An ideal investment opportunity with O2

With their third outlet prepped for launch, business parters Chirag Patel and Simon Wayne are already planning a fourth store

Mobile telecommunications retail company O2 offers a multiple unit franchise opportunity coupled with a comprehensive training package and strong branding. For new franchisees Chirag Patel and Simon Wayne, who launched their South Coast franchise in February, the decision to invest in the franchise is already paying off with their franchise expanding rapidly.

'Simon and I are excited to be part of such a well-recognised brand,' enthuses Chirag. 'Our decision to invest in an O2 franchise was down to a recommendation from an existing franchisee, Simon's brother Chris who owns the Bradford territory. He owns three stores there and has had a very positive experience working with O2. At the time Simon and I were looking for a new challenge in a fast paced environment and because mobile technology is continually changing, we felt a mobile phone shop was an ideal investment. So we decided to pursue our interest with a visit to O2's head office in Slough for a chat before signing the agreement.'

As previous franchise owners, Chirag and Simon were already armed with the experience of running a business and were aware of the benefits that came with investing in a franchise. 'We understood the power of branding,' explains Chirag. 'By investing in O2 we could guarantee customers from the first day of trading because the name is well known and has positive associations. If we had opened by ourselves we would have had to build up brand awareness and trust within the local community and would not have been able to expand as quickly as planned. Since the launch of our first franchise based in Haven, we have successfully opened another shop in Christchurch and have a third opening in Winston in a matter of weeks. We hope to open our fourth store based in Shirely later this year.

'In terms of training and support, O2 put us through a one-month training course based on an existing O2 shop floor. During the course Simon and I were able to get to grips with the technology, the store layout, the role of the shop assistant and the O2 way of dealing with phone upgrades and pre-pay. We found the course extremely helpful as we got to learn the business practices inside out. The support of other franchisees from the network has also been commendable. You never feel completely on your own. Every time we decide to open a new store our Regional Manager provides advice on the location of the premises to ensure our business is successful. While the shop fits are down to us once completed, O2 helps us stock the store.'

With their rapid business expansion plans in motion Chirag has found that he is working a lot of hours. 'I am more than happy to sacrifice my time now because I enjoy running the business and love the fact that I can see our store chain plan taking shape,' he says. 'I would recommend the O2 franchise opportunity because it enables you to work with young, dynamic customers and staff. The work is varied and there is enough scope for growth and development in your territory ensuring you never get bored.'

Interview by Jess Sturman