Malcolm Porter talks to Freddie St George

Malcolm Porter, of FDS South East, talks to Freddie St George, Managing Director, of Raring2go!

Malcolm Porter: How would you describe the Raring2go! franchise opportunity?
Freddie St George (pictured): Raring2go! is a flexible, home-based, family friendly franchise opportunity, which involves producing a magazine for families four times a year. It is a business, which in common with others requires hard work and commitment, especially in the early stages. However it also offers a level of flexibility so our franchise owners can bridge the gap between the elusive work/life balance. Our franchise owners are exceptional individuals and they choose to commit to the Raring2go! opportunity primarily for its ability to integrate neatly into family life.

Malcolm Porter: How long has Raring2go! been trading?
Freddie St George: Raring2go! was established in 2006. Back then it was a very different animal to the one you see today. In 2009, Mojo Publishing purchased Raring2go! and set out upon a programme of improvement and restructuring. We have spent two long years looking at our infrastructure and reinforcing our foundations. Now we are ready to start expanding across the UK and growing our network slowly, surely and properly.

Malcolm Porter: Describe your target market and the potential for your business across the UK.
Freddie St George: Our target advertisers are businesses and individuals, which have a family facing profile within the exclusive territory of our franchise owner. Our magazines are a healthy split between paid-for advertising and useful family-friendly editorial. All our editions have a local website too, which means they can offer local businesses a valuable and cost effective online and offline advertising channel.

Malcolm Porter: What differentiates Raring2go! from its competition?
Freddie St George: The combination of our offline and online presence makes our offering distinctive and sets us above our local competition. Also, our magazines print a minimum of 10,000 copies each and have a pretty unique distribution channel direct to the consumer. All Raring2go! editions are produced centrally through one print company, which means we have a strong, vibrant and clearly identifiable brand. We provide our franchise owners with a wide range of branded point of sale and promotional material too. One of our major strengths lies in our number and our ability to offer wider regional advertising packages to our clients by involving neighbouring editors too. Suddenly a campaign can grow from a reach of 10,000 to 30,000+ very cost efficiently.

Malcolm Porter: What support do you provide?
Freddie St George: We provide training across all aspects of the business including design, advertising sales and social media. Most of our franchise owners are mothers, so we have structured a remote system to deliver much of our training. We also manage the emails provision and maintain our ever expanding website. We’ve just launched our bespoke Customer Relationship Management System (CRM) and are rolling that out now to the network via remote training. This CRM will have a major positive impact on all our franchise owners’ profitability.

Malcolm Porter: What are the most important characteristics you look for in potential franchise owners?
Freddie St George: We seek to recruit enthusiastic hardworking individuals who are driven to succeed in running their own business. We need people who are team players because there will be a need to blend with our existing network and work alongside neighbouring editors. Some business experience is preferred, though not essential. Sales and or marketing skills and experience would be an advantage but again not essential. Highly personable, passionate and committed to building relationships are what it takes to be a ‘modern day’ Raring2go! Editor.

Malcolm Porter: What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Freddie St George: I’ve got lots of goals. I’d like to see our network’s profitability increase and see them embrace the innovations we have introduced with our web presence and our CRM. I’d like to see us grow from being an Associate Member of the British Franchise Association to a Full Member. I’d like to establish regional relationships with advertisers to assist our franchise owners. I would like to redefine our territory map to offer existing franchise owners more scope for growth. I’d also love to take Raring2go! to Italy and overseas markets.