Successful franchise entrepreneur, Steve Bolton, does it again
Steve Bolton is a serial entrepreneur, published author and founder of the hugely successful Platinum Property Partners (PPP) franchise.
Since being founded in 2007, PPP has become the fastest growing premium franchise in UK history, helping more than 270 people build their own specialist and highly profitable buy-to-let property portfolios worth in excess of £250 million combined.
Here, Steve explains how he has, yet again, developed a proven and systemised business model that helps people achieve time, money and location freedom. The added bonus is that this fledgling online retail franchise, Platinum Business Partners (PBP), requires a much lower level of starting capital than PPP, while retaining the potential to give a great return on investment.
Tell us, if platinum property partners is going so well, why did you decide to launch a new franchise?
It’s actually because PPP is going so well that I felt there was a need to launch another franchise. This was not only to stop me from becoming dumb, fat and lazy (!), but to ensure a broader range of people with access to less capital could benefit from following a tried and tested business model.
It also fits with my belief that you need to have multiple income streams to minimise risk as well as fulfil an additional need within the PPP network - they’re an ambitious bunch and have fully embodied my philosophy of diversification, inside and outside of the property sector.
Simply put, they wanted something else to do because their PPP portfolios have given them the finances and time freedom to do other things.
While we’ve worked a lot with our existing franchise partners on other ventures and investment projects, there is nothing better than building systemised businesses that give people greater wealth, health and happiness.
This is my mantra and after a recent strategic training programme I attended for entrepreneurs, I realised that one of my unique abilities was franchising - not necessarily being a subject matter expert in property, but in creating step-by-step processes other people can replicate to earn a significant income, for less effort, and have more time to do the things they enjoy.
I also pride myself on being able to identify the perfect time to get into a certain industry and recognise how to create long-term businesses other people might think of as a ‘flash in the pan’ kind of thing.
Take property, for example. Very few people would have started investing in the property market in 2007, when there were already whispers of a financial crisis. We did and every single one of our franchise partners remained profitable. In fact, those early joiners are among some of our highest performing franchise partners today. And now is the right time to get into the world of ecommerce and online.
Why did you go down the online retail business route?
I’d been looking at a variety of sectors and areas of growth for some time. Over the past 30 years, I’ve worked in a number of sectors and built several successful businesses.
I kept finding myself thinking back to 2002. At the time, I had my own successful B2B ecommerce business. The money I made from this, and the equity I had in my home, was what enabled me to build my property business after being on the verge of bankruptcy.
So I’ve always believed in the power of ecommerce and now that buying online is part of our everyday lives, it’s the perfect opportunity to build B2C online retail businesses.
I set about researching how I could develop an ecommerce business system that would pass my ‘Holy Grail’ test. It needed to offer profitable and sustainable business growth, be underpinned by sellable assets, have the ability to be structured in a tax efficient way and be operated from anywhere in the world.
It soon became apparent that the ecommerce world was exploding with opportunity. There will be no other time in history where people move from buying offline to online. Four out of five Britons buy items online and the value of global ecommerce sales is expected to reach £1.2 trillion in 2016 when the final figures are released.
But when I talk to people about selling products online, most of them automatically assume I’m talking about getting rid of unwanted items on eBay or Gumtree to fund summer holidays or Christmas shopping.
The fact is, with as little as £30,000 starting capital, you could build a reputable online retail brand selling products to tens of thousands of customers globally. Your ecommerce business can be based wherever you are too, because there’s no product creation, handling or shipping. And the reason it was franchisable is because, at first, I did it, and in under 12 months more than 100 other people have followed the Platinum Business Partners model. So it’s proven. Since the beginning of last year, I’ve had my own B2C online retail business with a business partner. By the end of this financial year, we forecast we will achieve a sales revenue of more than £120,000.
I currently sell pet products. This is because I have two dogs and an interest in this category, which makes it far more enjoyable. But our Platinum Business Partners sell in a range of categories, from health and personal care and sport and outdoors to beauty and home and kitchen.
So how does it work?
In a nutshell, we teach you how to build your own online retail business, through which you will be selling products to online shoppers all over the world. You don’t need to create products, handle them - apart from seeing samples - or traipse down to the Post Office to ship them. So it’s a flexible business that can be run from home or anywhere with an internet connection during the hours you choose.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds, or why would people want to join us? The fact is, 99 per cent of people currently selling products online are making huge mistakes. This is because they fail to see that running a successful ecommerce business involves knowing a lot more than they think about product selection, global marketplaces, importing, exporting, branding and marketing.
Through our comprehensive programme of technical learning, we give you everything you need to achieve success. This includes setting up a tax efficient business structure and picking the right products, through to sourcing and marketing them in the most costeffective way.
You’ll also learn how to build brands and a diversified portfolio of products that will become sellable assets in the future, but earn you a significant income in the meantime.
Our core promise is that you can earn £2,000 to £4,000 per month net income (not turnover). Much more is possible and already being achieved, but I’ve always been a believer in under promising and over delivering.
All the while, we provide extensive training, guidance and support tools through our network of online retail experts and Power Team, who can keep you ahead of the ever-changing ecommerce game with legislation updates, best practice and fresh strategies.
How can people find out more?
Get in touch. The team is lovely, but more importantly, experienced in how the business model works. They can answer any questions you have and talk through financial specifics of the model.
If that peaks your interest, then like any franchise, we hold regular Discovery Events, which we highly recommend for anyone considering any kind of online retail and ecommerce business.