As the start of 2023 begins, many businesses are reflecting on their progress over the last 12 months and planning for the year ahead. The first full year of recovery from the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns, 2022 can be summarised as a year of uncertainty, opportunity, and resilience.
Having optimised its business and expanded its franchise model, leading Worcestershire business support provider, BizSmart® and its team have seen a successful year supporting its clients and rapidly gaining industry recognition.
Here Kevin Brent, Founder of BizSmart reflects on the last year and shares insight into achievements, progression and focus for 2023:
How have the last 12 months been for BizSmart?
‘2022 has been a significant year for BizSmart and our clients.
‘It has marked our 10th year in business, the continued growth of our franchise model, and the launch of my book, The Entrepreneurial Scale Up System [ESUS].
‘We’ve seen some interesting things going on with our clients, through recognising and capitalising on the opportunities created during times of change. One area of increasing focus has been on acquisitions, mergers and sales/exits which created some great results for clients who achieved their goal of a successful exit.
‘We have worked incredibly hard over the last 12 months to establish the business and cement the BizSmart® name as a credible business support provider and franchise model, with the goal of achieving real results on behalf of our clients. As such, we were fortunate to have been finalists for and winners of several awards, have received promising feedback from industry stakeholders and business peers alike and are delighted with the brand recognition gained throughout the year.’
What have been some of the best highlights of the year?
‘In October, we exhibited at the National Franchise Exhibition with support from BizSmart® ambassador and BBC Apprentice Winner, Mark Wright. The show was a great experience, enabling us to share insight into both our franchise model and lessons taught throughout The Entrepreneurial Scale Up System, resulting in a host of potential and interested franchisees.
‘Furthermore, in late October, we announced the launch of our second franchise, BizSmart® Birmingham and Solihull, following the success of our first Franchise, BizSmart® Gloucestershire, in 2021. We are delighted to see the expansion of our franchise model, driving our mission to deliver impactful business support across the UK.’
‘We were re-endorsed for a second consecutive year by the ScaleUp Institute, following the findings of our impact results for our clients, which consisted of research that surveyed business leaders participating in our dedicated ‘Flight Academy’ programme. The research revealed that despite the challenging climate, participants had increased profits on average by 19% compared with the year before. We are pleased with the results and believe this provides us with an excellent benchmark to build on, as we continue to help business leaders escape the owner-manager trap and drive scalable and profitable growth.
‘Finally, in December 2022, we were rewarded and recognised by two prominent organisations, this included a shortlisting for the Quality Franchising Association’s, Virtual Franchising Awards, for their ‘New Franchise of the Year Award’ and selected and awarded two business awards at the International Brilliance Awards: ‘Business Leader of the Year’ and ‘Business of the Year’.
‘It’s been amazing to receive acknowledgement on behalf of our services for clients and their achievements. Furthermore, to walk away with a double win and this latest shortlisting announcement was the perfect way to end a fantastic year!’
How has your franchise model performed in comparison to its forecast, over the last year?
‘The BizSmart® franchise model has been developing well and it’s great to see it off the ground and expanding. We are so pleased to have celebrated BizSmart Gloucestershire’s first year of business and secured the launch of our second franchise BizSmart Birmingham and Solihull.
The franchise model has enabled us to strengthen our support throughout the west midlands area and through our interactions and growing recognition in the franchise industry, we have received many new lines of enquiry and have built a firm foundation to scale our operations which adheres to our plan to expand to a further three franchises, before the end of our financial year in March 2023.
You released a book earlier this year titled The Entrepreneurial ScaleUp System [ESUS], can you tell us more about its success?
‘Over the past year, we have seen some growing interest in ESUS, which included signing copies at the National Franchise Exhibition, discussions in book clubs and I have participated in many podcast appearances and interviews to highlight key insights.
The podcasts have been a major development over the past six months, featuring BizSmart and ESUS on several platforms including The British Business Podcast with Michael Thorpe, The Thoughtful Entrepreneur with Josh Elledge and the Leaders Council Podcast.
It’s been great to share ESUS with a wider audience and meet and work with the selection of influential, professional hosts.
‘I have also enjoyed talking with the great selection of guests on our podcast ScaleUp Radio and sharing their ScaleUp Journey experiences and lessons. We are increasing our focus on our podcast this year and we are always looking for business owners with between 5 and 50 employees, to share their ScaleUp experiences. This is one of the ways we share real-life approaches and best practices with the aim of helping other business owners facing similar challenges – A rising tide helps all boats!’
What is the business focus for the new year?
‘As we reflect on our achievements this year, we are determined to continue to build on our latest success.
‘We plan to continue to expand our franchise model and launch further franchises in the upcoming year. We will also continue to spread the message of ESUS and look to work with more business professionals in our mission to help leaders escape the owner-manager trap and achieve scale-up success.
‘Overall, 2022 has been a great year for BizSmart and I would like to thank my dedicated team for their hard work throughout the year. We are not blind to the current climate, and we understand that this year will be a tough year for most of us. However, we are optimistic and positive looking at the year ahead and will strive to continue to support our clients on their business journey in 2023.’
Kevin Brent, Founder of BizSmart®