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The Alternative Board Franchise Case Study
The Alternative Board is the world’s largest peer-to-peer support and business advisory franchise. They have more than 27 years’ experience in the SME sector and their worldwide network of over 300 franchise owners are supported by a team of experts in all essential business disciplines.
Franchise Information
  • BFA Membership StatusFull
  • UK Years Established10 years
  • Current UK Coverage33%
  • Franchisee Support Staff8
  • Personal Investment Req.£20,000
  • Total Startup Cost£64,500
  • Business to business servicesYes
  • Franchisee operates individuallyYes
Next Steps

Career Change with The Alternative Board

Julian Smith was a Managing Director at the age of 29. Having worked his way through the management ranks at the Coats Viyella Group, he was clearly having a very successful career. His particular skills being in sales and marketing, brand development and strategic planning.

The Alternative Board | Julian Smith10 years ago, Julian decided he needed a career change, and moved to work with SME businesses across a number of industries, successfully developing sales teams and winning strategies for business development.

He has an eye on the ‘big picture’. He has lead and managed business units of multi-discipline teams with up to £80m turnover and 2,000 employees, as well as small teams in a number of SMEs.

In 2010 Julian came across The Alternative Board and liked what he saw.

"I totally got the concept of The Alternative Board and could see how invaluable it could be for some of the SME businesses I was working for.  I knew the experience and knowledge I had gained over my career was a good match and loved the idea of working for myself."

Business Success So Far

Julian became The Alternative Board’s franchise owner in the Derby region in March 2010. He has since developed four Boards in Derby with members from a broad cross section of industries including retail, marketing, manufacturing, accountancy, and training companies. He has worked with in excess of 130 companies locally.

His passion for people and desire to help them improve their personal and business lives has helped Julian be successful. He genuinely believes that The Alternative Board provides a unique, dynamic and challenging environment to ensure a business can fulfil its potential and deliver the rewards that the owner deserves.


The Alternative Board pride themselves in the level of support they provide franchise owners. This starts with detailed initial training and support in the field, and continues during the lifetime of your The Alternative Board business.
"The UK team were very impressive and the prospect of the support they would provide was compelling. When presented The Alternative Board proposition and concept, aligned with the core values, the head office team and the international profile, I was sold on The Alternative Board."

The UK Head office are fantastic and always challenging themselves to improve and provide more to their franchise owners."

Not only that, but Julian describes his fellow franchise owners as "Supportive, inspiring, helpful, collaborative, always available. I would not have had the success I have without people in the community."

The Future

The future looks exciting for Julian as he brings in his first facilitator, Jimi Ball, to help him grow the Derby territory. Julian considers it a privilege to be able to work with the local business owners so to be able to help more of them with Jimi’s help is a great motivation for him.
"Having a positive influence on people’s lives and seeing them make progress towards achieving their personal vision give me enormous satisfaction."

Advice for Those Investing In The Alternative Board

The autonomy that Julian felt, compared to his corporate life, was liberating for him. Doing something for himself and working with local business owners gave him a real sense of purpose, and the flexibility that he desired.

"Be very realistic about the growth potential in your business and the short to medium goals you set. If you do not believe you can engage with people and convert them to membership by following the The Alternative Board sales process, then The Alternative Board is not for you. You have to be prepared to empathise, dig deep and ask the tough questions."

The Alternative Board is the world’s largest peer-to-peer support and business advisory franchise. Franchise owners run dynamic, membership only board meetings to facilitate peer-to-peer support and offer one-to-one coaching for business owners. The Alternative Board empower business owners to achieve more - more profitability, productivity and personal fulfilment! They have more than 27 years’ experience in the SME sector and their worldwide network of over 300 franchise owners are supported by a team of experts in all essential business disciplines. They are proud to be a member of the British Franchise Association, promoting ethical franchising.

Find out how you can start your own The Alternative Board franchise by clicking below

Ed joined TAB as a pilot franchisee and is now the Managing DirectorEd joined TAB as a pilot franchisee and is now the Managing Director

Hear from Managing Director Ed Reid as he talks about the TAB franchise and his experiences as one of the pilot franchisees in 2009.

David Abbott, The Alternative Board  (TAB)  Franchisee - Thames Valley WestDavid Abbott, The Alternative Board (TAB) Franchisee - Thames Valley West

After selling his own business David didn’t want to start from scratch again and was keen to develop something within a tried and tested framework.

Voluntary Redundancy Called for a ChangeVoluntary Redundancy Called for a Change

Paul Winterbottom has been a franchise owner with The Alternative Board since April 2014.

What Our Franchisees Say

I’d hankered after my own business for years. The TAB opportunity gives me real independence, the chance to collaborate with great people and I’m in control of my own destiny.Dave McCartney

I genuinely don’t think I’d have had the success I have and built my TAB business to where it is without the support of all my TAB colleagues.Julian Smith

My training totally prepared me for starting my TAB business – and it was great fun!Dougie Brown

Why Choose Us

Six-figure revenue from just 10 working days/month

Make a positive difference to the lives and businesses of SME owners

A community of 50+ high calibre business professionals who genuinely care about each other’s success

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