Start Up Edge announces AFA partnership as part of digital marketing services to franchise businesses initiative

Start Up Edge is delighted to announce it’s partnership with the Approved Franchise Association ( AFA ).  The AFA, founded in 2012 is a fast growing UK based franchise association providing help and advice to existing and new franchisors and people interested in seeking self employment via franchising.

Claire Robinson has been a member of the AFA’s board since its inception in 2012 and was named Chief Executive Officer in March 2015. She is also the Managing Director of Extra Help, a national home-help and domestic services franchise network. Claire has been self-employed for eighteen years, during which time she was involved in the creation and management of several successful businesses.

Start Up Edge has tailored digital marketing packages specifically for franchisee’s and franchisors which include;

  • Brand compliant website design
  • Paid search marketing – Pay Per Click ( PPC )
  • Local Search Engine Optimisation ( SEO )
  • SMS marketing
  • B2B Mailing Lists
  • Email marketing

Joel Bissitt, Managing Director of Start Up Edge comments “I am delighted we are now an approved Partner of the Approved Franchise Association. We have worked hard to put together some great packages of digital marketing services for franchise businesses. We look forward to a long and successful working partnership with Claire and her team.”

To find out more about the digital marketing services for franchisors and franchise businesses we provide click here

The Basics of Multi-Location and Franchise Marketing

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Owning a business that is part of a franchise or that has multiple locations can be a positive business venture when done correctly. That said, there are a lot of things to consider before purchasing a business that is part of a larger corporation. The last thing you want to do is invest in a company where the marketing has been handled irresponsibly. If you’re in charge of your own marketing, don’t go in blind not knowing how to advertise. This will cause your investment to tank, and all your hard work and money will go down the drain.
In other words, it’s important to make sure you do your homework and understand all that goes into owning a franchise or a multi-location business before making a purchase. And if you decide to invest, take the time to learn how to market correctly. This article will explain the basics of what you need to know in order to protect your investment.
The before.
In a recent study, The 2016 Franchise Marketing Survey found that franchise marketing can be a tricky venture. Any time a large group of people get together and have to agree on how to handle money, there are risks. There will be different opinions about how the money should be spent, with each person thinking about the best interests of their own business, and not necessarily the corporation as a whole. On the flip side, franchise marketing can also be a huge bonus for businesses because it gives access to a large pool of money that can potentially be used to improve marketing for everyone involved. Here are some things to consider before purchasing a franchise.

You need to understand what franchising is.
This may sound obvious, but it’s important to understand exactly what franchising is before getting into it. Many people think franchising is it’s own industry. It’s not. It’s more of a way of doing business. It’s a hybrid business plan that combines working for yourself and working for somebody else. This is why it’s a good fit for many people, but not for everybody. You won’t have complete autonomy over your business, but there will also not be someone higher up telling you what to do every minute. It’s a team effort.
You must be willing to be part of the team.
According to, “Franchising means working for yourself, but not by yourself.” This means that everyone involved has the responsibility to operate their own successful businesses long term, and that the success of the brand as a whole depends on each team member’s individual successes. You have to be willing to operate as a whole group with the brand’s needs at the forefront. If everyone is only thinking of their individual businesses, the brand as a whole will suffer, and everyone will lose. This may mean coming together to create and decide on a shared marketing plan that will positively affect all the businesses involved.
In order to make money, you will have to put out money.
This is a concept that is hard for some people to swallow. According to, franchise fees range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Royalities range from five to eight percent, with the marketing and advertising cost running you an additional one to three percent. Despite the steep fees, many people still choose to invest because they realize the potential to make more money in the long run as part of a franchise than they would just working on their own. 
Again, this goes back to being willing to work as part of a team even though you are still responsible for your own business. A company-wide marketing fund means you won’t have complete autonomy over how your businesses is advertised and what exactly happens to that large fund to which you have to contribute. You will be able to voice your opinion, so it’s important to understand the basics of franchise and multi-location marketing.  

