Invest in an Ableworld franchise and take advantage of the opportunities the New Year will bring
2018 looks like it’s going to be a challenging year for the UK. The implications of Brexit remain unclear, inflation and interest rates are already on the rise. Change is most certainly in the air.
It’s been said that change represents danger and opportunity. Will there be dangers to things like the UK economy and employment? Possibly. But will there also be opportunities? Certainly. And how can you take advantage of the opportunities, while minimising the risks?
Some things, of course, will remain the same. For example, the unstoppable demographic forces driving the so called grey market. The demand for goods and services aimed at the over- 60s will increase as the UK population ages and people live longer.
As people age, they often need a little extra help with their mobility - both inside the home and outside. For that reason, the retail mobility market is one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy and that is unlikely to change in 2018 and beyond.
While some in society will undoubtedly feel the pinch if the economy slows and inflation and interest rates rise, many people from the baby boomer generation have accumulated assets and generous pensions. This means that if they need products like mobility scooters, specialist furniture and stairlifts, they have the resources to pay for them. How can you take advantage of this opportunity in the New Year, while managing the risks of setting up in business on your own? Franchising is an ideal way of doing just that - using a proven method and having the back-up of a successful franchisor.
Ableworld is the only mobility retailer offering a franchise package. Started in 2001 by an experience retailer who had been involved in two nationwide chains before, Ableworld now has 34 stores, making it the largest mobility retailer in the country. The management are looking to award more franchises in 2018.
The Ableworld franchise package is comprehensive. Included in the offer is a generous launch programme, plus six weeks’ training and support on all areas of the retail operation, such as marketing, merchandising, buying and accounting.
The Ableworld franchise team have contacts with all the major banks that are active in providing funding for franchises and will help build a business plan to support your application.
In addition to the hard facts, there is also the great sense of job satisfaction franchisees get from helping people in their community, for whom the products make such a difference to their lives.
Among Ableworld’s current franchisees are people with sales backgrounds, from the armed forces, retailing, public service, teaching, the automotive industry, construction and engineering - many of them running a business for the first time.
The three phases of a franchise investment (initial investment, growth and resale) are neatly encompassed within the following case studies:
Initial investment - A new store
July 2017 saw the launch of Ableworld mobility superstore number 33, in Bournemouth. Chris Brown and Eddie Raileanu are the principals behind the company.
Chris knows the Bournemouth area well, after a successful career there in the home and improvement sector. Eddie’s background includes time spent with the armed services, followed by a career in the health and fitness industry.
After undergoing Ableworld’s intensive six-week training programme and a period of in-store training and coaching, Chris and Eddie are now up and running. They have been receiving some fantastic feedback from local customers, which has led to some healthy sales figures recently, as well as a lot of job satisfaction.
The growth phase
During Chris’ research, he went to look at nearby Ableworld Southampton. Owned by Jeff Newman and his son Steven, they are Ableworld’s current Franchise of the Year.
Jeff, whose previous career had been as a milkman, reflects on his thoughts at the time of opening in 2014: “Having had daily contact with elderly and disabled customers in my previous occupation, I witnessed several fall injuries and mobility complaints.
“I believed our highly visible and accessible superstore would fill a gap in the market and serve as a welcome benefit to the community.”
How does Jeff feel the enterprise has gone? “It has met all our expectations,” he told us, “especially the satisfaction we get from providing the right products for our customers.”
What about the future? With the business taking close on a million pounds a year, Jeff and Steven have their thoughts firmly fixed on expanding into a second territory - and retaining their status as Franchise of the Year.
When Southampton joined the network in 2014, Ableworld’s first ever franchise, in Birkenhead, was enjoying its third time as Franchise of the Year.
Now after nearly nine years, owner Andy Rees is looking to move on and is going through the process of offering his franchise as a resale.
As one of the most successful Ableworld franchises with a strong history of growth, Andy and the franchisor are confident the business makes an attractive proposition for someone who wishes to invest in a franchise that’s already trading successfully.
One of the factors running through all three case studies above is the strength of the underlying market. There are currently more than 15 million people aged over 60 (Ableworld’s core customer group) in the UK today, a figure forecast to rise to 20 million by 2030.
Valued at around £1.5 billion annually, the mobility retail sector is set to expand dramatically over the next few years as the demand increases for products such as mobility scooters, stairlifts, adjustable beds, wheelchairs and home aids.
There will never be a better time to invest in the growing retail mobility market via an Ableworld franchise and take advantage of the opportunities that the New Year will bring.