The road to success: franchise event offers invaluable advice for start-ups

This autumn, business owners are invited to attend The National Franchise Exhibition at Birmingham’s NEC on Friday 2 and Saturday October 3, to take advantage of the exciting new workshops facilitated by successful entrepreneurs.

Showcasing at the UK’s largest franchise event, the ‘Growing Your Own Business’ workshops and seminars will give key insight into developing and sustaining a successful business. Perfect for those who are looking to start a new business or looking to grow their current venture, the event will put entrepreneurs face-to-face with industry experts who will offer an abundance of professional advice and tools.

Matt from Barnsley attended the event last year and comments: “The Growing Your Own Business seminars and workshops are a great addition to this event. Finance is something I am currently considering, so hearing more about crowdfunding from industry experts was really interesting and highly valuable for me.”

Welcoming speakers from a range of industry sectors, the workshops will cover everything from using social media to promote your business, to raising finance through crowdfunding. Making this event a must-attend, the extensive programme will provide an invaluable opportunity to hear experts give advice on essential topics such as SEO, PR, creative marketing and sales growth.

Along with this, the event will hold ‘Franchising Your Business’ seminars for those who already have a successful company, but are looking to grow and want to learn more about setting up a franchise format. These fantastic sessions will help entrepreneurs discover how to offer franchise owners a business format which includes their brand, business system, and support services under the contractual terms of a Franchise Agreement. Professionals will offer their invaluable advice and help visitors to discover how business men and women can expand their business through franchising.

This year, special guests will be offering inspiring seminars, giving a range of advice and tools on how to grow and run a successful business. These personal accounts will offer solutions to everyday challenges many businesses face. Visitors will be able to hear from established entrepreneurs and business professionals including Gareth Davies, Vice President UK & Europe for Papa John’s, Anil Patil of coffee kings Starbucks’ first franchise owners – 23.5 Degrees, as well as Nick Telson, Co-founder of DesignMyNight.com.

Kick-starting the keynote presentations is Gareth Davies, Vice President UK & Europe for Papa John’s will be giving a presentation entitled “Broom Closet to Boardroom – the Papa John’s Way”. Gareth is a 25 year veteran of the pizza business. He has worked at every level from pizza chef through to leading the UK’s fastest growing pizza chain. Over the years, he has developed new operational concepts in the UK and overseas, building successful high performing teams which have delivered results for multiple brands. His experience of dealing with both corporate entities, franchise operations and also with master licence holders has enabled him to achieve unparalleled results for franchise owners and investors.

Gareth gives a brief insight into his keynote presentation: ‘What does your keynote speech focus on?

My presentation will look at how the UK’s fastest growing pizza chain’s concept: ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’, has caught the imagination of a nation. I will explore how the company has now grown from zero to 4,750 stores across the globe using quality ingredients and excellent customer service as the ultimate driving force and passion behind the brand.’

‘What would you say have been the most challenging and most rewarding parts of being VP at the third largest takeout and pizza delivery restaurant chain in the world?

The most rewarding part of my job is being part of a team that is seeing such tremendous success. I take great pleasure in seeing so many of our franchise partners who have progressed, from team members in many cases, to owning their own store and often going on to open multiple stores. The challenges around the complexity of getting sites that our franchisees can trade from is probably my biggest frustration – I just want more customers to be able to buy our great pizza!’

‘What advice would you give to someone thinking of starting a customer focused business?

You need to be motivated, enthusiastic, hard-working and want to be part of a growing team. Exceptional interpersonal and people skills are essential, as you’ll be dealing with customers as well as leading your team on a daily basis. In addition to excellent written and spoken communication skills, you’ll have to be an organiser with a can-do attitude – someone who gets things done. You’ll have to be dedicated and passionate enough to adapt to a proven way of working. And you’ll need the ability to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in, which means everything from making pizza through to managing staff.

Nick Telson will be motivating listeners at 2.30pm on Friday 2 October. Having previously worked for L’Oreal for five years, Nick decided to set up DesignMyNight.com in 2011 with his best friend, Andrew Webster. Fast forward four years and the nightlife discovery website employs 25 staff and has been voted as one of the UK’s Top 50 Start-up’s by startups.co.uk. The B2C site attracts over 3 million monthly users and has also recently won a 2015 Guardian Business Award.

Launched in December 2010, DesignMyNight.com was up and running within 6 months of planning and now has an annual turnover of over £1.5 million. Nick believes the key factor to the success of the site is the company’s constant appetite to pivot the business to match the changing environment and industry.

At the 2015 National Franchise Exhibition, Nick will be presenting his keynote entitled ‘The crucial element to building a successful startup’. Excited to share his ‘secret’ to success, Nick says, “The importance of being open to pivoting. You can all too often become fixated on your original business idea but this can often be the death of a business. You must be open to change and pivoting to ward off competition, open up new revenue avenues and keeping the business up to date with a fast-changing operating environment.”

For more information and regular updates on the ‘Growing Your Own Business’ workshops and seminars incorporated in The National Franchise Exhibition, please visit www.franchiseinfo.co.uk. The National Franchise Exhibition takes place at NEC, Birmingham on 2 - 3 October 2015. Visitors can gain free entry by registering online at www.FranchiseTickets.co.uk and entering the promotional code GYO3 (saving £15).