High profile franchising

With one of the most recognisable logos on British highstreets today, O2 is a brand that means business. Adam Browning reports

In turning to franchising to expand its retail network O2, as one of the biggest names in mobile communications, is offering potential franchisees the opportunity to invest in this lucrative market. The brand power of a business can be the key to success and this is what attracted Hertfordshire based franchisee Ron Fitzgerald.

'It's a fast moving and exciting industry and that is exactly the type of business I wanted to invest in,' he reveals. 'As one of the leaders in this market, O2 has a great brand - a brand that I knew would give my business a higher chance of success. The way I looked at it was that the franchise was future-proof - fast moving technology being offered by one of the biggest names in the business. It was ideal.'

Having worked as a director in a travel agency, Ron knew he wanted to stay in retail and soon came to the conclusion that O2 was the right business for him. Preceding the launch of his business in September last year, O2 provided Ron with a six week training programme and aided him in the location for his store. 'It's vital that we get this right,' says Ron. 'However, O2 has an excellent idea of what location will maximise the business's success.'

O2 gave Ron's business an initial helping hand with a local marketing campaign but to his delight, Ron's belief in the power of the brand was confirmed: 'It's such a big and well known brand, people came in from day one. The name alone sells the product. As a franchisee I benefit just as much from O2's national multi-million advertising campaigns as O2 do themselves.'

Citing retail experience as an advantage to the O2 franchisee, Ron states that it is not strictly necessary: 'Many of the franchisees come from a wide variety of different backgrounds, but one thing I would say is that, if you want to develop fast, business acumen and sales skills would be essential.'

With the O2 franchise there is always the opportunity of building your business further through developing a portfolio of stores, an ambition that Ron is aiming for. 'There's a massive amount of potential in developing the business and there's the very realistic opportunity of opening a second store within only a few months,' enthuses Ron. 'That's my next goal and after that there is always the possibility of building a network of stores across my territory.'