Name: Ed Reid
Position: Managing Director
Franchise: The Alternative Board (TAB) UK
My role immediately before TAB (where I started as a franchisee before I became the franchisor) was Sales & Marketing Director for an SME printing business. I’d done this for 18 months having left the corporate world (I’d worked for Nestle and Diageo for about 10 years in sales, marketing and strategy roles, including running a team of circa 300 in sales).
My work/life balance at the printing business, who were great, was completely out of kilter; my kids were young, and I was never at home (at useful times!), so something had to change.
Yes – we set up in the UK as the first international Master Franchisee for TAB International (who had been operating in just North America since 1990)
I personally was the 3rd UK franchisee, joining only a few months after the initial pilot franchisee, so in effect, I was one of the pilots. This was in 2009, and we look back on those days very fondly; depending on how you want to frame it, we were either pioneering, or flying by the seat of our pants! We’ve learnt masses in the decade since, and those lessons are now distilled into helping new franchisees have the best possible businesses.
Yes, there were about 5 of us who all started within the first 6 months.
TAB was already a massively successful franchise in North America, so it was the obvious business format for its international expansion.
We knew that our clients (owners and MDs of SMEs) would value the fact we (our franchisees) were also business owners. We wanted to grow through shared risk and reward.
I bought the business (along with my business partner, Mags Fuller) from having been a TAB franchisee, so it was a fully operating business already. We raised the funds through traditional bank loans.
11 years in the UK, 30 years internationally
Finding great new franchisees who share our values, our work ethic, our culture. Launching the UK business in a recession. Weathering the storm of COVID-19 (we’ve actually grown our client numbers since March 2020).
We change the lives of our clients (business owners) for the better, helping them run better businesses, with more control, and better work/life balances. It’s unbelievably fulfilling to help them on their journey, and we’ve no helped 1000’s of business owners do this.
There is some very intensive initial training; starting with 7 webinars, followed by 5 days of classroom training (currently virtual), in field training (9 days), and then a follow-up 3 days of classroom training. We then run quarterly 2-day “advanced training” for all franchisees. In addition, every franchisee meets with circa 6 other franchisees every month, in a meeting facilitated by the franchisor. At every meeting, each franchisee gets help with their most pressing issue/opportunity at that point.
Know that it’s hard work, particularly the first year, just like setting up any business. But you’re doing it surrounded by a (hopefully!) incredibly supportive community, using processes that have been honed over years by everyone before you. If you get the right franchise for you, it should be incredibly fulfilling (on all levels). You get out of it what you put in.
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.
Paul Winterbottom has been a franchise owner with The Alternative Board since April 2014.
Julian Smith became The Alternative Board’s franchise owner in the Derby region in March 2010.
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
My training totally prepared me for starting my TAB business – and it was great fun!Dougie Brown
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
A community of 50+ high calibre business professionals who genuinely care about each other’s success
Six-figure revenue from just 10 working days/month
Make a positive difference to the lives and businesses of SME owners