If you answered ‘yes’ and ‘yes’, then you have much in common with our other Business Doctors franchisees.
Graham Robson, Business Doctor for Tyne Tees and former recruitment industry managing director, was looking for a franchise that enabled him to pass on what he had learned during 38 years in business. He says: “If you can’t enjoy it, don’t do it!" and we couldn’t agree more.
Business Doctors franchise partners provide a high-quality package to SMEs, supporting their varying needs and facilitating them to grow.
We are looking for business-savvy individuals who can follow our franchise system and will maintain our top levels of service. Partners should have excellent communication skills and strong commercial experience.
Established in 2004 by Rod Davies and Matthew Levington, Business Doctors is a network of entrepreneurs who are passionate about sharing their experience and skills with small and medium sized businesses.
Our Business Doctors franchise partners don’t just coach or train, but get right into the nuts and bolts of SMEs, helping them to achieve their aspirations for growth and profitability.
We offer a host of exclusive branded programmes, designed to identify and develop effective strategic plans for every kind of SME.
Operating a Business Doctors franchise offers a working day like no other - with huge variety and job satisfaction.
Chris Simpson, franchisee for Gatwick Diamond, and former IT industry CEO says: "I love doing what I do and helping business owners realise their goals"
Former private sector director Jeff Long, now Business Doctor’s Leeds franchisee, says: "Last week I worked with four completely different businesses. I never, ever, experience a dull moment".
In 2004, Business Doctors recognised a unique and untapped niche in the market: practical, down-to-earth, and holistic support for small and medium sized businesses.
The need for our services is self-evident. The Management Consultancies Association (MCA) identified three of the largest and fastest-growing markets within management consulting to be operational improvement, financial management and project management. It’s no coincidence that this magic trio is at the heart of the Business Doctors offer. There are three million VAT-registered SMEs in the UK, and no other national network is set up to target this kind of support to them.
Business Doctors is a tried-and-test system with over ten years’ history behind it. With established territories in the UK and overseas, franchisees can be confident they are buying into a method with longevity and great potential.
Cardiff franchisee and former Chamber of Commerce director Graham L Morgan, says: “I was very interested in the ‘tools’ offered by the Business Doctors kit bag and with a background in supporting SMEs, I could see just how relevant and saleable they were. The fact that Business Doctors is already established across key parts of the UK also played a big part in my decision to buy a franchise”.
A recognised name across the industry, Business Doctors has won and been shortlisted for a multitude of awards, including continuous improvement winner and finalist in the overall best franchise category of the Best Franchise Awards 2014, a finalist in four categories at the Franchise Marketing Awards 2015, Business & Industry Today’s company of the year 2014 and HSBC B2B Franchisee of The Year Finalist 2016.
Another major benefit of joining Business Doctors is that you are never alone. With over 40 franchisees in the UK network, Business Doctors frequently call upon each other’s expertise and many choose to work collaboratively. “We share best practice and our experiences of overcoming particular challenges,” says Richard Tidswell, franchisee for Avon and Somerset, who has a background in retailing, strategy and asset planning within a private utilities company. “I really appreciate the ongoing support that comes from both head office and the rest of the network,” he adds.
The minimum investment required to launch our franchise is £37,500 +VAT* - Financing is available through third parties.
All four of the high street banks are happy to lend up to 70% of the franchise fee and working capital. We are also approved by HMRC under a scheme where you can release your pension to enable you to invest in your own business. We are happy to discuss financing options with you and point you in the direction of funding.
Business Doctors will provide you with everything you require to get you started and the tools needed to build up a thriving business. Our toolkit includes:
Business Doctors provides all franchisees with in-depth training from day one so that they gain a thorough understanding of the services on offer, the marketplace, business operations, proprietary systems and much more.
You would also gain access to our comprehensive operations manual throughout the duration of your agreement, so that you can refer to every aspect of our business practice quickly and easily.
As a Business Doctors franchisee, you are not alone. Our dedicated and professional support team assist you every step of the way – from the first few steps in your due diligence to launch, as well as any questions or challenges you have years down the line.
If you like what you see so far, have business experience at a managerial level, and could see yourself as part of our network, why not get in touch and we can talk this through in more detail?
Peter Searle has been the Business Doctors franchisee for the Maidstone and Medway areas of Kent since October 2015.
