Q&A with Ayton Global Research

With the global recession causing companies to re-exame their market research spending, Ayton Global Research francise owners are offering a cost-effective way of supporting vital decision making. FDS Southern Franchise Consultants Gordon Patterson and Gary Rigby interview Ayton Global Research Founder Sue Ayton

Gordon Patterson: What was your original inspiration for creating the Ayton Global Research (AGR) business?
Sue Ayton: I was looking for an opportunity where I could maintain a good work/life balance and grow at a pace which suited me. I launched the AGR service in 1995, initially operating on foot and paper. We piloted our website service in 2002 and rolled it out to our full clientele in 2003, which allowed it to achieve rapid growth.

Gary Rigby: What potential do you see for AGR in the UK and global markets?
SA: With the global recession and the ever increasing take up of the internet we are in an ideal position to expand our business to assist companies in their decision making as it becomes ever more critical.

GR: What international business have you had to date?
SA: Several major companies that are already clients want to see our service rolled out globally so they can use it in other markets. One of our clients is keen to utilise our services in 47 countries while another has identified six specific global locations in which it would engage us.

GP: In what sectors do you provide your service?
SA: We're looking to recruit franchise owners whose business will focus on a particular industry sectors, allowing them to provide specialist advice. Business sectors are defined as different areas of trade such as food & drink, cosmetics & toiletries, automotive or fashion industry.

GP: What sectors are already allocated?
SA: We have allocated the UK food & drink sector franchise and are working very closely with this model before proceeding with other sectors. However, we have got strong prospects in the pipeline in Italy, Turkey, Australia and Croatia.

GR: In which countries are you particularly interested in establishing franchise owners?
SA: We are keen to find a franchise owner in Switzerland where we already have clientele. We are also positioned to expand rapidly in Germany, and we have volunteer recruitment strategies and our systems and software translated and ready for operation in Russia and the USA.

GR: What support services does AGR offer the franchise owner?
SA: AGR provides a very comprehensive support service through a full-time team of administrators. We also have online support facilities and we can operate support in 'real-time' because of the way our website is constructed.

GP: How is the global economic downturn affecting the AGR business?
SA: Globally we are the most cost effective research solution, so decreasing market research budgets actually gives AGR an opportunity to present our package. In a downturn it stands to reason that we should be busier than anyone else since we back up the decision making that can be very costly if it is wrong.

GR: Who is a typical client for AGR?
SA: Half of our clientele are well known high street stores such as Boots, Tesco, and The Body Shop, but we also supply contract suppliers with consumer research data. Those clients are less well known but they still feed into the British high street.

GR: What are the key USPs for your service?
SA: We operate in real-time and through this we are able to recruit individuals anywhere in the world, fully profile them and operate trials in the same real-time format - providing a client portal that seems to be quite unique in our industry.

GP: How would you describe the potential earnings for a franchise owner?
SA: The profit margin is very generous and the earning potential is almost infinite on account of the variety of directions in which each individual franchise owner can take their business.