As I reached the end of my second year as founder of Simply Bows & Chair Covers I was feeling a little burnt out.

The business was growing at a rapid pace and I was extremely passionate about what I was doing, I still am, but the growth was too much for me to manage alone. I didn’t want to turn down the work, but equally I didn’t want to potentially compromise the quality I was delivering by being under pressure.

I didn’t want to expand my business in a way that would mean I’d be taking on larges overheads, which can come from expanding your business by simply taking on staff and extra office space, so I started to consider franchising.

I was excited at the prospect of growing my brand and working with new people, sharing my passion.

How does franchising work?

As a prospective franchisor, I learned that to successfully franchise my business I would grant franchisees the right to use my brand in the form of a licence, to carry out a replicated service which I established in the first two years of Simply Bows and Chair Covers.

In simple terms, I’m licensing the right for someone else to use my proven business model.

The franchisees then act as sole traders and are responsible for running their franchised business, paying a licence fee back to me, the franchisor.

What are the challenges you might face when franchising your business?

Although this seemed like the perfect way to grow my business, the lack of control and inviting in third parties was a major concern.

However, I developed an interview process which allows me to really get to know franchisees before I agree to take them on board. I then created an induction programme and operations manual which means my brand is replicated to the high standards I require.

All Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchisees are bound to an in-depth contract which is signed and agreed prior to them starting with us. They must sign confidentiality agreements and follow all systems and procedures to the letter.

That doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a few bumps along the way!

How to get started

So, I went back to the drawing board and wrote my second business plan and my franchise model.

I amended the current model to one which could be easily transferred and taken on by a franchisee. I then started small by hiring just one franchisee to take over an area near to Head Office, so I could be hands on for their training and mentor them directly ensuring the model worked and allowing me the opportunity to make any necessary amendments.

I’m thrilled to say, that the first franchise was a success and I’ve continued this approach establishing 10 offices across the UK.

How do you manage franchisees?

I wanted my franchisees to be invested in the business and feel that we were working together as a team.

I meet with all my franchisees annually to discuss best practice, to share successes and set the agenda for the year ahead.

Day-to-day I’m always on the phone and emailing the team to ensure they feel supported.

As part of the franchise package they get access to mentoring from me.

Thinking of becoming a franchisee or franchising your own business? Join my Facebook group Why I Can…! where I’ll be sharing the story of my franchises and their experience. Alternatively I offer a FREE Discovery Call and would be delighted to discuss your ideas with you.

Opportunity from adversity - how to grow and franchise your business

I have had the absolute pleasure of working with Sarah and I can quite honestly say she has made a huge impact on me both personally and professionally.
When I first started my coaching sessions I was feeling a little lost and struggling to make decisions.
Sarah took me through her ‘I Can’ method, which was quite an emotional journey but allowed me to re-focus and plan ahead. Sarah has taught me the importance of nurturing myself as well as my business. I now have a totally different mindset and my business is already benefitting.
Thank you Sarah for making me believe in myself again.

Debra Graham, Equishine Founder

I truly believe that I found Sarah just when I needed her. I was looking for somebody to help me out of the ‘rut’ that I found myself in, not knowing where I was going in life, having been made redundant due to the Covid pandemic. When I read Sarah’s story and the adversity that she had dealt with herself, I knew there was so much that I could relate to and Sarah was the person that I wanted to work with to help me. The I CAN method is very powerful, it makes you think about every aspect of your life, even the dark moments that you thought you had locked away forever. What I have learned from Sarah is that you need to address these moments for you to move forward, and that is exactly what Sarah helps you with. The four pillars of the I CAN method means that you have a full end to end methodology. Sarah is personable, an inspiration and is somebody who has been there, done it and got the t-shirt. Sarah will help you with your personal and business goals and is somebody who will make sure YOU live your best life; the life you truly deserve.

Emma Chalkley

I follow Sarahs business page on social media and when she released her new The I CAN method I jumped at the chance to use it. I love trying to better myself and set goals and this looked like it was going to help a lot- especially with everything changing so much in recent months. Needless to say it did not disappoint. It is very refreshing to put pen to paper and look at things in black and white in front of you. This method has personally helped me so much with my fitness levels by seeing what I CAN do by overcoming the issues I thought I had and by taking some action. I have now used the same method to help me concentrate on my business. By breaking everything down into smaller sections it really makes a huge difference. Thank you so much Sarah and I genuinely now cannot wait to see my future 6 months down the line!

Tracy Turner

"Sarah Pittendrigh was a fantastic addition to our speaking roster at our small business initiative event, #SBS Small Business Sunday 2019. Sharing her journey on building up her business, as well as how to franchise a business, her session proved invaluable for our small business attendees and the feedback has been excellent! Thank you Sarah."

Jess Littlewood - #SBS Small Business Sunday, Theo Paphitis Retail Group

"Sarah is everything a successful entrepreneur should be, creative, tenacious with a clear vision on how to develop her business. She never ceases to impress me with her energy, attention to detail and most importantly, is always comfortable leading from the front with her hands on management style..."

Nick Holmes - Former MD at Rockliffe Hall, Non Executive Director positions at Gisborough Hall, Swinton Estate and Ramside Hall

"Having set up my business when I was 23, Sarah's advice and experiences in the wedding industry were a vital part in the success of my Simply Bows and Chair Covers franchise. As a franchisor, Sarah has always been on the other end of the phone to help me with my dilemmas and pass on her experience and business advice..."

Joanne Smith - Simply Bows and Chair Covers Lancashire