The business of franchising

Jane Khedair will be speaking about franchising at our Workingmums LIVE event in London on 27 March.

Jane Khedair says there has been no down time at her Business Plan Services consultancy business since Christmas. “It’s gone mad,” she says. “We have been very busy.”

Partly, she says, it is because the company has done some SEO work and boosted their Google ranking. The business has also just been franchised. “I’ve been working with two hats,” she says. “I’ve been running the London business which I set up over 20 years ago as a consultancy practice and franchising the business and growing the network.”

Jane’s experience of starting her own business as a working mum, business planning and being a franchisor make her the perfect person to speak at a seminar on working for yourself at the Workingmums LIVE event on 27 March. Her talk will be be about franchising and will cover the funding options people can look at when they are trying to start their own business as well as issues like what their business plan should contain.

The company’s first franchisee launched in Cambridge in January. He is a former senior executive at Business Link who took redundancy on 1st December, was trained at Business Plan Services in December and launched at the end of January. “We were delighted to get someone of that calibre,” says Jane.

Jane says she has long intended to franchise the business. She had to wait until a joint venture with London Business School came to an end to do so, though. She got involved with the LBS over 10 years ago after taking part in an event on business angel funding. The School later asked her if she was interested in giving them commercial outreach. They entered into a 10-year agreement which ended last summer. “It gave us a great brand name,” says Jane, “but it was time to move on.”

Jane believes she has a successful business model to offer franchisees and says she is looking for “commercially savvy, hungry, sales-driven franchisees with a background in senior management”.

The business has a national franchise manager who travels up and down the country talking to prospective franchisees. Jane says there are 96 franchise areas still open, but the company are very careful about getting the right match for the business. “It’s vital to get the right people on board,” she says.

Franchisees get three weeks’ training, all Business Plan Services products and systems, online diagnostic tools and ongoing support. The franchise package costs £35K plus ongoing commission fees, although the first two are being done on a pilot basis at half the cost.

Jane says she hasn’t particularly noticed an increase of women starting their own businesses or franchises in recent years. “I have always worked with women,” she says.

Working mum
Jane set up Business Plans Services 20 years ago after she asked to go part-time in her job in banking. Prior to that she was a lawyer. “I wanted to start a family and I spoke about going part time, but it was not allowed so I took redundancy and set up BPS,” she says.

She adds that the early days were hard work and she recalls working from home at times and having to take calls when her children were around. “I remember locking my son in the garden while I took a call,” she says. “Now it’s common to work from home and I feel more confident about saying that I am working from home.”

BPS now has 80 consultants working for it. Jane says she works very flexibly, including working a lot from home, although she adds that no two weeks are the same. Her children are now 18 and 16. “I think I have a good work life balance,” she says. “It’s definitely been worthwhile.”

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