Nick Neill, managing director of EweMove Sales & Lettings, has some top tips for aspiring franchisees
Nick Neill was one of the first franchisees to join the estate agency brand EweMove Sales & Lettings when he launched the York branch in 2014. Now, five years on, he’s at the helm of the business, having been appointed managing director in June 2017.
With EweMove’s network continuing to grow across the length and breadth of the UK, Nick explains what makes for a successful franchise and how his insight into being a franchisee has helped him grow a flourishing business that has both its franchisees and its customers at its heart.
Whatever your background, experience and skill set, buying into a franchise is never an easy or straightforward decision. As anyone looking into franchising as a viable career path will know, there’s so much work beforehand you need to do to be sure that it’s the right decision for you.
Don’t rule out an opportunity too quickly
“My advice for anyone looking into franchising as a business is to not rule out an opportunity too quickly based on the sector or type of job you’ll be doing - particularly if it’s something you’ve never done before,” Nick says.
“Having come from a corporate background and having many senior level sales and leadership roles, becoming an estate agent seemed left field to me. But I was drawn to EweMove, what it stood for, the opportunity it offered and the way it demonstrated its passion to make real change in the industry.
“I didn’t know if estate agency was the right thing, but I weighed up the pros and cons of franchising and of the sales and lettings industry and came to the conclusion that I didn’t intend to move again, so what ended up on my CV really wouldn’t matter. There was only one outcome when I joined EweMove and it was to make it work.”
Matching your personality and skills
With hundreds of franchising opportunities in the UK, it’s important to know which your own individual personality and skills are best suited to.
“For me, the most important part of EweMove and what it stood for was its focus on enhancing every one of its customers’ journeys and showing them how estate agency should - and could - be done,” Nick explains. “Many people have experience in customer service, sales, marketing and financial and operational processes, but what makes you really passionate and determined?
“The majority of our franchisees at EweMove come from an estate and lettings agency background, so they know what it takes to make estate agency work, but what we do at head office is work with them to make things awesome. This continued support means some of our top performers are also nonagents and come from a diverse range of backgrounds.
“It’s often more important to be the right type of person, with the right attitude, than it is having the very specific and relevant experience of the industry you’ll be operating in.”
Get under the skin of the business
It’s critical to know as much as you can about your potential franchise.
“Get under the skin of the business you’re looking into, the industry as a whole and any evidence of how well other franchisees have performed under the brand,” Nick advises.
“It’s key to look holistically at the challenges, risks and opportunities, so do immerse yourself in as much market research as you can - and remember to ask lots of questions.”
Embrace the training and mentoring on offer
One of the most important ways EweMove supports, nurtures and encourages its franchisees to grow their businesses is through the company’s comprehensive range of training and mentoring.
Nick explains: “In many other franchise businesses, particularly in estate agency, it’s common to see individuals take the fantastic opportunity of franchising, but then not take advantage of ongoing training and development.
“Not only is it key to get the right people on board in the first instance, but as a franchisee, learning and continuously enhancing what you do for your customers and staff is singlehandedly one of the most effective ways in which you can grow your business.
“At EweMove, our franchisees can access training and advice whenever they need it, including an initial seven-day induction training programme - which includes one day of field training with an experienced business development manager - bi-weekly live video webinars, telephone support and a comprehensive library of how-to videos.
“We launched a ‘boot camp’ aimed at those new to business and estate agency, as well as our ‘growth camp’ for individuals who were too busy for their own good working in their businesses rather than on it. In addition, our mastermind programme is tailored to high performers in the network who have already scaled successfully.
“You may not find this type of support, mentoring and training among other franchise businesses, but if you do have it be sure to fully embrace it.
“I’d also encourage individuals to get to know other franchisees across the network and learn from each other’s experiences.
“Everyone is in exactly the same position and the most successful of our franchisees are the ones who continually share ideas, advice and guidance and ultimately benefit from the encouragement and support this can bring.”