The after.
If, after you’ve done all the necessary research, you still want to buy into a franchise or expand your business into multiple locations, your work isn’t done. In fact, it’s just started because now you need to understand the intricacies of marketing for more than one location and how to optimize your results so that your investment continues to be a positive one. Here’s some marketing tips.
Keep customers at the forefront.
In the end, customers are what will keep your business thriving, and so it only makes sense that they should be considered at the top of your marketing plan. Don’t be afraid to try something new — just make sure to evaluate whether or not your strategy is bringing more customers through the door. If the answer is no, move on and think of something else.
Be prepared to debate strategies with the other members of the team. It’s ok to argue, as long as everyone is keeping the customer’s wants and needs in mind. Ultimately, this is the only thing that’s going to make everyone’s businesses successful.
Consider customer reviews.
This is something that is often forgotten at the corporation level — make sure you don’t forget! The unfortunate truth is that most reviews are left by unhappy customers who feel the need to voice their opinions. Happy customers tend to stay quiet. This paints an unfavorable — and often unfair — picture of the business online. Don’t be afraid to get out there and ask your loyal customers to leave reviews. It’s the only way that your business has a chance to accurately portray their reputation. 
In addition, encourage these customers to utilize your Google my Business page. And don’t forget about citations that allow reviews, like Yelp. Citations often show up first in search results listings that target your keywords, so it’s important that those reviews are favorable as well. 
Create a quality website.
Your business website should be at the center of your marketing campaign. It’s where your customers go to find out information about your product, as well as where, when and how to reach you. It’s ultimately what will bring customers through your front door. Make sure each store has an individual locations page that is optimized and can be indexed by Google. These locations pages should be up-to-date with accurate information about your business — address, operating hours, contact information, etc. 
Finally, make sure the site is well-run overall. It should be optimized, run quickly, be clear and uncluttered, have a quality mobile version and provide well-written content that customers are looking for.
Make sure the franchisor elicits input from the franchisees.
Although the franchisor ultimately has the last say in how marketing money is spent, you should be part of a corporation that asks for the opinions of the franchisees. Some businesses have an elected board of franchisees that meet with the franchisor regularly to discuss the wants and needs of the whole group. Regardless of how this is done, the individual franchisees should have the opportunity to contribute their opinions into the overall marketing plan. After all, they’re the ones who deal with the customers directly. A good franchisor will recognize this and seek out opinions from franchisees.
Marketing money should be allocated appropriately.
Typically, a large company marketing fund gets distributed into three different areas — the costs of administering the marketing effort, the cost of the advertising materials themselves and the media purchases to place the advertisements. A good multi-location/ franchise marketing plan will dispense funds equally into these three areas. Be wary of any plans that seem to tip the scale in favor of one area over another. All three of these departments directly impact each other, so they should be treated with equal importance.
Two common types of advertisements are brand building versus customer attraction. Both are good for business and should be used when creating a marketing plan. One should not be deemed better than the other.

Don’t forget about SEO, especially local.
While local searches tend to benefit local, single location businesses tremendously, they don’t always have the same effect on multi-location or franchise businesses. Because of the nature of local searches, it’s difficult for the latter to rank as well as single location companies, but it’s not impossible as long as you pay attention to the rules of SEO. Don’t ignore local SEO principles. As I said before, each location should have an individual local landing page. You should also take time to make sure you have clear, positive citations. 
Evaluate whether or not the marketing plan is working.
Last but not least, remember that any marketing plan can look good on paper. That doesn’t mean it will be successful when put into practice. It’s important to analyze your results and determine if your efforts are, in fact, increasing brand awareness and bringing more customers through your doors. Consult your team for their opinions and to find out how the plan is working for them. Remember, two heads are better than one, and ultimately it needs to have positive results for everyone, or the brand as a whole will suffer. In the end, it’s your livelihood that will suffer if the marketing plan doesn’t work, so put in the necessary effort and due diligence to evaluate it’s effectiveness and make changes when necessary. 

Source: Entrepreneur

5 Psychology-Based Methods to Connect With Your Audience

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Do you want to learn how to get audiences to tweet, like and share your content? Of course you do! But it takes more than simply uploading or posting and hoping for the best. It’s about sharing content that makes people care — content that makes people want to share your message with their network.
More and more people are connecting on social media and blogs. This means there are larger opportunities to promote your business. It also means that there’s more competition to stand out amongst a sea of information.
The good news — you can use proven methods to connect with people. Crafting content that people care about begins with understanding what motivates people. Let’s take a look at five psychology-based principles you can start using.
1. Use stories to connect emotionally.
In the New York Times bestseller Made To Stick, authors Chip and Dan Heath share research that reveals we’re more likely to donate when we hear the story of an individual in need rather than data about an entire impoverished area.