He joined the national business support network after moving on from his role as operations director in three profit centres in Aylesford, Kent, which had a combined turnover of £56 million.
With a background in civil engineering and building construction management, Peter’s more recent career has seen him manage projects in retail, commercial, custodial, health, education, industrial, leisure and residential sectors. His exceptional ability to turn his hand to any sector and manage multiple high-level projects simultaneously saw Peter manage 22 live projects across Kent and South London, ranging from £250k to £19 million in value, immediately prior to the launch of his franchise.
During his building management career, Peter progressed to become a director for national property, residential, construction and services group Kier. During his time there, he was responsible for restructuring the business several times during the recent recession in response to external environment and customer demands.
He decided to make the switch to franchising in summer 2015, while browsing Making Money magazine. He chose a franchise rather than setting up his own enterprise as it offered him a proven model, along with the credibility of national coverage and the supporting skills of his fellow franchisees. He chose Business Doctors because it appeared more flexible in its approach than other areas he researched, as well as being the closest match to his ideal activity.
Since establishing his Business Doctors franchise, Peter has been getting to grips with the different processes involved from his director-level career. He’s enjoyed exploring his territory, both geographically and in terms of discovering new aspects of business, and is particularly enjoying helping his clients unlock their potential and exceed their original hopes for their business.
Peter has an Open University MBA and has been a judge for the Construction Manager of the Year Award (CMYA) for the Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB). He was the founding chairperson of the reformed Constructing Excellence Kent Club, which aims to improve performance in the construction industry in Kent and across the UK.
To those considering taking the plunge into franchising, Peter advises to read the book Street Wise Franchising, as well as carry out a monthly critical review of a working business plan.
As for future plans, Peter says he’s happy to take a dose of his own medicine and focus on the segment of the market which works best for him.
A motor industry heavyweight has come out of retirement to become a Business Doctors franchisee.
Stuart Kerr, from Chipperfield, near Kings Langley in Hertfordshire, spent over four decades in the motor industry, working internationally up to chief executive level with top automotive brands Nissan, Volvo and Ford.
In 2014, the motorbike enthusiast announced he was throwing in the towel to enjoy a life of leisure and travel with Desiree, his wife of 40 years.
But just two globetrotting years later, Stuart realised he missed the world of business too much, so put his retirement on to take on the 42nd Business Doctors territory.
The new franchise holder for Watford and St Albans, he said: "I'm looking to reach out across central Hertfordshire to really empower small businesses to up their game.
“I’m ready to get my hands dirty and help businesses get to the next level. Although my background is in the motors, I have much to offer to businesses of all kinds. Just because I'm a petrolhead, it doesn't mean I can't help a florist to put on new growth."
Rod Davies, Business Doctors’ co-founder, said: “With his bluechip CEO level experience and desire to help in a really active and practical way, Stuart is an excellent fit for Business Doctors.
“I can predict that Stuart will soon become an essential player in his local SME community."
Business Doctors, a national support network that helps SMEs develop and grow, began in Cheshire in 2004 when founders Rod Davies and Matt Levington pledged to make management consultancy style services accessible to small businesses.
They launched their first franchise in Bedford in 2009 and are now growing internationally, with master franchises sold in South Africa and India.
An accomplished Regional Director of a multinational brand has stepped back from the corporate world to support and coach small and medium sized businesses in Kent.
Steve Wheeler had worked for various companies within BT Group for 24 years, the last five of them as BT Local Business’ Regional Director for London and the South East.
Now Steve (50) from Chislehurst has become the UK’s latest certified Business Doctor and is looking forward to working with SMEs in the Tonbridge and Sevenoaks areas. He will be focusing on how to make them more successful, with an emphasis on topics such as strategy, customer experience, management and leadership, as well as recruitment and retention.
Steve said: “I’m looking forward to getting to know businesses in my area better, and helping them to succeed. “SMEs are vibrant and all about people; they’re fast-paced and face unique challenges on a daily basis. At BT I discovered that it really mattered to each individual SME what I could do to support them – each problem or solution was a big deal.”
Steve’s achievements as Regional Director included leading the transformation of an underperforming region, by encouraging better collaboration and strengthening sales teams. Responsible for turnover that exceeded £200 million, he succeeded growing revenue and market share growth in the SME sector.
