Franchise Expert Showcase
1. An introduction to you & your biz
I’m Gabi and I created Movers and Shakers in 2008. It’s a music and movement class for babies and toddlers and we’re based in North London.
2. What did you do before your biz
I have a performance background and trained as an actress after my degree. When I gave up acting I went to live in West Africa and taught English out there for a couple of years. When I returned to England I did a post-grad course at the Tavistock Clinic in Infant Observation and Child Development. All of these things (performance, teaching and an understanding of babies and young children) have come together and informed all my decisions when I created Movers and Shakers.
3. Tell us, what inspired you to start your biz
I took my first son to lots of groups when he was little: music, gym, dance – you name it! Some groups I went to once, and never returned. Others were great and were a regular event in our weekly diary, but I always had a niggly feeling that I might be able to do something even better. Movers and Shakers is actually my third attempt at this kind of group – it really isn’t as easy as you might think! But finally all the pieces came together and I hit on a winning formula.
4. Why did you decide to go down the franchise route?
Almost from the very beginning Movers and Shakers has been more successful then I ever imagined it would be. Within a few months of setting up, the demand was so high that I had to take on other teachers to run some of the classes because I couldn’t do them all myself and still spend the time I wanted with my children. That’s how it was running for a while, but about a year ago I realised that if we were ever to grow beyond my own neighbourhood, then franchising was the obvious next step.
5. What do you love about being a franchisor?
Becoming a franchisor has been amazing. First of all it was a fascinating intellectual exercise – working out exactly how to package up my business, and get everything that was in my brain down in black and white. We’ve created a really coherent Operations Manual that covers everything from setting up classes, finding venues, taking bookings, delivering energetic and fun classes, dealing with complaints, making sure everyone stays safe and happy and so on and so on. It’s also been great in terms of making my own territory absolutely perfect – we’ve got a brilliant new logo and website, and branded materials – so the company feels much more impressive. And now that we have our first franchisee and I can see how well she’s doing, and how happy she is – and making money too! – well, it makes me feel all warm inside!
6. What do you look for in your franchisees?
We’re looking for franchisees who are both brilliant class facilitators and canny business brains. As facilitators they need to have an outgoing, warm personality and be a confident singer. It’s really important that everyone who comes to Movers and Shakers classes feels welcomed into the group. Facilitators need to engage with babies and young children and their parents and always have a smile on their face. They also need to be able to stay calm and at ease.
As the owner of a business they need to think clearly and logically, be able to use a computer confidently to keep accounts, keep track of bookings and registers. They need to be able to respond effectively to email and telephone communications and generally be the front person of Movers and Shakers in their territory.
7. What would be your top tip of what you need to be mindful of as a franchisor
Make sure you have the time and energy to support your franchisees at the beginning when they’re learning the ropes, but then you need to be able to leave them alone and get on with things. Franchising is not about micro-managing! Like me, you may also need to get some advice at the beginning as there are so many things that I didn’t have a clue about when I first decided to franchise, and so I really needed guidance.
8. What would be your top tip to your franchisees when they set up their business?
Do plenty of research in your area. Find other similar groups or businesses and find out as much as you can about them. With Movers and Shakers I’d recommend that potential franchisees see what other groups are operating and where, and find out how much they charge. They could also have a look around to see what venues might be suitable for classes. It always impresses us when people who enquire about our franchise opportunities have done some research about our business and have thought about how they could replicate our success in their area.
You also need to do a really good business plan and think about how much time you have to put into running your franchise. The more hours you have to give it, the sooner you’ll be able to pay back any money you’ve borrowed to buy the franchise, and move into profit!
9. What franchisee opportunities do you currently offer?
Our franchisee package gives you the right to run Movers and Shakers classes in a given territory. It includes all the training you need to get going (business and creative training) and Operations Manuals. It includes all the equipment and materials to run classes (e.g. instruments, toys, puppets, parachute, ipod Dock and ipod with backing tracks), a page on our website, use of our online bookings system, a Movers and Shakers email address, branded stationary, publicity materials and a launch party! If you’re interested please have a browse around our website: movers-and-shakers.co.uk and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org