Even though an entire area’s suffering impacts more people than the suffering of one person, the individual’s story is appealing because we feel emotions from hearing someone’s experiences, rather than learning about raw data. People connect through hearing stories, not statistics and abstract information.
To apply this principle, you should tell a story to reach your audience’s emotions. Your content can impact audiences and remain memorable if you share a personal experience, whether it’s your own or someone else’s. By creating a personal journey that people can follow, your brand can create a greater emotional impact on your viewers.
2. Answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Showing people how they benefit from following your brand will get you increased engagement from your audiences. For example, Taco Bell’s Twitter feed is known for its witty and interactive tweets. Most importantly, the people behind Taco Bell’s Twitter account know how to make their content shareable.
The brand’s tongue-in-cheek humor inspires brand loyalty and helps make the franchise relatable. Taco Bell’s promotional strategy shows that captivating the audience starts with thinking about what the audience wants, first and foremost.
So the next time you promote your business, think about and listen to how people react to your message. Are you catering to their needs and their emotions? Their feedback can be used to create targeted messages.
3. Provide social proof.
These days, reviews and testimonials on products and services are available at the click of a button. People rely heavily on the opinions of others when they make decisions.
A study was conducted in which public-service messages tried to convince residents to use fans instead of air conditioning. Results found that telling a group of people that 77 percent of their neighbors were using fans was more effective than telling them that they could save $54 a month.
Peer pressure can be incredibly powerful in shaping people’s perceptions and decisions. There are a number of ways you can use this concept in your business — showing Facebook likes, posting testimonials and providing your audience with data that shows how popular your content is.

The most effective social proof is positive reviews on unmoderated sites. Your followers will know that your product or service is strong enough for happy customers to vouch for you on their own account. You can encourage people to leave positive reviews on sites such as Yelp and Amazon customer reviews.
4. Associate your brand with authority figures.
Using an authority figure improves the perception of your brand, whether it’s someone people trust, respect or like. If the person is recognized and successful in her own career, it rubs off positively on the brand. This applies even if the person is not an expert or authority in the field that she is promoting.
Professional tennis player Maria Sharapova is highly sought after for endorsements due to her rise in tennis and impressive social media following. On her Instagram account, Maria uploads pictures of sponsored company products, which generates more shares and likes.
For your business, you can ask a respected person in your industry to publicly endorse your brand for added credibility. Can’t find an authority figure? You can build your own authority by using credibility markers, such as sharing your previous experiences, educational background or recognition that you’ve received for your work.
5. Build scarcity.
In 1985, Coca-Cola performed an experiment on whether people preferred the traditional Coke or their newer formula. Fifty-five percent of participants in blind taste tests preferred the new Coke, with preferences for the new Coke going up by six percent after the identities of the formulas were revealed. However, when the traditional formula was replaced, people preferred the old Coke.
One of the most effective ways to grab people’s attention and make them take action is to make something scarce. People fear the chance of missing out on something, compelling them to act. You can create the feeling of scarcity by offering to give away or sell something in limited quantities or for a brief period of time.

Scarcity doesn’t have to only refer to quantity, though. You can also create the impression of scarcity by selling your brand on its uniqueness, whether through your brand’s personality, emphasizing services that aren’t offered elsewhere or highlighting advantages in the way your brand operates.
Understanding psychology and applying it to your business is a powerful way to shape the perceptions of your brand. Try using the above principles in your business strategy, and see how you can create a powerful presence.

Source: Entrepreneur

Franchising 101 — 4 Key Questions Before You Step into the Arena

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To franchise or not to franchise? That is the question. Okay, that’s not exactly how Shakespeare envisioned Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, but in fact that is exactly the question people must ask themselves when they’re contemplating starting a franchise.