His other roles at the group included Head of New Business (BT Directories, London area) and UK Head of Inbound Services (BT Corporate Sales division). “I’m excited about the prospect of sharing my expertise and helping within what I can only describe as a ‘real’ environment,” he said.
“I’m sure owners of small and medium businesses will know exactly what I mean! So I applied to become a Business Doctor. The culture and philosophy are a good fit – caring, collaborative and supportive.” Business Doctors’ is an elite network of business coaches, armed with first-hand experience of driving SME growth and creating sellability – there are currently only 45 approved coaches UK-wide, who are based across most regions.
Co-founder of Business Doctors Rod Davies said: “While he’s had experience within a very large company, Steve’s roles have always involved successfully working with SMEs. He has genuine interest, understanding and strategic approach to creating success that SMEs in Kent will find very beneficial.”
When he’s not business coaching, Steve is preparing to assist and develop the next generation of rugby players: from next season he will be head coach of the U8’s at Old Elthamians club.
Previously an employee of a global company, Peter Fleming spent a year carefully planning his transition from corporate life to becoming his own boss at Business Doctors Cumbria.
As a recent Business Doctors franchisee, Peter is able to recall his first busy months of franchising and what his previous expectations of becoming his own boss were. Here he reveals how his expectations have compared to the reality of the move from employment to running his own business.
"After 28 years I was ready for a new challenge. I had a good salary and package, but I felt I had to make a choice between security and something more fulfilling. I was ready for a better work-life balance too - at the time I was travelling a lot and spending several nights a week away from home."
Due to the lack of fulfillment within his corporate life Peter started to concentrate on his own wants and needs. "I reviewed my skill set and what I enjoy, with the idea that I'd set up my own business. In all, I spent about a year getting to know myself and exploring the market and industry trends. I started to realise there were franchises offering what I wanted to do, so I researched them and came across Business Doctors, which seemed to fit how I worked and wanted to work; having and using a strategy model."
Following a meeting with Business Doctors co-founders, Matt Levington and Rod Davies, Peter continued his research. Although he was impressed with the franchise opportunity Business Doctors offered Peter did not want to jump straight in. "It was a six month due diligence process. If I was going to leave a secure job, I had to give my fresh start the best chance. It is important to see a franchise in operation, so I attended franchisee events and asked 'can I see myself doing this?'. The answer was yes!
"So I produced two business models, comparing how I would go it alone versus going with a franchise and identified my strengths and my weaknesses, highlighting what I needed to learn. I looked at the Business Doctors offering, the training and support available, proven results and how their business model would enable me to scale up my business. The strength of a brand is important to me too, as it would add weight to my own."
Instincts kicked in and Peter knew Business Doctors culture and philosophy fit with his personality and values. With this in mind, as well as the impressive meeting, plus being able to see himself as a Business Doctor Franchisee, Peter took the first steps to become his own boss.
During the first 6 months of becoming a franchisee, Peter understands that 'trusting your gut' is as important as the research when choosing which franchise is right for you.
"In hindsight, it was right to believe that if you're working for yourself you have to make sure you enjoy what you are doing. The rewards are beyond financial. Now, I have total control. I'm working as many hours as I was in the corporate world, but I'm investing in my brand and my future. My biggest challenge will be slowing down - I'm choosing to work 60-70 hours a week, but on the other hand I've only spend four or five nights away from home in the last six months.
And I was right to do the groundwork too, but I think I did too much. It is a big step to take the plunge and step out of a secure job. But I thought, what's the worst that could happen? I could lose a bit of money and time. It's about knowing what you're getting into, but go with your gut, don't over do the research.
It's going better than I expected. I won contracts early on and I am continuing to build my private clients, plus there is the support from Business Doctors and the other franchisees. Yes, even mentors sometimes need mentoring!"
Operations Director for a manufacturing company, Terry Houghton, found himself facing redundancy when the company went into administration.
At 50 years old, and having spend 30 years in large organisations, the option of investing into a franchise was not something he had considered before. However, since joining Business Doctors four and a half years ago, as a regional franchisee, he has not looked back. Terry's Merseyside based Business Doctors franchise has been very successful and he is now a mentor for other franchisees in the North-West.
"After 30 years in manufacturing, I applied for similar jobs and had a couple of interviews but I wasn't able to find what I really wanted, so I gave up on that idea and looked at buying a business instead."
