Franchisee of the Year Awards 2013
The 2013 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards, supported by Express Newspapers, took place at the ICC in Birmingham on 3 October. A sparkling black-tie awards evening culminated in the UK Franchisee of the Year 2013 being named as Janis Anderson, from Caremark in Aylesbury.
The evening began (and ended) for many with champagne and excited chatter against a background of elegant dresses and sharp dinner suits. A lively atmosphere throughout was the fitting backdrop for a celebration of some of the UK’s top franchisees. Five new categories were introduced to proceedings this year and they helped to bring out some inspiring and exceptional stories from the franchise sector, from companies of all shapes and size.
Janis received a standing ovation for her award, which was richly deserved and merited through her combination of sharp business acumen, the utmost professionalism and passion for her work, and the development and pioneering of new ideas for her business in conjunction with Caremark’s head office team. She has taken her franchise to a £2m+ turnover just four years after opening, with further growth already in the pipeline.
Calm throughout, Janis’s steely passion and dedication to her business and those it helps on a daily basis are testament to the power of a strong franchisor-franchisee synergy and what it can achieve. She earned the right to be in contention for the top honour after earlier being named Female Franchisee of the Year, in what was an exceptional field of four outstanding businesswomen.
So much so in fact that another of the finalists in that category, Shweta Jhajharia of ActionCoach in London, was presented with a surprise Judges Award on the night, reflecting the calibre of female entrants this year and just how closely she pushed Janis for the Female Franchisee title. Shweta has catapulted herself into the top 5 ActionCoaches globally and is the UK network's top female by a considerable distance. That's pretty good going for a lady who previously had no experience of the UK SME market and started her business in the recession...
It would be fair to say that each of the categories was just as difficult for the judges thanks to the strong nature of the entries this year. Customer Service Franchisee of the Year was hotly contested by four very different businesses. In the end Nick Dee Shapland, of ServiceMaster Clean in Newbury, took home the honours for his ability to motivate and encourage over 450 employees to buy into his service mantra; particularly impressive in a cleaning industry that is often unfairly looked down on from the outside. O2 finalists Surjit and Balvinder Dhillon were narrowly pipped to the prize, to the disappointment of their assembled partisan crowd who provided great support for them.
In the Long-serving Franchisee category it was Viking giant Siggy Wilberg and his Domino’s empire in the south west that reigned supreme. After 26 years Siggy has shown incredible investment in his people and persistence in standards to grow his multi-million pound, eight-branch business. This is perhaps best highlighted by the fact that his business partner started working with Siggy aged 16 as a delivery driver, and now drives a Ferrari rather than a moped! Siggy is now instrumental in helping Domino’s succeed in Germany with an innovative new service model.
Recognising the countless smaller franchises without full-time employees, where franchisees motivate themselves day after day to carry out both their work and the development of their business, Ron and Shirley Maynard of Card Connection in Abingdon took home the Micro-business Franchisee award. 18 years of sterling work, with the workload shared between them to maximise efficiency and to account for Shirley’s visual impairment, has left them with a great business and a retirement nest egg in-waiting.
Last but absolutely not least, our fifth winner was in the Young Franchisee category, where three young men proved the old adage ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’. Demonstrating business maturity way beyond their years, this was another decision of huge deliberation for our erstwhile judges. Eventually the award went to Steven Prime of Esquires Coffee Houses in Coventry, who impressed with meticulous knowledge of his business, the development of young staff through an apprenticeship scheme, mentoring other Esquires franchisees and consistent business and profits growth. Oh, and he’s only 28 years old...
Special thanks must go to Nina Moran-Watson of NMW Legal/Franchise Consultancy and John Chambers of Ashton KCJ for the dedication, patience and knowledge they offered as our guest judges for this year’s awards. Joining regulars Brian, Cathryn and Sean is no easy feat and we’re hugely grateful for their time and expertise in helping make some tough choices.
The always exciting, nerve-wracking and fun awards are now wrapped up for another year. Where 2012 was the year of Autosmart, who scooped both Franchisor and Franchisee top prizes, 2013 is very much the year of the care sector after Home Instead’s summer victory.
Who will be dominating this time next year? We look forward to finding out...