The Alternative Board: The franchise opportunity

Perfect for those with management or business consultancy experience - find out if the world's largest peer-to-peer support franchise is right for you

Franchise: The Alternative Board (TAB)
Description: The world’s largest peer-to-peer support and business advisory franchise
Started in: 1990
Founder: Allen E Fishman
No. of franchises: Over 250
Coverage: International; 11 countries
Average cost per franchise: £47,750 inc. training
Website: the-alternative-board

TAB founder and chairman Allen Fishman launched TAB in 1990 in Missouri, USA. He found that his board of directors was invaluable to him throughout his career but questioned the advice available to the small business owner.Where do they go for advice? This question led Fishman to launch TAB’s first business advisory board in 1990.

TAB started as one business advisory board and grew from there. TAB now operates business advisory boards in over 11 countries around the world and continues to expand. TAB has helped over 15,000 business owners improve their businesses and their lives.

Moving into franchising

So how did you move into franchising?

The Alternative Board (TAB) is a franchise and has been since its inception in the US in 1990. It has grown its international network through franchising and is operated as a master franchise in the UK based from Harrogate in North Yorkshire. It has traded in the UK since 2009 and has over 30 franchise partners in with the potential to have in excess of 75.

The UK business is operated by two principals who have a wealth of business experience and in many ways represent typical franchisees; individuals looking to do something different and do it for themselves. They are focused on supporting their franchisees and the members of their franchisees.

Where did the business open its first franchises?

In the US.

How successful were those original franchisees?

This is what some of our TAB franchisees say:

  • “Working in my home town/city allows me to contribute to my community and allows me to sleep in my own bed every night!”
  • “Since starting my TAB business I have not missed any of my son’s sports days….that was not the case when I was in the corporate world.”
  • “My TAB business provides a consistent predictable income stream and has given me a client base to develop my consultancy services.”

The franchise opportunity

What makes the franchise different/unique?

There is no other franchise system quite like TAB and its the world’s largest peer-to-peer support and business advisory franchise. TAB franchisees run an interesting and rewarding business which gives them control over when they work and when they play.

In the early days of launching a TAB business, you will be identifying potential board members, speaking to them about their businesses and inviting them to join your business owner community. You will be running peer board meetings for your new members, holding one-to-one coaching sessions with them, and helping them use TAB’s unique and exclusive business tools.

When you have reached the number of members you want to work with to give you the income you want, you will continue to deliver the service to your members. You will prepare and facilitate monthly meetings, have a deep interaction with your members, will develop relationships and will build your business in the local community.  You will be discussing membership with potential new members – because not everyone you recruit will stay forever! And you might want to start building bigger or more sophisticated boards.

How big is the market opportunity?

The market potential is sufficient for each TAB franchisee to generate significant six figure incomes and the TAB business model allows you flexibility to build the business you want. Many TAB franchisees – and there are 30 in the UK today – have built large businesses with substantial capital value while others are sole practitioners running their own successful TAB business alongside their consultancy/advisory specialism. The minimum expectation is that each franchisee will build a business that generates in excess of £100,000 income per annum.

How many franchisees do you  have today?

30.

How is the brand marketed?

The brand is marketed on a local level with support from the UK head office. The local business and specifically the small and medium enterprise market is the focus of the marketing campaigns to attract interest. With 25 years of targeting business owners and company directors, TAB helps franchisees get their business up and running with a strong marketing programme.

How do you divide the regions?

When you are awarded a TAB franchise you will be granted an exclusive territory based upon postal codes. Each region will be awarded with similar market potential.

What services do you offer?

TAB is a membership organisation for CEO’s, presidents, and business owners, who meet once a month to discuss ways of improving their businesses. Each group is made up of no more than 12 members whose businesses are not in competition with one another. Members turn to other members and their facilitator for advice on different aspects of their business, such as improving sales and performance.

TAB facilitators (franchisees) typically have 10 or more years’ senior level management or consulting experience. Some franchisees use TAB to complement an existing consulting practice.

You’ll also be expanding your knowledge and confidence by being with TAB colleagues at quarterly advanced training sessions. You will have the opportunity to hone your skills by spending time with your franchise owner community at the monthly peer boards and bi-annual international conferences.

The perfect franchisee

What do you look for in potential franchisees?

The TAB network of high-calibre professionals are respected leaders in their own business communities with a passion for sharing their knowledge and experience in order to help others succeed. There’s no right or wrong background to come from, there’s no golden qualification or former position held that will make you a great success as a TAB franchisee. The only thing guaranteed to ensure your success is you.

As with any business, what you get out depends on what you put in. The most successful TAB franchisees are:

  • Self-motivated with the drive to succeed
  • Compelling communicators
  • Passionate about helping fellow business owners
  • Keen to enjoy prominence and prestige in their community
  • Committed to achieving personal and professional growth through tenacity and hard work

Ideal TAB candidates are transitioning executives, experienced consultants and former business owners, with a minimum of six years’ business experience in a senior-level role – either in a corporate environment or as a consultant to business executives.

So do franchisees work from an office, or are they home-based? Is it part-time or full-time?

The answer is both depending on the type of business a TAB franchisee wants to build.

How are franchisees vetted?

Potential TAB franchisees are taken through a process of evaluation to determine that this is the right business model for them as this is a significant life decision. As a member of the bfa, TAB is an ethical franchisor and invests significantly in training and developing its franchise network.

How much do franchisees pay and what are the ongoing franchise fees?

It costs £47,750 which is made up of a £35,000 franchise fee and a £12,750 training fee. Support is available to finance the franchise through the main UK banks who are supportive of the TAB system. TAB also has a contract option for corporate contract facilitators with an option to upgrade to a franchise at a later date and this costs just £17,750 including training.

Ongoing fees are 20% of net fee income with a further 2% contribution to their marketing development fund

Success and growth

How successful are some of the franchisees today?

Feedback we get from TAB franchisees, includes:

  • “We get great emotional rewards from helping business leaders achieve personal and business success”
  • “We generate very attractive income levels whilst building a business with a capital value doing work we love”

How is the brand looking to grow?

Having established a very strong presence throughout the UK, we are looking forward to strong growth over the coming years by attracting capable and motivated new franchise owners to join our collaborative and supportive community.

What is the potential of the business?

Our growth is driven by successful franchisees building their own businesses with our proven model. Our long established franchisees are generating substantial levels of profit, doing worthwhile and enjoyable work.

If freedom of action, financial rewards from business ownership and feeling part of a community of like minded franchisees is important to you, you should take a close look at TAB.

What will the challenges be in achieving that?

TAB’s business model is proven but, like any other business, the start-up phase requires hard work, determination and tenacity. If you are willing to deliver your end of the deal you can look forward to getting great support from our head office team and your fellow franchisees.

What awards has the business won?

Our annual independent survey  of our franchisees is the key measure of our success.

To what extent are the founders involved today?

Fishman remains the executive chairman to this day and is supported by TAB CEO Jason Zickerman

Finally, is the company a British Franchise Association (BFA) member?   

Yes.

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