Buy a franchise with an award-winning business

When you’re comparing franchises, exploring your options, researching and carrying out due diligence, you might notice that the business you’re considering has won awards. At Get Ahead, we believe winning awards add value and reflects well on the business. Over the last eleven years, we’re proud to say we have won quite a few! Of course, we’re delighted to have our hard work recognised, but we also believe it’s helped us attract high calibre franchisees to take the brand to the next level.

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2022 – is it time your career changed direction?

For many of us, Christmas is time to take a break and be with those we love best. But it’s also time to re-evaluate. If you’re dreading going back to work this month, it could be that your current role is not fulfilling you, or not meeting your reasons for choosing it.

In this blog, we look at the importance of reviewing what we want to get from our jobs, and how we might achieve it.

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Outsourcing to virtual experts – the heart of our franchise model

When you talk to our franchisees about why they joined Get Ahead (and why they’ve stayed!), you’ll hear them talk time and again about the advantages of working with a team of experts. If you’re considering joining the Get Ahead family, this blog explains how our model works and what it means for our regional directors.

What do we mean by a team of virtual experts?

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There are lots of franchises to choose from. What makes Get Ahead different?

If you’re considering buying a franchise, you’ve probably seen some that have piqued your interest and others that have made you run a mile. But whatever your experience so far, you should be proud of yourself for doing your research thoroughly – it’s the first step to finding the right franchise for you. 

To help you with your research, we’ve put together the top five ways that Get Ahead is different from other B2Bfranchises.

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What social media platform is best for my business?

Do you experience fear of missing out when you hear of a new social media platform? If you do, ask yourself another question: is it fear of yourself missing out, or fear of missing out on potential new business?

If the latter, we are here to tell you not to worry. The best social media platform for your business doesn’t have to be the newest one. Instead, focus on the one your ideal clients and customers use most frequently. This will vary depending on your industry, so we’ve put together a handy guide to who uses what to help you find your online niche.

(By the way, it helps if you know who your ideal customers are before you start. If you haven’t considered this yet, check out our blog: How to identify your ideal client & market your business to them – Get Ahead VA)

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Why you didn’t achieve your goal…and what to do about it

Having the ambition to work for yourself shows an excellent attitude and one that it likely to succeed. To harness that ambition before it goes stale, it’s important to define business goals to keep you on track. But what happens when you don’t achieve your goal? How do you stay motivated and moving in the right direction?

If this happens to you, it’s important to stay strong, turn negatives into positives and find opportunities for improvement. Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team:

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Effective ways to chase unpaid invoices

Most of the time, clients and customers pay on time, cash flow is steady and all is well. But sometimes, invoices go unpaid. Perhaps the client is trying it on; perhaps there’s a genuine reason why they’re struggling to pay. Whatever the reason, unpaid invoices can hold up your business, reduce your income and restrict your business growth. In this blog, we look at how best to chase unpaid invoices, and how to avoid the situation in the first place.

  • Late payments – prevention is better than cure

The best way to deal with unpaid invoices is to limit the chances of them occurring in the first place. There are two ways you can do this: clarify the invoicing process in your terms and conditions or contract, and always issue a quote before you start work.

When you write your T&Cs, or the contract you will issue to your client or customer, be clear about timescales for paying invoices. That way, if the client doesn’t pay, you can refer them to the legal agreement between the two of you. This will also protect you if you find yourself having to escalate the situation.

Make sure you client knows exactly what comes at a cost and what is free. It’s always a good idea to issue a quote – if the client doesn’t ask, assert yourself and tell them you’ll send one over for their approval before you start work. If there is a charge for, say, telephone calls or travel, make sure the client is aware. There’s nothing more likely to lead to an unpaid invoice than an unexpected expense!

If the invoice is going to be particularly large, it can be a good idea to remind the client before you issue it. If they need to put anything in place to ensure the payment goes through, advance warning will give them time to prepare.

