'It's not just 'good'... it's FANTASTIC!'

What's the X-Factor that turns a good franchise into a spectacular wealth-generating opportunity?

Most new franchise seekers are looking, first and foremost, for an easy-to-follow 'proven' system: a business with an existing positive track record, where the opportunity for them to grow in a particular area is good and gives them solid earnings in exchange for hard work and application.

In the main these businesses tend to be service industries where the franchisee purchases the product from the franchise owner and sells it, according to a prescribed sales process, at a profit. The business becomes a means of earning a wage and can, in time, become a worthwhile asset in its own right - as long as earnings are growing consistently over a period of time.

Rarely, however, does the business have an in-built profit-escalator that allows the franchisee to generate regular monthly cash profit as well as outstanding capital growth. It's this 'X-Factor' - the capital growth potential that's built into every Platinum Property Partners (PPP) business - that explains why PPP's franchise opportunity is earning plaudits right across the franchise industry.

Despite the newspapers' predilection for sensationalist headlines about property, the simple fact remains that in the medium to long term no other investment category has ever generated as much wealth as property - not stock markets, not oil, not art, not even gold and other precious metals. On average, UK property has doubled in value every seven years since World War II and, while growth over the next seven years is unlikely to be at quite this rate, as long as there continues to be a significant shortfall in housing stock in the UK allied with population growth forecasts who would bet against it performing at a very good level over the coming decades?

In late 2006 Platinum Property Partners Founders Steve Bolton and Nick Carlile recognised that through trial and error, while building their own substantial property portfolios, they had created a robust template that was just perfect to replicate as a franchise. Not only had they refined the process for analysing an area's viability as an investment location and established strategies for identifying and acquiring suitable properties, but they had also gained expertise in a number of financing structures and techniques and systemised the property letting and management side. In short, they had produced the perfect system to take even novice investors right through the process.

By July 2007, when the franchise was formally launched, PPP had 10 'foundation' Franchise Partners (their term for franchisees) champing at the bit and raring to go. Today, less than nine months later, there are 22 (most are couples - that's 41 individuals) with another four couples in the early stages of the signing up process, making PPP currently the fastest-growing franchise in the UK.

Yet it's not simply the quality of their business proposition that makes PPP stand out from the crowd. There's another more subtle yet equally important factor that puts PPP head and shoulders above other franchises. Steve Bolton explains: 'In creating PPP, of course Nick and I wanted to generate our own wealth, but we also wanted to bring together a community of people - our Franchise Partners - who recognised and bought into the ethics and values that both Nick and I held, people who wanted financial freedom so they could make choices about the lives they lead and give something back for the greater good.

'Most people today have a blinkered approach to life. They are held in a financial straight-jacket by the amount of money they earn and the amount of money they owe. We want to provide the vehicle that releases the straight-jacket and allows people to be more, do more, have more and give more in their lives.'

It's this integrity running through everything Steve and Nick do that generates such huge enthusiasm and loyalty between Franchise Partners, and it's a shared philosophy that is very apparent at PPP's bi-monthly Franchise Partner workshops. Over two days of ongoing training and development, everyone shares their experiences with the others, so creating an ever-expanding and invaluable network of expertise. There's an attitude of selflessness within this franchise, which is so rare in business environments.

Text: Sarah Walker

FRANCHISEE DIARY Kim Thorogood, London

My husband Steve and I both held well-paid jobs in blue-chip companies within the financial sector in London for 20 years, but by 2005 we had become disillusioned with corporate life and left the city to find something we could do together, where we weren't working long hours to benefit someone else's long-term security and profit. We'd always had an interest in property and knew we wanted to build our own home at some stage. We also knew that renting out property had money in it and could provide us with an income, we just needed to find the right mechanism for us.

Originally we looked at the overseas market but, after some research and a viewing trip to Spain, we realised that it was unlikely to provide us with a sustainable monthly cashflow. Then we happened to hear Steve Bolton speak at the Homes Overseas property show in early 2007. We were immediately inspired by his honest approach, business knowledge and professionalism and realised that his proposition of building a portfolio on the foundations of cash-positive professional multi-let properties could give us a decent income and flexibility in terms of working hours, plus it made good use of our people skills.

There was nothing else out there quite like the one-to-one mentoring and financial, legal and property management support network Steve and Nick were offering, and we were very fortunate to meet them at the time when they were just putting the franchise together. Knowing even the little that we did at that stage, there was never any doubt in our minds that we wanted to be part of it. Not only was there so much we could gain from tapping into the expertise of the whole PPP team and network of professionals, but we felt that we could both add value to the franchise itself.

As foundation Franchise Partners, my husband and I had a say in shaping the legal agreement and I am now also working as a consultant to the franchise, on the legal and operations side. And that's just one of the very attractive things about it - Steve and Nick are insistent that the franchise grows organically and Franchise Partners should have a say in shaping its long-term vision. We have such an incredible group of people with diverse experience and expertise at a high level in so many different industries and environments, that I have no doubts about the long-term viability of the PPP franchise.

I'm 100 per cent confident that being part of PPP will enable us to not only grow our own personal property portfolio quickly and effectively, but that it will also provide us with the opportunity to mentor new franchise partners in the future and share our knowledge and expertise, which is something I'm really keen to do. The business has grown so quickly and is already looking to expand into other areas of property, investment and helping people achieve their full potential. This franchise isn't just good, it's fantastic and it's an exciting journey my husband and I are proud and excited to be a part of.