicate within the franchise itself. Communication is so important in business, for building relationships between franchisees and franchisors as well as between staff and customers.

Depending on their reason for selling and your relationship with your franchisee finding the right candidate can be a difficult process. They are still responsible for the day to day running of the business and may not have the time to vet all of the possible candidates, which will then fall to you. This is a waste of your time and theirs. Having the right candidate is so important. You will need to have a new franchisee who will push the business forward and make a success of it.

Whilst you are ultimately responsible for the franchise as a whole, the day to day running of the franchises is down to the franchisees, Ensuring that staff contracts are in place with clear roles outlined is something that should be done from the beginning, however it is essential when your franchisee wishes to sell and to ensure a smooth sale of the business.

The franchisee must also make sure that they continues to run the business effectively. This can be difficult during the sale of a business. They may not look as hard or have the time to scrutinise a candidate before passing them on to you. This can be frustrating for you and your franchisee.

You need the FR Factor: Protection for both you and your franchisees.

For your franchisees, deciding to sell doesn’t have to be a hassle. Our process will help them focus on getting their business into the best possible position to sell whilst we screen potential candidates and arrange meetings when we believe we have the best possible person to be your new franchisee.

One of the positives of our system is that it saves you time. You do not have to spend time going through an extensive list of candidates for the right one. We can help your franchisees plan their exit and when the time comes put that plan into motion.

We can help you to protect your franchisees which in turn protects you and your brand. We have over 150 years combined experience in franchise resales. We understand what you expect from your franchisees. We help your franchisees prepare their business for sale, point them in the direction of the right solicitor and banking contacts, offer advice on different aspects of the sale as well as helping your franchisees establish the right price and finding the perfect franchisee.

The most important aspect of your franchisees selling their franchise for them is getting the right price. The most important aspect of your franchisees selling their franchise for you is getting the right franchisee to take over and grow the business.

The upcoming National Franchise Show in Birmingham is the perfect opportunity for you to meet our team. Why not book an appointment and see how we can help to protect you as well as your franchisees. Call us on 01522 246811 or email marketing@franchiseresales.co.uk

 

Your Favourite Store Could Well be a Franchise

Your Favourite Store Could Well be a Franchise

Most people don’t realise the brand name shop they are walking into is actually a franchise. It’s become a more popular way of operating a business model in recent years but has actually been around for centuries.

From MacDonald’s burgers and Subway sandwiches to your local opticians or favourite pub chain, many companies use the franchise process to expand their brand at a lower cost than normal. In the process, they provide great opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to run their own business.

The key to a franchise is that you get a licence to use a particular company’s brand and trade openly under their name. For instance, if you decide to take on a Domino’s Pizza franchise, you are allowed to use all their branding, products and sales processes and essentially operate as one of their outlets although you are a business owner in your own right.

To do this, of course, you need to invest your own money in the business. How much will depend on the franchise opportunity being offered. In return, you get access to support and the supplies you need to run the business successfully, as well as ongoing training to develop your entrepreneurial skills.

People choose to take on a franchise because there is less risk compared to starting a business from the ground up. You are involved with a brand that already has a track record and has shown its potential to succeed. There is normally an upfront cost to pay and then ongoing payments for things such as stock as well as employee wages to cover. Some budding entrepreneurs use running a franchise as a stepping stone to finally developing their own business idea.

Some of the most popular franchise opportunities today come through easily recognisable household names. These include fast food companies such as KFC and Pizza Hut, gym services like Premier Sport and Anytime Fitness and car hire businesses like Europcar. But it’s not just big names that are involved in franchising. There are literally hundreds of franchise opportunities available across a range of different industries, companies with a proven track record who are now looking to expand.

Taking on a franchise is, like any business development, a pretty big undertaking even if it does have less risk associated with it. It’s not just the initial investment in the franchise but a case of choosing the right fit which works for you as an individual. Most franchisees look for people with the potential to expand their brand – they are often willing to give you the training and support you need as long as you meet their profile.

It’s not simply a question of finding entrepreneurs who have the money to invest. After all, there is a brand and a reputation to protect so franchisors want someone coming on board who is more likely to succeed than not. In other words, they want a business owner who will enhance their reputation, not damage it.

The Franchise Professionals have an ILM recognised seminar specifically designed to enable you to find out more about becoming a business owner as a franchisee. click her to find out more

Why people buy from brands?

Why People Buy from Brands

One of the major advantages of taking on a franchise is that you have a readymade brand to work with. There are a number of reasons why this makes sense, not least the availability of a proven product and, hopefully, all the support you need when you decide to come on board.

But why to do people buy from brands in the first place? Here are just a few reasons:

Peace of Mind

People like to be sure that they are getting the right product or service for them. A well-known brand comes with a reputation for delivering what is required, wherever it’s bought in the world. Peace of mind can’t be underestimated when it comes to people’s buying behaviour. That doesn’t mean they aren’t prepared to look at new products and services on the market but they will be more likely to choose a brand they recognise when they want a specific outcome, particularly at short notice.

Quality Guarantee

Along with peace of mind, is the fact that a settled brand provides the quality that customers are looking for. Whether that’s a cereal that always tastes good when you pour on the milk or a car that brings more miles per gallon and comfort. Quality products, fast delivery and strong customer services are all part of those brands that have strong core values. This leads to loyalty amongst advocates and is an essential part of the emotional attachment to chosen brands.

Value Added Extras

People may choose a brand because of its value added extras, the things that competitors don’t deliver or don’t deliver as well. A prime example would be Apple iPhones that not only give customers a recognised design and feel to their products but also extras such as quality app, music and media downloads.

Reflecting Values

Brands work best for customers when their core values match each other. So, for instance, if one of your key concerns is the environment and climate change, you are more likely to opt for a brand that has sustainable working practices and has made key commitments to reducing their impact on the world around us. If you are concerned with good, healthy eating at a low cost then you might be attracted to a supermarket brand that has a wide range of fresh vegetables that are organically produced at a price you can easily afford as well as ethically sourced.

Sharing and Social Acceptance

People like to fit in with other people who share their world view. That’s why demographics are so important when a product is being marketed to the wider world. The brand will have a specific customer in mind but those same customers will want to fit in with their peers as well. So clothing brands become popular amongst certain types of young adults, who want to maintain their standing amongst peers, and all subcultures develop their own trends that brands can connect with.

The major factor in brand development is making that big emotional connection with consumers. Once people feel something for a product or service then they are more likely to use it again and again. Don’t forget that each of us has our own brand, good or bad, as well. A computer geek may well favour a brand that is pushing the boundaries of tech rather than one that produces the same old product each time.

People buy from brands because they fulfil their core needs and wants and if you can find what appeals to your chosen demographic and deliver it in spades, then you have a head start over your nearest competitors. When it comes to buying a franchise, this aspect of business development is already in place.