  • Unpaid invoices – a friendly approach

The most common reason for not paying invoices is oversight. The invoice arrives with your client on a busy day and they just don’t get round to it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with a friendly approach. We like, “can I just check you received this?” and “I was just going through some paperwork and I noticed…” They both give the client the chance to pay without too much embarrassment, which should keep them on your books too.

  • Chase unpaid invoices by getting serious

If, after your friendly approach, the invoice is still not paid, it’s time to up your game. Send a strongly worded letter or email. A good approach is to state what happened, then state how it made you feel (e.g. breach of trust, work not being valued) and lastly state what you want to happen next, and when by.

  • Going to small claims court

There are fees for taking your case to court, so think before you litigate! There is a mediation service too, which in some cases is the best way of resolving the situation and is cheaper than court too.

You can find up to date guidance on taking a non-payment case to court on the government website here, and you can find a court fees calculator on the Which? website here.

If, after going to court, the invoice is still not paid, you can instruct the court to send bailiffs to take the payment directly from your client. Again, there is a fee for this so do your maths and only take action if it’s worth it.

We really hope that our step-by-step guide has helped you chase unpaid invoices and get the results your business needs. To help you keep on top of invoicing and your other financial responsibilities, we’ve created a new infographic – check it out here.

Why are financial goals important for my business?

It’s a good idea to set fresh goals every quarter, but it’s also important to be smart, strategic and focused in your approach. Done well, goal setting will keep your business on track and heading in the right direction. You’ll also be able to measure your success and see how far you’ve come, which may motivate you to go further in the next quarter.

We love goals at Get Ahead. As we begin the last quarter of the year, we thought we’d share our views on why goal-setting is important, and how to set achievable goals that will move your business forward.

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What marketing support does Get Ahead give its franchisees?

Get Ahead is growing, with new franchisees steadily joining the family. As the business expands, our new regional directors bring virtual expertise to more and more areas of the UK and beyond.

Something that sets Get Ahead apart from other franchise offerings is the amount of support we give to our regional directors. We believe you should work for yourself, but not by yourself – it’s important to us that we should always be there for our RDs.

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Get Ahead’s go-ahead Fiona Ibbetson wins major industry award

Tell anyone who knows Fiona Ibbetson that she’s just won a major industry award, and their reaction is likely to be “Well, of course she would. Obvs”.

And it’s easy to understand why. The owner of Get Ahead in Leeds and Wakefield made her business profitable in the first three months, created work for 22 people, and expects to triple her revenue this year.

She’s also taking on the additional territory of York and Harrogate which will generate work for many more people as well as making life easier for the business owners she serves by providing outsourced virtual assistants.

“I’d not had my own business before this,” says Fiona, who’d worked for Morrisons supermarkets for 20 years. “That’s why I went down the franchise route.

“The franchise model offers flexibility and leverages the skills of my team to help local businesses. That’s my passion.

“I’ve grown the business really well during the pandemic, despite losing three clients which halved my revenue overnight.

“I’ve had a great mentor in the franchisor, plus I use two business coaches, one for my personal brand.

“I thought networking would be a completely new skill to learn until I realised I’d been networking naturally with peers and colleagues for years.

“My husband’s still working from home as well, and I’m working on my business around my family as well as home-schooling two children. Everybody’s had to adapt.”

Despite the face-to-face networks she relied on for new business vanishing overnight in the pandemic, Fiona built the business up to a team of six plus 16 virtual assistants, and she’s taking on a Business Development Manager to help with the new territory.

“Winning the award is amazing,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be recognised and it puts me up there with other great franchisees which is fantastic.”

The Great British Franchisee Awards recognise franchisees’ exceptional performance and business experience, ability to drive business growth, staff retention, customer satisfaction, community involvement, inspired leadership, and franchise involvement.

The awards are run by whichfranchise, supported by Lloyds Bank, BDO, AMO Consulting and Chantry Group.

• Read more about the awards at https://www.whichfranchise.com/awards

• For over 25 years, whichfranchise has promoted ethical franchise opportunities in the UK. Learn more at https://www.whichfranchise.com/