- Start Up Cost:
- Franchise Type:
- Sector Type:
- Investment Type:
- Home Based
- Business Services
SmartPA are the leading experts on outsourcing, PAs, business support & administration services. We offer our clients the most efficient, cost-effective ways to handle their business tasks and admin support.
Our accredited SmartPAs are of the highest standard and are matched with companies across all sectors.
Our SmartPAs are part of a global community and support each other, so all holiday, maternity and sickness cover are taken care of.
Our community spans the globe, with over 250 SmartPAs, 14 countries, 15 languages and 2500+ clients and our passion for supporting business growth has not changed since SmartPA was founded in 2008.
Unlike any other Franchise opportunity, SmartPA enables you to start making money from the get-go, by providing you with your first client, free of charge.
SmartPA’s expert Learning & Development Programme that will provide you with the knowledge and skills to run a successful SmartPA business.
Our bespoke online learning platform, the SmartPA Hub, giving you the flexibility to learn from home or while still in full-time employment.
Ongoing support which includes training, business coaching, IT, technology and sales and marketing support.
Our partners come from a variety of professional and educational backgrounds, each bringing a unique skill set, ensuring that SmartPA has the widest skill set on offer to business communities around the world. On a day to day, a SmartPA can support multiple clients on a variety of projects – from bookkeeping to travel management, social media to project management, no two days are the same.
Previous PA experience is not essential, but a positive attitude is! We are looking for individuals with drive, dedication, passion and an eagerness to learn.
I was absolutely thrilled to be accepted as a SmartPA franchisee. SmartPA has given me the best of both worlds, I have a business that is my own but with the benefit of a bonus client to allow my business to get a head start. There is also the option of paid work also which made a huge difference to me when making the decision to leave my job.
I found the SmartPA Accreditation Programme challenging as I was undertaking it whilst holding down a full time job. But the team were fantastic, very understanding of how difficult it was trying to do both and let me complete it at my own pace.
It is great knowing that there is always someone there at the end of a phone or email. It is good having a Franchise Support Team so that you have a single point of contact.
Almost immediately I was offered franchisee support work for a client in Brussels which is an opportunity I would never have had before. This was a really good first client for me as I had contact with the franchisee who manages the account so she was able to guide me through my first onboarding process.
I would say that my biggest achievement is overcoming my nerves and going to sell SmartPA at networking events. I never dreamt I could stand up and speak in front of a room full of 30 people but now I do this on a weekly basis and my confidence is growing.
It’s great to be able to work for yourself but the fact that SmartPA support you in setting up your business and getting started makes it less daunting to make the leap.
The main reason I decided to invest was the back-up support that can be gained from other franchisees so that my clients are never without support, should I be on holiday or unable to work through sickness. SmartPA is also the market leader in this area.
I have met a few “virtual assistants” whilst networking, and what strikes me most about SmartPA is the professional image and the preparation you have behind you before you start networking. The brand is maintained by all franchisees going through the same accreditation process and I would feel confident in handing over work to other franchisees and expecting the same kind of professional, expert approach to be taken as I pride myself that I have.
The support throughout accreditation was great and Head Office did everything they could to help me go through the programme at breakneck speed – without any dip in quality. Post launch I have found Head Office very supportive and have always been available for any problems I have had.
I had been looking for a role in administration however as I had been ill for a number of months and my most recent work was as a self-employed dog walker I was not certain I would find work easily.
When I saw the SmartPA franchise and spoke to Head Office and to a couple of the franchisees I felt it would be a good fit for me.
The additional support and training available from SmartPA Head Office and the provision of a bonus client and head office support work on offer made the franchise a very sound investment. The support provided in finding finance to fund the franchise fee was also very useful.
I found the SmartPA Accreditation Programme to be of an exceptionally high standard. The modules and assignments take you on a journey of learning, not only about the SmartPA brand and ethos, but also to ensure you have the skills and experience you need to support your clients and run your own business. The module containing the case study work was especially helpful, putting you into the shoes of a SmartPA and providing the opportunity to research a number of topics which are very useful in your own business set up. The modules on sales and pricing are also very beneficial in exploring ways to engage with potential clients and identify their needs.
My biggest achievement to date has been joining the local BNI networking group. This was a big step for me as networking is not an area where I am comfortable. Having heard positive feedback on BNI from both the SmartPA franchisees I spoke to during my initial discussions, and getting very helpful support from Head Office in how to approach my business networking, I am very glad that I attended that first meeting. The group were extremely welcoming and I have already signed up two clients with the potential for more next year. The group also provides a vast amount of business experience and many different sectors are represented.
