ActionCOACH: The franchise opportunity

Startups speaks to UK franchise director Ian Christelow about ActionCOACH’s growing franchise success

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Franchise: ActionCOACH
Description: Established in 1993, ActionCOACH is the global number one business coaching franchise, specialising in the provision of business coaching for business owners
Started in: 1993
Founder: Bradley Sugars
No. of franchises: 1,000
Coverage: Global
Average cost per franchise: Franchise fees vary from £21,000 to £61,000

Originally launched in 1993 in Brisbane, Australia, ActionCOACH is now a global, fast growth brand.

Since launching in the UK, the business coaching franchise has grown to over 150 franchise partners in the UK and Ireland with over 1,000 clients, from private individuals to large organisations like NatWest.

Priding themselves on the way their coaches make a difference within local communities, and to larger scale businesses, the franchise opportunity is also extremely profitable. ActionCOACH operates in a fast growing profession with some franchise partners achieving revenues of £40,000 per month and net operating profits of 70%.

With ambitious plans to become a household UK brand name – Startups talks to ActionCOACH UK cofounder Ian Christelow about the franchise model, the attributes of an ideal franchise partner and the team’s plans for the future.

The franchise opportunity

So how did ActionCOACH move into franchising?

Our first franchise was in Brisbane, Australia.

What makes the franchise different/unique?

The best part of ActionCOACH is how much of a meaningful difference our franchise partners get to make to businesses in their local community, and of course the impact that has on people in those businesses and their families. I regularly get to hear clients say, “You’ve got to meet my coach, I love my coach” that just doesn’t happen with other professions.

Then there’s how much you learn and the team around you. The satisfaction of knowing what it’s worth to a new franchise owner to have 1,000 of the best business coaches around the world at their disposal, who all love helping people.

Of course, it’s got to stack up financially too and I haven’t seen another business opportunity that offers the level of guaranteed returns that ActionCOACH does.

If you meet our requirements, a guaranteed income of £8,333 per month by month seven; ask us about Ts & Cs.

What services do you offer?

Our franchise partners provide a full range of business coaching and training support to business owners and their teams.

How big is the market opportunity?

Huge! Approximately 1.5 million business owners for our flagship one-to-one mentoring programmes and 1.5 million for our group coaching ActionCLUB product.

How many franchisees does ActionCOACH have today?

ActionCOACH currently has a team of over 150 business coaches in the UK.

How is the brand marketed?

Our largest source of business is through recommendation and referral. ActionCOACH is endorsed by a vast variety of organisations from individual clients through to the likes of NatWest.

How do you divide the regions?

Our franchise partners have wide geographic territories of approximately 5 million population, within each territory they leverage throughout their team by sharing marketing and working together.

The perfect franchisee

What does ActionCOACH look for in potential franchisees?

Our franchise partners have a variety of backgrounds from beekeepers to military officers, but all share the same traits and attitudinal qualities:

  • They get a kick out of helping people
  • They love learning new things
  • They have a track record of success and a passion for winning
  • They’re enjoyable company – great listeners and able to get their points across in anengaging way
  • They’re leaders and team players

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

Franchise partners can start working from home and do not require office premises; as their business grows this may be desirable. The business requires a commitment of three working days per week to make the returns attractive.

How are franchisees vetted?

After completing an application form and an initial telephone interview with the managing director, suitable applicants are invited to attend a franchise discovery day at our support centre in Bury St. Edmunds, during which time we assess each other to see if we are a suitable match.

Then there’s a period of due diligence where prospective franchise partners get to meet existing franchise partners and we take up references.

What do you offer franchisees that sign-up?

Franchise partners receive a comprehensive package that includes:

  • A territory licence and the rights to use the systems, market and deliver the products
  • Initial 10 days training course with follow up training in the first six months
  • Access to exclusive ActionCOACH client generation centre so they can focus more on the fun, fee earning stuff!
  • £4,500 marketing campaign and ongoing coaching, marketing and selling training and assistance
  • Weekly group coaching
  • One-to-one mentoring and initial orientation
  • Quarterly team meetings in your area
  • Online support from over 3,000 ActionCOACH members
  • Ongoing business development support
  • Quarterly conferences

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

There are three entry levels:

  1. ActionPRIMARY: £27,000. You get access to all the ActionCOACH business coaching and training products and award-winning support. Opportunity to upgrade to ActionPRACTICE.
  2. ActionPRACTICE: £39,000. Gets you a lower monthly royalty and the new bolt-on business opportunities below. Ability to upgrade to: ActionPREMIUM.
  3. ActionPREMIUM: £59,000. Comes with the added bonuses of an even lower monthly royalty and the right to employ two additional fee-earning coaches.

Three new bolt-on business opportunities are LAO available at massively discounted rates for Practice and Premium franchise partners as they grow their business:

  1. ProfitPlus. Providing clients with essential business valuation, business planning, cash flow analysis, profitability analysis and financial monitoring services.
  2. Luv4 Marketing. Delivering online services, including search engine optimisation, pay per click, social media and reputation management to help businesses grow.
  3. Corporate Business Coaching. Brad Sugars, the world’s number one business coach, has teamed up with Monte Wyatt, ActionCOACH’s top ranked executive coach, to help mid-sized companies grow their businesses. Two of the most influential business thinkers in the world will co-author their next book and are scheduled to release a full suite of tools to tackle this massive market in the next few weeks.

How do franchisees finance the purchase – what arrangements does ActionCOACH have in place with banks?

We have excellent relationships with NatWest/RBS, Metro and Lloyds Banks who will all typically lend up to 70% of the total investment.

Success and growth

How successful are some of the franchisees today?

Our most successful franchise partners see gross revenues in excess of £0.5m per annum in what is a low overhead, low or no stock business and zero debtors business (ActionCOACH clients pay up front for the services).

How is the brand looking to grow?

We are looking to grow by around 30 new franchise partners in the UK per year. Now that our franchise partners have the ability to recruit their own employee Action business coaches, we are set for the fastest growth period in our history. Referrals, seminar tours and strategic alliances are driving that growth, coupled with the attractiveness of the business opportunity.

What is the potential of the business?

600 Action business coaches working with 6,000 clients represents just 1% market penetration. The potential is more like 5,000 Action coaches and 50,000 clients meaning the brand could be a household name. When you consider the additional revenues, profits and job opportunities ActionCOACH clients generate, the end game is huge for the UK economy.

What will the challenges be in achieving that?

The challenge is finding the right franchise partners with the passion and skill sets to grow their businesses and provide the highest standard service to their clients.

What awards has the business won?

  • 2013 British Franchise Association Special Judges Award for UK Franchisee of The Year
  • CompareTheFinancialMarkets’ Best UK Business Opportunity
  • In 2013, ActionCOACH became the first recipient of Smith & Henderson’s prestigious Five Star Franchisee Satisfaction Status and also achieved this in 2014, 2015, 2016, and again in 2017 – becoming one of only four franchises to achieve 5-Star Franchisee Satisfaction Status five times, in five years.
  • For three years between 2014 and 2016, the UK’s Best Franchise Conference sponsored by RBS handed out an award for The Best Mid-Priced Franchise… there has only been one winner… ActionCOACH.

To what extent are the founders involved today?

Brad Sugars writes articles, publishes books, drives new product innovation and speaks at the annual Business Excellence Forum. He still gets involved with the training and induction of new franchise partners and attends annual European and global conferences for our franchise partners.

These days he’s more involved than ever, dedicating three weeks a year to a public speaking tour of the UK and running webinars to enthuse business owners to become clients and inspire the right people looking for a new challenge to join Action’s winning team of business coaches.

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