A platinum success

Steve Bolton, Founder and Chairman of Platinum Property Partners (PPP), spoke to Editor Matt Bone about how working with Franchise Development Services put him on the path to success and how PPP has gone from strength to strength.

Why did you choose to franchise your business instead of offering courses on how to succeed in property development?

SB: I have actively invested in my own personal and professional development over the last 30 years as well as mentoring, coaching and training other people from the age of 18.

My passion for mentoring, supporting and helping other people did initially lead me to start running my own training courses. However, I found that too many people didn’t do anything or actually taking action. Far too many people spend lots of money going on courses but fail to apply what they learn.

Therefore, I wanted to create a system that would result in 100 per cent of people taking action and being successful. That’s how we developed the model. I franchised the business because for one, it was a unique and systemised model that people could follow and be successful, and secondly, it would enable me to mentor Partners through the whole process and ensure they stayed motivated to succeed.

Why did you choose FDS to work with you?

SB: I didn’t know anything about franchising but believe in working with the best professional advisors. We researched the market and interviewed three consultancies. After undertaking thorough due diligence, I discovered that FDS were the stand-out consultancy.

How does your early ideal franchise owner differ from your ideal franchise owner today?

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SB: In principle, there is no difference. While the market may demand any new Franchise Partners to have more starting capital due to rising house prices, there is also new ways to access funds – take the new pension freedoms for example.

However, we have noticed that we now attract a lot more existing landlords and seasoned investors compared to when we were starting out, and this is as a direct result of our track record, success and reputation.

Our partners now come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Some have had director level roles in large companies; others have been accountants or solicitors. Many have run their own business or had a career in industry, teaching or the NHS. Some are mothers looking to find a suitable career as their children grow up.

All of our Franchise Partners have one thing in common – they subscribe to the PPP philosophy – to be more, do more, have more and give more. They want to change their lives for the better. The nature of their background and skills are much less important than their determination, motivation and desire to succeed - then they will often be a perfect fit for the PPP family.

How many franchise owners do you currently have and how many have a portfolio net worth of over £1 million?

SB: We currently have over 200 active Franchise Partners, of which at least 40 per cent have portfolios worth over £1m. The remaining 60 per cent are newer franchise partners who are still actively building their portfolios. However, the combined value of the network’s portfolio far exceeds £200m.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to anyone looking to franchise their business?

SB: Number one would be to remember that a franchise business is all about people – training, mentoring and developing people. That is what the business is doing around a particular industry or skill set. So make sure that you understand that.

Secondly, it’s a long-term commitment so you should be prepared to put the time and effort in.

Lastly, people should not expect to make profits immediately. It may take two to three years of initial investment and development before you start to see a financial return.

Your original goal was 100 franchise owners, as you have passed this figure, what is your new goal?

SB: Our initial five year plan was to recruit 100 franchise partners. We’re now seven years in with more than 200 Partners. But like the CEO of Intel once said, a business can only accurately project forward as long as it has a history. We’ve therefore reviewed our long-term goals and our vision for 2025 is to have helped 500 Partners achieve financial security and to own a combined property portfolio worth £1billion. I believe we are well on track to achieve this.

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What are your plans to expand PPP internationally? Are you looking to target any specific countries?

SB: We are currently running a pilot programme in Australia, but there is still huge scope to expand in the UK. We already have our first couple of Franchise Partners in Scotland and are really focussing on highlighting the benefits of the PPP model to potential Partners in the northern regions. The specific drive at the moment is the midlands and the north of England because the yields are potentially fantastic.

What are your franchise recruitment goals for the next 18 months?

SB: To maintain the quality of the franchise offering and the high level of success we have achieved, PPP can recruit between 40 and 60 franchise partners a year. That’s what we have done for the past three years and that’s how we see it continuing.