Business Doctors was established in 2004 by business veterans Rod Davies and Matthew Levington who between them have led, developed and helped transform hundreds of companies across a spectrum of industries.
Since launching its franchise network in 2008, Business Doctors has rapidly become a fast-growing business support service across the UK. With more businesses across the country in need of support, Business Doctors Franchising is now looking for new franchisees to join this proven, award-winning network.
Franchising was decided to be the best way to deliver a quality, ’local’ service to businesses across the United Kingdom.
The Business Doctors franchise is steadily developing coverage nationwide. You are invited to both participate and benefit from this growing success story.
The UK’s consulting market is one of the largest in the world, having grown from a little-understood specialty service to a vital component of the modern economy, a boon to businesses large and small, and a booming growth sector that is enjoying staggering growth. View our franchise video here.
No consulting experience is needed to join the Business Doctors network as full training is provided. Training covers every aspect of the business including delivery, marketing and the customer management system. Once trained, franchisees benefit from ongoing support, and client acquisition support plus a suite of innovative, customer-focused business tools and processes. The results that await franchise business owners and their clients are great.
Business Doctors spend their time helping small and medium sized businesses with their individual challenges and aspirations for growth. Typically meetings will take place at clients premises and frequently involve discussions with key members of staff. Seeing clients businesses thrive as a result of hands-on support is extremely rewarding and worthwhile.
The year that Terry Houghton turned 50, he was made redundant from his role as operations director for a manufacturing company when it went into administration.
After three decades in large organisations a regional franchise was not a career choice he’d considered before, but since joining a franchise Terry hasn’t looked back. For the last four-and-a-half years he has been a successful Business Doctor franchisee for Merseyside, and is a mentor for others in the north-west.
“After 30 years in manufacturing, I applied for similar jobs and had a couple of interviews,” he explains. “I wasn’t able to find what I really wanted, so I gave up on that idea and looked at buying a business instead.”
As a mechanical engineer with decades of commercial experience, he felt motivated by the thought of running his own manufacturing business; disappointingly, the companies that he found for sale were not high on the sellability scale.
He said: “There were issues with these companies – mainly that they heavily reliant on the business owner, which meant that when they left, there was no business to sell. This kind of scenario isn’t peculiar to manufacturing; I’ve seen SMEs from all sectors make the same mistake. Businesses need proper structure.”
Not put off by the idea of running his own business, and now with an interest in coaching, Terry attended a franchise exhibition in Manchester. “I didn’t know anything about franchising at all at that point, and I hadn’t realised that you could coach businesses as a franchise.”
He spent several months on due diligence – trying to find a franchise offering that was a good fit for how he wanted to work, and which would support him. “I didn’t have the confidence to build my own brand, so the franchise route seemed a good idea.
“Even franchises in the same sector are all quite different. I wanted to enter a situation where I felt my expertise was valued, and not one where there was too much head office control.”
Business Doctors “ticked all the boxes” for Terry – and has continued to do so. “I’d never considered franchising before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but there have been no nasty surprises even though it was scary – not from the perspective of doing the work, but actually getting the work.”
On the other hand, what has delighted Terry was discovering how dynamic the small business world is compared to the corporate world. “In an SME people make decisions and act on them, rather than debating something for months. If I make a suggestion I get to see the results fairly quickly.”
In choosing the right franchise for him, Terry’s ability to use his experience to its best advantage for his clients has been unrestricted – and has got excellent results. This, and the support and camaraderie he has found at Business Doctors, gives him a high level of job satisfaction.
And fittingly, he enjoys using his influence to help companies add value to themselves from a sellability perspective, as well as through expansion.
Why did you choose franchising?
I had to do something…I was hitting 40, stuck in a daily 3-hour commute to work, with children pulling on my heart strings by reminding me how little we saw of each other. It was time for a change: either set up my own business by myself or buy into an established business model.
Franchising provides you with the benefit of a proven and tested business model, an established brand, but still gives me the freedom and motivation of running my own business.
What did you do before taking up a franchise?
Over 15 years’ experience at a senior level in a variety of corporate strategy, business planning and business development roles, primarily in the utilities sector.
How did you go about your due diligence and structure your research process?
Spent time really identifying what I wanted to do, what motivated me most and what would give me long-lasting fulfilment; then researched and spoke to a range of franchise businesses to compare what they could offer versus setting up on my own; attended franchise exhibitions; spoke to existing franchisees from different franchise operations to gain real insight and understanding of their experience.
What in particular attracted you to your franchisor’s business?
Three things above all else: strong and immediate rapport with the franchisor; a proven, established business model and brand; the strength of the franchisee network, and quality and range of experience in the Business Doctors network.
What training and support did/do you receive from your franchisor?
Up-front comprehensive training in the business model and sales process. Subsequent field-based support and launch support in the first few months. Ongoing support as and when I need to call on it. But all the time, with the feeling of running your own business. The support is there if you need it.
When did you start your franchise?
What challenges have you faced so far?
Mainly adjusting away from corporate life to running my own business and understanding and navigating through the bookkeeping and VAT returns that that entails!
How has becoming a franchisee impacted upon your life in general, outside the business sphere?
