Going for growth – A franchise growth case study

Gill Thomas started kids’ music classes Jo Jingles in 1995 and has since grown the company to the tune of £4 million, with nearly 100 franchise outlets.

Where did you get the idea?
I started it just to earn a bit of pocket money. I didn’t want to go back to my career, which involved a lot of international travel, as I’d had kids. But I soon realised this was a good business opportunity and decided that franchising would be the best way to expand without having a lot of resources.

How was it funded?
It was mainly through my own savings. My husband was also very supportive as it provided me with a more flexible working environment. When I launched the franchise model I took out a small overdraft in order to develop the promotional material.

How have you marketed it?
We went to British Franchise Association exhibitions and promoted it in national papers and parenting magazines. We were targeting mothers with kids who were ambitious enough to run their own company, but wanted a flexible working model.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
You have to be selective about who you take on as a franchisee. In the early days we were less experienced and the financial pressures were such that we were keen to just get people on board. Obviously we still wanted to attract the right people, but now our recruitment is much tighter.

Where next?
We’re launching a new franchise in Australia and also speaking to someone in China who is keen. International expansion is very much on the cards, in addition to opening more outlets in the UK.

See also: Types of franchise and franchise structures – Joel Bissitt of Franchise UK looks at some of the documents used to franchise a business and assesses the types of business that can operate as a franchise.

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