With his years of experience in the commercial sector Terry was motivated by the concept of running his own manufacturing business but the companies he came across for sale were not desirable due to the lack of saleability.
"There were issues with these companies - mainly that they are heavily reliant on the business owner, which meant that when they left, there was no business to sell. This kind of scenario isn't peculiar to manufacturing; I've seen SMEs from all sectors make the same mistake. Businesses need proper structure."
This sparked an interest in coaching businesses but still with the idea of running his own business, Terry attended the British Franchise Exhibition in Manchester to see what franchising was all about and what his options would be.
"I didn't know anything about franchising at all at that point, and I hadn't realised that you could coach businesses as a franchise."
Terry spent several months researching his options, trying to find a franchise opportunity that offered everything he was looking for in terms of how he wanted to work and one which would support him throughout.
"I didn't have the confidence to build my own brand, so the franchise route seemed a good idea. Even franchises in the same sector are all quite different. I wanted to enter a situation where I felt my expertise was valued, and not one where there was too much head office control."
Having looked at the offering from Business Doctors, Terry felt this opportunity "ticked all the boxes" and it has not let him down!
"I'd never considered franchising before so I wasn't sure what to expect, but there have been no nasty surprises even though it was scary - not from the perspective of doing the work, but actually getting the work."
Now Terry has entered the small business world via Business Doctors, he is delighted at how dynamic this sector is in comparison to the corporate world.
"In an SME people make decisions and act on them, rather than debating something for months. If I make a suggestion I get to see the results fairly quickly."
With the ability to use his experience to his advantage Terry has achieved excellent results for himself and his clients. The support Business Doctors have provided Terry has given him a very high level of career satisfaction.
Terry now enjoys using his influence to add value to businesses from a saleability perspective, which he failed to see when searching for business to buy himself, as well as through expansion.
Being made redundant after 25 years as a directory of a retail company, Kevin Cook saw this as the perfect opportunity to make the dream of becoming his own boss a reality. Having already made this decision Kevin knew joining an established franchise brand was how he could make this dream come true. He even knew which franchise he would choose - Business Doctors!
“I saw an advert for Business Doctors in the Chamber of Commerce magazine, three or four years before I joined them. I wasn’t looking for a job at the time but something in the advert ticked all the boxes so I kept it in file. When I lost my job due to the recession, like many others, the advert was still there. I thought the timing was right and I approached them.”
Although he realises he could have done it alone and been successful, after four and a half years as a Business Doctor franchisee, in Cheshire, Kevin truly believes he made the right decision to invest into a franchise rather than starting a business on his own.
“With a franchise you're dealing with a proven method. All the statistics I saw at the time said 50% of businesses fail in the first 12 months, whereas the statistics for franchises were positive, so the pleasures outweighed the pitfalls for me.
The Business Doctors model is a tried and tested methodology; hours and hours of time have been spent on their toolkits, which meant my time was saved. You don’t even have to worry about the colour of your business cards. I was able to go straight out and start working and delivering for customers. Time is important to start getting money coming in right away, and the franchise method supports this ethos.
Having the support network allows you to deliver much stronger solutions to clients. If an issue arises we will have a specialist somewhere on the network to help us. The support really shouldn't be underestimated. It was needed in areas where I didn't think it would arise. I have my own geographical patch, but working as a team we have been able to deliver major projects for places likes Liverpool council even though they are not my territory. As a sole trader without the franchise behind me I wouldn't be able to get contracts like that. The franchise widens my range of work and the companies I'm able to work with.”
As much as the ultimate dream for most is to work be their own boss, Kevin has some advice. "Self-employment is not for everybody; you need to understand the pleasures and the pitfalls."
For anyone considering a franchise Kevin also has some words of wisdom - Choose a franchise that you believe in! “One of the keys to being successful is that the franchise needs to feel right; the core values need to align with your skills. If only half of the core values apply, they wont be able to help you tick all the boxes. You need at least 75% of shared views, and how you do business needs to be combined.”
Aspiring entrepreneurs long for the perfect work-life balance which is achievable however Kevin admits this is not always his main priority. "I'm a workaholic so I don’t have a work-life balance as such, though from time to time even I have to pull myself out and say I need a holiday.
The nice thing about it is you are completely your own boss. This Thursday I might go windsurfing if the weather's good. In a corporate career you can't take a day off at the drop of a hat. As a franchisee I don’t have to answer to anyone else.”