It has given me freedom and flexibility, an improved work/life balance and the motivation of being in control of my own destiny. You get out what you put in.
What advice might you give to someone considering buying a franchise?
Do your homework – research, speak to lots of different people, always speak to existing franchisees. The franchise business models are not universal – I was surprised at the extent to which the perceptions of the franchisor of the franchisor/franchisee relationship varied. Remember it is your business…
Please summarise your experience of franchising to date and your future goals.
I’ll never look back and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has allowed me to fulfil a dream of running my own business, drawing on my prior experience, to deliver a fulfilling service. The franchise model has allowed me to focus from day 1 on client engagement, service and delivery and has taken so much of the pain away in terms of administration and set up, with a comprehensive marketing, branding and support package up front.
It took Peter Fleming a whole year of careful planning to move from being an employee of a global company to being his own boss at Business Doctors Cumbria. As he’s still a relatively new franchisee, it’s easy for him to recall his prior expectations and review them from the perspective of his first busy months of franchising. His insight into his experiences reveal how his expectations have panned out.
“After 28 years I was ready for a new challenge,” he explains. “I had a good salary and package but I felt I had to make a choice between security and something more fulfilling. I was ready for a better work-life balance too – at the time I was travelling a lot and spending several nights a week away from home.”
Understanding what was unfulfilling about his corporate job led Peter to analyse his own needs. “I reviewed my skillset and what I enjoy,” he says, “with the idea that I’d set up my own business. In all, I spent about a year getting to know myself and exploring the market and industry trends.
“I started to realise there were franchises offering what I wanted to do. So I researched them too, and came across Business Doctors, which seemed to fit how I worked and wanted to work; having and using a strategy model.”
He came away from his first meeting with Matt Levington and Rod Davies, co-founders of Business Doctors, feeling impressed; but rather than jump straight in Peter continued his research. “It was a six-month due diligence process. If I was going to leave a secure job, I had to give my fresh start the best chance.
"It’s important to see a franchise in operation, so I attended franchisee events and asked ‘can I see myself doing this?’ The answer was yes.
“So I produced two business models, comparing how I would go it alone versus going with a franchise, and identified my strengths and weaknesses, highlighting what I needed to learn. I looked at the Business Doctors offering, the training and support available, proven results and how their business model would enable me to scale up my business. The strength of a brand is important to me too, as it would add weight to my own.”
At the time, on another level Peter’s instinct told him that his personality was a great fit with the Business Doctors culture and philosophy. In the six months since he became a franchisee, he’s come to understand that this aspect of ‘trusting your gut’ when choosing a franchise is as relevant as research.
“In hindsight, it was right to believe that if you’re working for yourself, you have to make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. The rewards are beyond financial. Now, I have total control. I’m working as many hours as I was in the corporate world, but I’m investing in my brand and my future. My biggest challenge will be slowing down – I’m choosing to work 60-70 hours a week, but on the other hand I’ve only spent four or five nights away from home in the last six months.
“And I was right to do the groundwork too, but I think I did too much. It’s a big step to take the plunge and step out of a secure job. But I thought, what’s the worst that could happen? I could lose a bit of money and time. It’s about knowing what you’re getting into, but go with your gut, don’t overdo the research.
“It’s going better than I expected. I won contracts early on and I’m continuing to build my private clients, plus there is the support from Business Doctors and the other franchisees. Yes, even mentors sometimes need mentoring!”
After being a director for a retail company for many years, Kevin Cook wanted a change of career but just like many people looking for a new direction in life, he wanted the freedom of working for himself.
Kevin researched his options and franchising seemed the best solution, as he would have the opportunity to enter into an already established brand with a proven, successful business model.
Having found a shortlist of three franchise brands and meeting with them, Kevin found the Business Doctors franchisors, Rod Davies and Matthew Levington, very informative and, most of all, approachable. The opportunity to join Business Doctors during its early stages of development was exactly what Kevin was looking for.
“I’ll never look back,” Kevin says. “It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made. It has allowed me to fulfill a dream of running my own business, drawing on my prior experience, to deliver a fulfilling service. It has given me freedom and flexibility, an improved work/life balance and the motivation of being in control of my own destiny. You get out what you put in!”
Kevin has now been a Business Doctors franchisee in Cheshire for two-and-a-half years and the biggest challenge he has found is adjusting to life being his own boss!
“I enjoy the freedom of working for myself, but the biggest challenge I have faced so far is mainly adjusting away from the corporate life to running my own business, understanding and navigating through the bookkeeping & VAT returns, and all that that entails!
“Despite these very minor challenges, after two-and-a-half years my franchise is now firmly established. Since day one, the franchise model has allowed me to focus on client engagement, service and delivery. It has taken so much of the pain away in terms of administration and set up, with a comprehensive marketing, branding and support package up front.
“I am looking forward to continued success as I expand it across my regional territory.”
When Kevin was asked what advice he would give anyone looking to invest into a franchise, he says: “Do something you love doing and success will usually follow. Do your homework – research, speak to lots of different people and always speak to existing franchisees.
“The franchise business models are not universal. I was surprised at the extent to which the perceptions of the franchisor of the franchisor/franchisee relationship varied. Remember it is your business!”