Franchise: ACTION International
Cost of start-up: £45,000
David Geary was a wannabe entrepreneur for four long years before the right opportunity presented itself – he is now a business coach at up-and-coming franchisor ACTION International.
Geary previously worked in sales and marketing for a wide range of different companies for over 20 years. Being a franchisee has certainly changed his life dramatically and he is striving to make his business a major success a year after starting up.
“I had decided it was time to start my own business, I was looking at a number of options, both franchises and non-franchises,” he says. “I decided at the age of 34 to go it alone when the right opportunity for me arose, but it wasn’t until last year that I found that opportunity.”
ACTION was started 10 years ago by American entrepreneur Brad Sugars. The franchise now has offices from Sydney to San Francisco, dispensing marketing, advertising and business advice to thousands of clients. ACTION is certainly on the way up, but why did Geary choose to get involved?
“ACTION not only excited me from the potential return on investment I could achieve but also, how through business coaching I could positively impact on the lives of other business owners,” he explains.
A discussion with Guy Revis, an ACTION master licensee, at an exhibition persuaded Geary to change direction and take on a franchise.
Geary then had to go about raising the £45,000 needed to begin business coaching.
“I also needed working capital for the first three months,” Geary explains. “I raised the money through savings and a finance deal from the Royal Bank of Scotland. They were by far the most helpful and pro-active of the banks I approached.”
Geary, aided by his experience working for an array of top companies, successfully completed his four months of training, with the full support of his friends and family.
“Everyone has supported me in this decision, but my main help has been from my wife, Sue,” he says. “She has sacrificed more than she needed to, both personally and financially, in helping to get the business off the ground.
“I am eternally grateful for that and will be able to pay her back from both a time and money perspective soon!”
Life as a franchisee
Geary insists that the training and support he’s received from ACTION has been “excellent” and feels that there has been help at hand whenever he’s run into any troubles.
“The ongoing and regular training provided to franchisees through a variety of formats is also very helpful, particularly having my own business coach from within the system to ensure I keep focused and moving forward,” he says.
Although he has worked 60-hour weeks since he started his franchise, Geary admits that he can’t say his business is a huge success just yet. However, he has a philosophical attitude to difficulties encountered while business coaching.
“I never see anything as a ‘problem’ as that introduces negative thoughts and makes things difficult to achieve. I prefer to look at everything as a challenge to be overcome through positive action.
“At ACTION we believe that ‘the only failure is the failure to participate’, because at least if you’ve actually done something then you’ve got an outcome and learnt from it, even if it is don’t do it again! What do you learn from not doing or trying anything new? Absolutely nothing,” he says.
The next step
Geary, as you would expect from a business coach, has many tips for those who are contemplating taking on their own franchise.
“Be thorough with your due diligence, get a good law firm with solid franchise experience to advise you on your agreement, ensure you prepare both a three year business plan and a 90 day action plan to get you started in a structured and focused way,” he advises.
Geary has plans a gradual expansion of his coaching firm over the next year. He currently employs a part-time telemarketer, but would like to boost this to another 2 employees, including another business coach. He’s certainly confident of reaching his goals.
“It’s alright having great ideas and goals for the lifestyle you want to have, but if you don’t understand what you need to do to get there then you never will,” he says.