A day in the life of FDS North Consultant, Tony Urwin

My alarm sounds. I get up, shower, dress, drink a glass of orange juice and set out to pick up the Business Copywriter I will be working with today. We are heading to visit a client who is in the early stages of a franchise development programme.

On arrival, after initial greetings, we set to work on the items highlighted for discussion in the agenda that we have prepared. The day is well planned in advance. We have brought a draft Franchise Information Memorandum for review. This is the detailed disclosure document that will be presented to qualified prospective franchise owners. It has been developed based on our data collection and initial franchise design meeting two weeks prior.

While we arrive with an agenda which sets out the day’s business, almost invariably, an off-agenda item appears. Franchise Development is part strategic business development, part financial engineering, part branding, part organisational design, part marketing, part science, part craft. The client is considering revising the design of his flagship shop. He wants his brand to be slightly more design-conscious.

“Let’s go see your shop again – show me what you have in mind”, I tell him. My job is to help him to simplify, systematise and document his business. I need to see how his proposed redesign will affect the perception of customers and prospective franchise buyers. I also need to see how his proposed redesign will affect the cost of the franchise and, ultimately, the offering for customers. It helps that I also have a background in retail.

His ideas are sound. With a few minor amendments to his plan, designed to enhance the customer experience, we go back to his office and amend the Franchise Information Memorandum ever so slightly.

Franchise Consultancy is also about change management. Up until now, the client has provided a service to customers. Soon, he will be promoting, selling and supporting franchises. His franchise owners will be the ones providing the service. The client is starting to step back and look at his business, and is asking himself: “Am I happy with what my franchise owners will be offering, and how they will be offering it?” He is seeing his business in a whole new light. I have been contracted to guide the development process. This includes helping clients to see their business from a new perspective, and to make changes accordingly.

During the lunch break, I make contact with my office. Calls and emails can then be made on my behalf. The client I am with is paying for my undivided attention and I need to make sure they receive what they are expecting.

We work on through the afternoon. We have amended the Memorandum, which is now almost ready to be signed off. We have also discussed how the franchise opportunity will be promoted in the Prospectus, which will be written ahead of our next meeting. Next week, it is this document that we’ll be discussing, along with the information that will be going into a Getting Started Guide and Territory Evaluation Form for new franchise owners.

Towards the end of the meeting, we ask the client how they feel the day has gone. We make a note of tasks allocated and check that the client is clear about what must be done and by who prior to our next meeting. Within an agreed timetable, we offer flexibility as to the exact day and time, because any one of us might be called upon to deal with something we could not foresee.

We leave the client’s office and drive home. It may be three o’clock in the afternoon or it may be six in the evening. We cannot always predict at the start of any given day when the meeting will end. We have to work around the client’s schedule, while ensuring that we are making good progress.

Tomorrow, I have calls to make. Our services were recommended to two different business owners, and they would like to learn more about how we can help them. I look forward to helping them. Working with clients is always an exchange, always creative, and always constructive.


All Trades Network – “Tony helped us to set up our franchise system in 2005. He repeatedly stressed the importance of long-term thinking, and was committed to developing a business model and franchise offering that would be ‘sustainably’ profitable. Seven years later, our business is thriving, our network is strong, and our prospects are very bright indeed. If you are looking to franchise your business, you want Tony developing your system.”
Keith Roberts, Managing Director

A-Star Sports – “The decision to work with FDS North was strategic. The consultancy’s experience and reputation – Tony’s in particular – are peerless, and we quickly saw why. Tony quickly grasped our business, market and objectives and helped us to position A-Star Sports head and shoulders above the competition. I’d recommend FDS North to anyone looking to franchise their business the right way.”
Gary Bassett, Managing Director