The franchise industry is a $2.3 trillion industry, with one out of every six jobs related to franchising. While not every franchise will succeed, statistics show that franchise-owned businesses have a better chance of thriving over an extended period of time than do independent small businesses. In fact, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, seven out of ten new employer companies survive only two years, half at least five years. A third last about 10 years, and a quarter stay in business a healthy 15 years or more.
If you’re considering becoming a franchisee, here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. Is this the right opportunity for me?
This is the first question you must ask yourself, because franchising isn’t for everyone. Some see it as a way to venture out and become their own boss, but at the same time have the safety net a franchisor provides. While as a franchisee, you will be the boss, you’ll still have the franchisor to deal with — so, you won’t be totally independent from oversight.
Also, many people veiw franchising as a way earn additional income, especially when they present seasonal opportunities, like tax season. Seasonal franchising does give franchisees the opportunity to set a more flexible work schedule, by working intensively during high-peak times; this makes the business more manageable the rest of the year.
But, remember: You don’t buy a franchise because you want to change the system. You buy into it because you believe in the system, as a tried-and-tested business model.
2. How hard do I want to work?
The answer to this question had better be, “I’m willing to work as hard as it takes.” It’s called “hard work” for a reason — because it’s hard! No entrepreneur goes into business to coast through everything. If that’s your mentality, you’re going to fail, and fail fast. However, if you’re willing to put in the long hours and the necessary legwork, and dedicate enough time to your business, you’ll have the right tools for success.
I’ll be the first one to admit that I enjoy working hard. I function on very little sleep and I look forward to every day of hard work. However, I’m also a proponent of working smarter, not harder.
As a new franchisee, one of the first things you’ll learn is that your franchisor already has a system in place, a blueprint of sorts, designed to help you succeed. You’d be smart to use every tool available at your disposal when you’re starting out. That is how you work smarter.
If you’re buying into a lesser-known franchise, your motivation, gumption and physical investment will need to be double that of what you would normally invest in any other business venture. Brand recognition will come with time, but you need to build a solid foundation able to withstand the stress tests that will eventually come your way.
There’s no “secret sauce” for success, but the hard work you put up front will pay dividends later on.

How risky is it?
Starting a business involves a healthy dose of fear and risk. While franchising is a less risky venture than starting any other business, there’s still a risk involved. Your franchisor’s playbook is a starting point, but it’ll take serious business savvy to launch the business.
What’s the biggest risk of all? Money.
Starting a franchise can be expensive, and that initial franchise fee can be an eye-opener. Not all franchises are astronomically priced, but you can expect a sizable up-front investment. The reason is that you’re paying for the rights to use the franchisor’s signage and logo, not to mention the fact that that same franchisor will negotiate lower prices for the products and services you’ll need to run your business.
Ongoing royalty fees can also be a shock to the system. Every year, franchisees must pay the franchise a fee equivalent to 12.5 percent of sales. But this is not true across the board. For example, Burger King charges its franchises 4.5 percent of sales, in addition to a $50,000 franchise fee, whereas Dunkin Donuts charges 5.9 percent of franchisees sales, with fees ranging from $40,000 to $80,000.
Will I need to train my employees?
The short answer is yes! But before you drive yourself crazy, remember that a good franchisor will already have a solid training plan in place. Use that plan as a springboard. The franchisor will be just as invested in your success as you are, so trust that the plan will work. Make adjustments along the way, but for the most part, stick to the plan.
Once you have one, use it to train your employees in customer service. After all, they will be the face of your operation once your doors open, so make sure they get it right from the very beginning.
Here’s a tip: Resist the urge to think, “We need employees yesterday.” Why? Because you must balance that urgency for simply putting bodies into open positions with your need to find high-quality employees. So, invest substantial time screening and interviewing candidates. This may seem like a tedious task, but it’s absolutely necessary because it has a direct correlation to your franchise’s success.
Another tip? You can always teach any employees the skills to succeed, but you can’t train attitude. You’d be wise to follow this adage: Hire for attitude, train for skills.

The bottom line is this: Hard work will open many doors for you, but doing your homework, coming up with a sound business strategy, conducting research and carrying out training will be your winning combination for a successful business, should you choose to join the millions of franchisees nationwide. 

Source: Entrepreneur

When Should I Hire My Next Employee?

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When a small business employs another person it can be a very big decision. If you are fan of statistics, you can make it sound very impressive. I grew my company by 25 percent last quarter. Really, what did you do? “Oh, I employed my fourth team member!”
When a large business employs another person the decision can be far less significant. For example, if they already have 100 employees and then hire one more the impact on the increase in wages is minimal.
Recruiting the right person in any business is crucial, however in a small business, this decision can have a huge impact on the bottom line almost immediately.

