Franchises: MyMag, thebestof
Cost of start-up:£3,000, £6,000
David Heath was a professional athlete who toured the Grand Prix middle distance running circuit and represented Great Britain at the world cross country championships. After retiring from professional sport he bought a series of MyMag and thebestof franchises, which have been a great financial and personal success.
Heath was working looking on the internet for a job for his wife when he came across the MyMag website. After meeting Nigel and Sue Botterill, whose company N5 Ltd owns MyMag, he found out that it was also something that he was interested in doing as well.
MyMag is a community magazine compiled, published and distributed by franchisees who make money through the sale of low-cost advertising space and then distribute themselves.
“I was looking on the internet for a job for my wife. She wanted something that she could do from home.
“We met Sue and Nigel and we thought it was something that we could do.”
Heath and his wife now run three MyMag franchises for area and has also bought into N5’s latest project – thebestof – which is a similar concept to MyMag although is found online.
Their foray into franchising has brought considerable financial success, Heath is currently bringing in £10,000 per month in turnover with costs at around £3,000.
“You have to put the effort in for the first couple of months to get it up and running. After that it almost runs itself, I am having to do less each month,” he says.
N5’s deals are also remarkably cheap compared to other franchises; Heath bought his MyMag franchises for £3,000 each and thebestof for about £6,000.
The start-up costs are mirrored by the low costs of advertising – space in a MyMag can be less than £20 and peaks at around £100 for a double page.
“You literally have customers saying ‘where do I sign’, the only trouble I have is that sometimes people think that there must be a catch,” he says.
Life as a franchisee
Athletics was a good training ground for Heath as it gave him the resolve and determination to run a business.
“In athletics you are your own boss, you rely on your own efforts,” he says.
MyMag franchisees are in charge of the distributing the 3000 plus copies of the magazine, however Heath’s athletic background encouraged him to take the energetic approach to delivery.
“The first time I delivered I set off with a backpack full of magazines and tried to run around all the houses. It was the only time that I did that, now I have someone else doing the delivery.”
Heath is clearly a man who relishes a challenge and this aspect to his nature means that he sometimes has the tendency to take on a little more than is comfortable.
“We started off by doing two magazines at the same time and it was a bit too much. If I had my time again I would just do one.”
Heath feels that his MyMag franchises benefits many other businesses in his area, as he provides advertising that any business can afford. He says he knows of companies whose takings have skyrocketed since taking out a small ad in his magazine.
“There’s an ironing company in my local area that brought in £600 of business within two weeks of taking out an advert in MyMag.
“Another company has gained 100 customers just from our directory and have now opened up a shop.”
The next step
Heath is looking forward to working on his newly acquired Thebes of franchise – an online version of MyMag that boasts high web optimisation as all the individual sites spring from a single domain.
Therefore anyone who advertises with the site can expect their promotion to feature on the first page of Google when a web user performs a related search.
“I was thinking about setting up my own website but I wouldn’t have got the web optimisation that thebestof receives. I am now able to go to my existing customers with the Best of and they are very keen to get on board.”
Heath believes that the UK is a good place to do business and is confident about the future. He feels that British entrepreneurs have little reason to feel envious of our continental counterparts.
“I spent a bit of time in France and I think that if I was to do the same thing over there it would be a lot harder.
“Over here there is support from Business Link and the Chambers of Commerce and I don’t find that there’s too much bureaucracy.”
Finally, Heath has one bit of advice for anyone looking to start up their own business.
“Go for it!” he says.