Mike Clare on franchising Dreams [Video]

Mike Clare talks about his first franchising ventures

Mike Clare says that his first foray into franchising “came about in a very roundabout way,” from a plumbers merchant who wanted to sell up. He approached him to ask if he wanted to buy his store, to which Clare replied, “No not really.”

The man said that his store would make a really good bed shop. Although at first unsure, Clare eventually decided on an agreement and said: “I’ll show you how to sell beds, and which suppliers to use and all like that if you give me a cut.”

The entrepreneur admits that he “didn’t even know the word franchise,” but the arrangement was essentially “our first franchise.” Ultimately he discovered this was a much quicker method of expansion than opening new stores himself, and opened subsequent franchises in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Worcester.

However, Clare didn’t just let anyone open a Dreams store: his next franchisee was an old boss “who wanted to start his own business, so I said well why don’t you be franchise of ours,” and likewise his brother in law on the Isle of White. By retaining a sense of control over the sort of person you allow to run a franchise, you ensure that person shares the same values and business ethics as you, so as not to tarnish your brands reputation.

In this way he could “leave it to someone in local areas” and feel comfortable that they’d “be the right sort of person, the right sort of time in the right sort of area.”

Clare says they’d aim to get the same amount of commission from the franchises as “our net profit we’d get from our store”

“In the end” he concludes, “it’s as long as it is short whether you’re running it yourself or you’re letting the franchise side run it.”

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