With a scientific degree from a prestigious French University and after more than 20 years spent in the Financial Industry and working for banks in places such as Paris, New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong, Franck Sidon decided to start something of his own.
Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose the TaxAssist Accountants franchise?
Starting a new business is a risky endeavour. Using the franchise model reduces the risk significantly and allows you to focus on your core business. Among the limited options available in the tax compliance sector, TaxAssist Accountants was by far the more established brand and the more mature operation.
What did you do before taking up a franchise?
I worked in the financial sector. Many different roles over the years: I started my career as a trader, moved into finance and operations and even had a stint in technology.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
While my accounting knowledge was good, I had no experience dealing with small businesses where processes are sometimes non-existent. TaxAssist Accountants was able to allow me to adapt to the specificities of that market.
What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
Most of my day is spent meeting with potential or existing clients. I also spend a lot of time training staff and checking work done by the team.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
A lot of the marketing is done at head office level. I also maintain a blog with topical advice both in French and in English, which raises the profile of the business. But our best marketing tool is the quality of our work and the referrals it generates.
What differentiates your franchise from the competition?
My being French made it easier initially to cater to the specificities of the French population in London. We now have almost 50% of our clients who are French speaking and all of our staff are bilingual.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
It is important to follow the model. There are many ways to be successful in a business, but when you are part of a franchise, you need to leverage the model pushed by the group. If you are not ready to do this, you are better off on your own.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Again, don’t be afraid to follow the model. You’ll realise soon enough that there are many ways you can be creative and build your niche while remaining aligned with the brand. Don’t waste the years of experience of the franchisor: if you follow the rules you will succeed.