Paul Winterbottom has been a franchise owner with The Alternative Board (TAB) since April 2014. When offered voluntary redundancy, Paul left his position at NatWest which he had held for more than 30 years in order to pursue a new career and his dream of being a business owner.
“When I left the bank I wasn’t exactly sure what to do next so I explored a few potential avenues. I had known about franchising for a long time because I worked with clients at the bank who ran their own franchises. I found TAB by working with a company that matches potential franchisees with franchisors. They evaluate you in terms of skills, experience and interests etc. and then come back to you with options to choose from. They suggested a few franchises to me including a consultancy franchise, a care franchise and TAB. I investigated the other options but didn’t really do anything with them because it was TAB that really stood out.”
Whilst at Natwest, Paul held various roles but for the last 20 years had specialised in working with small and medium sized businesses on business development and growth. He was confident that this experience meant he would have the skills and knowledge necessary to run a successful TAB franchise.
“Whilst researching the opportunity with TAB I did a lot of due diligence. I researched on the internet but I also spoke to around 10 existing franchise owners before making my decision.
I visited a couple of TAB boards to get a taste for the business and I spent a couple of days at head office in Harrogate. Once I’d made the decision to join TAB, I attended the UK conference because I wanted to meet the rest of the franchise network.”
Launching my TAB business
The TAB training programme ensures new franchise owners are confident and capable both in recruiting members to establish their TAB boards and in providing the full range of TAB services to retain those members for the long term. Your initial training is followed by in-field support helping you translate the theory into practice and kick-starting the launch of your new TAB business.
“My training in Harrogate was great. Everything I needed to know about how to run the business was covered at my own pace and it wasn’t rushed through at all. TAB’s programme of telemarketing also kicks in in order to generate you initial appointments, so that you can get members signed up to your boards and really hit the ground running.”
“I had plenty of support when I ran my first board, an existing franchise owner came and supported me which made a big difference. With TAB there’s a strong community ethos and I haven’t come across anyone who won’t try and help you, they’re a great bunch of people. TAB franchise owners are actively encouraged to create a supportive environment.”
“As additional support, TAB also holds monthly meetings for franchise owners across the UK. The methods we use for our members are also used by head office to support us. We all take an issue, problem or business opportunity we’re dealing with and put it to the TAB franchise owner board in order to get advice for our own businesses. What could be better?!”
Paul’s Words to You
“My advice to anyone looking at getting into franchising would be to speak to as many franchisees as possible including those who may not be doing so well and those who have given it up. Do your homework and find out what will happen if things don’t go well for you. Find a franchisor who will offer you additional support if you are struggling. With TAB, I think you have to see how the business works before you join. Attend one of the boards as a guest; they’re not just a mental exercise, it’s an experience you should have to get a flavour of the business you’ll be joining.”
Business Success so Far
In a little under six months, Paul saw a steep uptake in board members and the demand for his services. His eyes were firmly set on expansion and growth, and he seemed set for a long and successful career.
4 years on, Paul runs 3 boards and 12 months ago brought in a business partner to help him grow his business further. Paul has the accolade of being a third time winner of the TAB UK Franchise Owner of the Year award which is a great achievement.