Use an indicator. 
A great way to get meaningful information is to use a ratio known as “wages to revenue.” In other words, you divide the amount you are paying out in wages by your total income. If wages to revenue is trending up this could be a good indication that you are overstaffed, or that you may be understaffed and are paying out lots of extra wages in overtime.
If it is trending down this could be a great sign, however you also need to beware that your staff aren’t being over worked, or that they are becoming fatigued, often signaled by a drop in service levels and quality.
Benchmarks vs. averages vs. ranges.
Clients often ask me what is considered a good wages-to-revenue ratio? There are a number of industry benchmarks that you can refer to. However, benchmarking data is made up of both great businesses and bad businesses. It’s a bit like asking what is the average price of a house in a neighborhood. It could include the multimillion dollar mansions right down to a dilapidated old house. Benchmarking data is just a starting point. 

A couple of years ago I was working with four businesses, all part of the same franchise. Even their figures differed quite significantly, and it was because of the way each owner chose to run their business. An acceptable range differs from business to business, so rely on your firm’s average.
Analyze the trend. 
Once you have established an average and can see which way the numbers are trending over time, then you can consider the following three points:
Is this just a short-term occurrence in an increase in workload or a particular project? If it is, you might be better off not hiring that extra person.
Is this a seasonal fluctuation and can you see some quieter periods coming up? If this is the case, you may be able to reach an arrangement with your team where you can offer time off in lieu. Just check you are staying on the right side of the law when doing this.
Is this a long term trend and if so how can we increase current productivity? Look at how your workspace has been set up. Think about where there may be double handling and inefficiencies, and how you can better streamline processes and procedures. You may also consider whether it would be better long-term to invest in new equipment and technology to make things more efficient.
Determine the true cost.
If the answer is no to the questions above, then the next two questions you want to ask are:
Will my wages-to-revenue ratio remain the same or even possibly decrease by employing an extra person? In other words, will this person help me make more money compared to the extra money I am paying out in wages to them.
How long will it take? When employing a new person, it takes time to train them and for them to become a productive team member. By being realistic about what this timeframe is you can work out how much it is really going to cost to hire and whether it’s worth it.
When you are able to analyze some of the key numbers by looking at how they are trending you will be able to make better decisions. Get started today by tracking, either on a weekly or monthly basis, your wages-to-revenue ratio; that way, the next time you feel the need to employ someone you will be able to make an informed decision.

Bigger is not always better, and you want to make sure that employing an extra person makes good financial sense. 

Source: Entrepreneur

What to Look for First When Shopping Franchises

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If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, chances are that you’ve also considered becoming part of a franchise. If you thrive on entrepreneurship and love the idea of owning your own business, but want to work with a tested concept that offers vetted systems and support, franchising can be a great option that generally has lower risk than opening your own company from scratch.
However, shopping for the right fit in a franchise has become a lot more difficult in the last decade because there are so many options. Today, franchises have broken out of the old molds that used to just include gyms, fast food joints and retail stores. Tons of companies have hopped on the franchising wagon, which opens the market to a million possibilities, but can clog and complicate the shopping and decision process. If you’re on the hunt for a franchise that fits you, these tips will take some of the stress out of the process.
What catches your eye — and keeps it?
Sometimes potential franchisees hyper-focus on the dollars and cents of owning a franchise and table a crucial element in their potential success — their actual interest in the business. The dollars and cents are obviously important, but your interest in and passion for the business is equally important. If you’re lactose intolerant, don’t open an ice cream shop, even if the numbers look good. If you haven’t been to the gym in three years, don’t open a gym. If you’re obsessed with the perfect burger, though, and find a franchise that has phenomenal fries and a shake to boot, then you’re on the right track. If you aren’t passionate about what you’re selling and serving, then you are in for one long haul.

Does this business make sense in your market?
Continuing on the idea of the perfect burger, let’s say you find a few franchises that line up with what you want. It’s not time to pull the trigger yet as there are still other factors to consider. Are there similar restaurants in your area already? Are you the only meat lover in a town composed exclusively of vegetarians? Look at your market, and ask yourself if there is room for this particular franchise. What’s the competition like, and can you anticipate a high demand?
Study the brand’s sales and marketing procedures, and ask yourself if they would they work in your particular town. Loving a franchise that has strong numbers is great, but it also needs to be a match for the area you want to run it in.
What are the details that will make or break your experience?
Opening any new business is an involved process, and that doesn’t change when you open a franchise. For example, you still have to work with real estate issues such as location, zoning and rent negotiation. As you examine various franchises, pay attention to what level of support each one offers, and weigh that against your personal experience and comfort level. If you have no real estate experience and some of your prospective franchise matches don’t offer help with securing a unit space, then that might be a factor to consider.