The advice I would give someone considering SmartPA is to keep positive. There will be days when things do not go to plan, especially in the beginning as you are getting to grips with running your own business, providing a high level of support to clients and looking to find new clients. You need to trust in your abilities and know that the SmartPA Accreditation Programme and the Head Office support is there to help you start and build your business to wherever you want it to be.
Before becoming a SmartPA franchisee, I’d had a successful career in the marcomms industry with a comfortable salary increasing year on year. But the hours were long and the work was stressful. As a new mum to a young toddler, finding a better work-life balance without sacrificing financial independence or contribution to the family income became the driving force behind my decision to invest in SmartPA.
It was essential therefore that flexibility and scalability were are the core of my business model when I launched in March 2016. I wanted to work 3-4 days per week and was initially concerned that this would restrict the opportunities for support that I could offer clients and hinder the potential growth of my business. It felt like flexibility and scalability were incompatible, like I could have one or the other, not both.
But then after a couple of post-launch ‘check-in’ sessions with Head Office, something clicked and my mindset changed. SmartPA is a partnership. It seems obvious now looking back; the words had been there all along but their full meaning and relevance just hadn’t registered. I realised that to fully maximise the potential of my business, I had to harness the features that the partnership had to offer in order to reap the benefits.
The SmartPA partnership enables me to offer full time admin support and an extensive portfolio of skills, services and expertise to business owners, regardless of the actual hours that I choose to work each month or the skills and knowledge that I personally bring to the table. Today, everybody I meet is a business opportunity. It’s empowering to know that I never have to say ‘no, sorry…’
When I don’t have the capacity or skillset to deliver support, I call upon the support from our network of amazing franchisees. The Head Office team are always super helpful and efficient, even when my requests for support are at short notice (which unfortunately for them is often). The right support has always been made available on time which means happy clients and continued business growth.
Initially, I only used the partner support on an adhoc basis around my part-time hours. However, the service really demonstrated its value to my business recently when I took five-days leave to move house. Using a combination of re-scheduling work around my leave and employing franchisee support to deliver essential daily support tasks and any urgent requests, I was able to focus on the house move, settle my daughter into a new nursery and be without internet for a few days, confident that my clients were being looked after and my business wasn’t at risk. In fact, I even landed a new client the day before the move and with the help of the client support team, had a franchisee lined up to conduct an on-boarding session and deliver an urgent support task for the client without delay in my absence.
Future development plans for my business include continued growth of my SME client portfolio and hopefully a move into the SmartPA Corporate World. I’m confident that with this business model of support I can successfully achieve both.
SmartPA has offered me the opportunity to invest in a professional, growing business. One of my reasons for choosing SmartPA is the flexibility in terms of working models, as well as the opportunity to work full-time or part-time from home. I have previously co-owned three SMEs and am aware of how much hard work goes into setting up a new business, creating a recognised brand and getting sales off the ground. I would say that SmartPA fast tracks the franchisee into year two of their business. You can talk to clients about real case studies and SmartPA’s track record from day one, which you can’t do with a normal start-up company. On top of this, the support given by the SmartPA’s Head Office in terms of social media / newsletters / website content as well as on-going information and training offers me the equivalent of a part time employee from day one at no additional expense. SmartPA offers me the opportunity to run my own business with the support of a head office team and other SmartPA franchisees, this is a benefit for me and for my clients. The fees are realistic and affordable to a wide range of people.
The accredition programme is very structured and thorough. The modules are relevant and interesting, it’s very useful to work on ‘real’ case studies - this gave me the opportunity to learn about new systems and technology - which has already been useful when talking to potential clients and networking. I was impressed with the programme, it requires a lot of investment from Head Office and it’s reassuring to know that all franchisees are ‘accredited’ and work to the same standard.
Support post accreditation has been great. For me personally, the Sales Masterclass was extremely useful, it allowed me to set myself realistic expectations and have a more structured approach to new business. I have had positive, prompt replies to my queries, no matter how small.
My bonus client has given me a real boost, it’s incredibly motivating to have a client to work with during the initial stages of running a business when most of your focus is networking, calling and new business meetings. It’s also great to have some income; managing a new client has given me a real sense of achievement.
If you’re thinking of investing in SmartPA, don’t be afraid of the ‘sales’ side, focus on building relationships. You need to believe in the business to make it work - SmartPA has a proven track record with many successful franchisees, so you can make a success of it too!