It’s important to play out the benefits and costs of all those technicalities because they will end up affecting your experience. You want to work with a company that delivers the right amount of support for you.
Should you go with an established brand, or bet on the new kid on the block?
Sometimes people shopping for franchises assume opening a new unit within a major brand is a guarantee of success. Although those brands have a lot of power and recognition, joining forces with them isn’t an ironclad way to earn.
Every business, whether it’s a major player like Taco Bell, or a total newcomer, like Taco Hut, involves risk. There is no foolproof, bulletproof way to be an entrepreneur, so don’t eliminate a smaller or newer franchise just because going with the big guy has the illusion of being a safer bet. It’s more important to choose a franchise you’re passionate about that will deliver the right level of support for your comfort level than it is to select based on size alone.
What did you feel when you met face to face?
Once you’ve done all your homework — watched the videos, read the brochures, studied the Franchisor Disclosure Document — it’s time to do some reconnaissance on your finalists in person. Visit or contact as many individual franchise locations as you can and see how the customer experience feels. Talk to current franchisees on the phone and in person to get a sense of whether they’re happy with the brand. Finally, visit with the franchise executive team. Get a good look at how things really run in the hub. Make sure you are at home with the people who will make the big choices for the brand as a whole.  

Is the franchise choosing you, too?
When you’re looking for your next business partner, don’t forget that your next business partner should also be looking for you. A good franchise will be choosy about who they want to welcome into the family, so pay attention to what kinds of questions they ask you. You don’t want to work with a brand that just wants to make their unit goals and isn’t there for you later on. If the conversations always lead back to dollars, you might not be talking to a company that really cares about whether every franchisee is a great fit. The final relationship coming together should be a two-way street, where both the entrepreneur and the franchise actively choose each other equally.

Source: Entrepreneur

Typical English summer can be great for some franchises!

The typical English Summer has arrived again. One minute it’s warm and sunny and the next we’re stuck in a downpour so, as the UK experiences yet another summer of wild weather, who’s around to clean up the mess that the wind and rain leaves behind? A few people who benefit from a wild summer are Rainbow International franchisees. When flash floods strike, Rainbow International franchisees and their team are on hand to begin the clean-up process and ensure that as little damage is made as possible.

Restoring homes, shops and other properties is just part of the work that franchisees carry out. Home and business owners are often back up and running in the shortest possible time thanks to Rainbow International franchisees. Franchisees are often on call 24/7 when the weather’s bad to ensure that they can get to the scene quickly in order to minimise water damage. Thanks to Rainbow International franchisees, business and home owners are often back up and running in the shortest possible time.

“Whenever the weather forecast’s bad, our franchisees know that they’re going to be busy! A huge chunk of the work they do is restoration after floods or other disasters. They’re usually extremely

busy in the Winter with poor weather but quite often, June is a very wet month and it causes chaos on the roads and for property and business owners. When they’re not out in all weathers cleaning up flood water, they’re also offering their specialist cleaning services so they know they they’re in business whatever the weather,” explains Simon Ford, Operations Director at Rainbow International.

Dealing with floods and damage from weather conditions is only one part of the work that Rainbow International franchisees undertake. Franchisees also have the opportunity to generate work from the £5.6 million specialist cleaning market which provides a steady and recurring income when the floods have dried out. Rainbow International operate across the UK and serve customers whose homes have also been damaged through incidents such as fire and water pipes bursting.

Rainbow International is the UK’s leading franchise supplier of disaster recovery and specialist cleaning services and part of global franchising giant, The Dwyer Group. They provide fire, flood and escape of water and accidental damage restoration services to many of the UK’s leading insurance companies on behalf of their many policyholders. In addition, they provide a comprehensive range of specialist cleaning services to commercial, industrial and domestic premises, promoted by the franchisee in their designated territories.

You can get more information about the Rainbow International franchise opportunity by calling 01623 272356 or by clicking here.

Boutique in a Box? – A Retail Franchise review

Owning a boutique is the ultimate dream business for many women. Spending your working day surrounded by beautiful items of quality clothing and accessories.  This can be an ideal business for a fashion conscious entrepreneur.

Running a high-end boutique can bring great job satisfaction and financial reward.  Helping your customers to find the perfect outfit is key to customer loyalty and recommendation.  Whether the customer is looking for a special occasion outfit or classical elegance to be enjoyed everyday, shopping in a boutique is an experience enjoyed by many women throughout the UK and beyond.

The Boutique Shopping Experience

Boutiques excel in retailing niche fashions, often owner managed they offer an upmarket, personal shopping experience.  Clients who purchase clothing in boutiques, enjoy a high level of customer service.  Service is key to making your boutique stand out amongst the competition, as is procuring the right stock for your client base.

Excelling in customer service is important to maximise sales opportunities and customer retention.  Women visit a boutique to browse, often with a particular idea in mind, as to the style of outfit they are looking to purchase, this may be a particular colour or style.  Clients may be lacking in confidence to think outside of the box, and tend to select a “safe” option, similar to garment styles they regularly purchase.

Ask yourself, how many times have you looked at a garment on a clothing hanger in a retail store and thought to yourself, this is the one only to be disappointed in the changing room? When shopping in a boutique, the staff are there to guide and advise you, their experience may encourage you to try a garment that you may not have considered that will compliment your shape and skin tone.   Having tried the garment on, you may be thrilled to discover  that the style and colour is, in fact, perfect for you.

Another big plus of boutique shopping is the exclusivity of the garments, unlike the chain stores who specialise  in mass production.  Most women have experienced the misfortune of attending an event to meet another woman dressed in an identical outfit, this can cause both parties embarrassment.  Shopping in a boutique with exclusive lines that are not massed produced, reduces this risk.

Setting Up A Boutique – Start Up Vs Franchise

Any new start-up business, regardless, of industry type, has a higher risk of failure when compared for example to a franchised operation. Setting up a boutique from scratch can be tricky, as a lack of experience can cause many hurdles.

To make a success of running your own boutique, you will need more than just enthusiasm.   Pitfalls of running a small boutique can include, being unable to procure stock ready for the start of the season, purchasing retail stock at the best price, keeping up to date on fashion trends, finding the ideal location from which to trade, managing cash flow, marketing, and the recruitment and training of staff.  However, if you get things right your investment of time and money can reap rewards.

A Retail Boutique Franchise Opportunity

Retail franchise opportunities offer a complete turnkey solution, or we could say a Boutique in a Box.  This can be an attractive option for budding entrepreneurs looking to invest in a retail

womenswear franchise.   Franchised businesses prospects of success can be far greater.  A franchise opportunity has the major benefit of training and on-going support, think of it as being in photo 4-1business for yourself but not by yourself.  Having the experience of the franchisor to call upon for support should you come across any unexpected hurdles can be very reassuring.  With a franchise you do not need to re-invent the wheel, just follow a proven business method that you have been trained to do.

Much of the set-up and training for you and your team and is included in the franchise.  The ongoing support provided by the Franchisor can be invaluable, particularly in the early days, launch and beyond, having an experienced ear to call on can save you many sleepless nights!

An experienced franchisor can help you to select the ideal premises in your chosen exclusive territory location, assist with your business plan, this can be particularly helpful should you need to secure funding.  Oversee and organise the professional fit out of your retail store.  Ensure that targeted marketing is performed both pre and post launch.  Train you and your key staff in day to day operations of the business method.  Ensure you have the right stock to retail. Have a finger on the fashion pulse to keep you and other franchisees in the network updated with news and market trends.  As well as sharing insider knowledge of the industry to support you in keeping your investment on track.


Want to find out more on retail boutique franchises? 

Devernois, is a great example of an exciting retail franchise opportunity.  Devernois specialise in bringing  continental womenswear fashions to the UK and Ireland via franchisedstores.  Devernois have enjoyed much success in France, the Devernois country of origin and beyond.

Devernois women’s clothing franchise is an ideal way for investors to become a part of the growing Devernois family.  Much of Devernois success is attributed to meticulous planning and extensive support provided to franchisees.


For a budding entrepreneur interested in opening a retail fashion store, a franchise with Devernois could be just the ticket.  To find out more on becoming part of the Devernois family click here to find out more on this dynamic retail opportunity.