Franchise Spotlight: Consultancy

Low overheads, high margins – what’s not to like? Consultancy franchises thrive through proven business models and client acquisition tools, among other benefits.

Put simply, consultancy is about giving expert advice – specifically independent advice.

Requiring no stock or perhaps even a physical office, the business model promises comparatively modest start-up costs and ongoing overheads. And if costs are relatively low, then revenues – and profits – can be pretty high.

Sector overview

  • Low overhead, high-fee sector with enormous profit potential
  • Franchise model provides support infrastructure – including pedigree brand, proven formula, plus training and support – that helps you find customers and focus on service delivery
  • Management consultancy alone is a £50.2bn-revenue sector growing 1.7%annually

Consultancy franchises invariably cater to businesses, often providing mentoring, coaching and training to entrepreneurs, senior executives or other staff.

They can be generalists or focus on specific areas like finance, marketing, IT, operations, business process management, human resources, risk and compliance, or mergers and acquisitions.

The industry has ballooned globally in recent decades, driven by trends that include globalisation, consolidation, regulatory changes and technological disruption.

The upending of traditional business models by new digital technologies is a major source of custom, as are cybersecurity and data protection concerns. The financial services sector is a huge market, especially given regulatory upheaval since the 2007-8 financial crash.

Brexit, which is likely to rumble on for years to come, is another boon for the market.

But why do businesses even need outside help?

Consultants might be experts in a field in which a business has little internal expertise. Not emotionally invested in the business, they can also spot problems those on the inside have missed.

They’re helpful when businesses are confronted by rapid, disruptive change or want to diversify into an area they’re unfamiliar with.

They can also help novice small-business owners get to grips with the basics of running a business.

Whether through cost-efficiencies or exploiting new opportunities, a consultant’s advice can result in serious bottom-line benefits that more than justify their fees.

Is a consultancy franchise for me?

This is very much a people business. Giving advice and building relationships, you’ll need to enjoy social interaction and possess strong interpersonal skills.

Franchisors in this sector often favour candidates with experience in senior commercial roles.

It’s not likely you’ll need experience as a consultant per se. Indeed, as your business grows – and it’s a very scalable business – you’ll probably reduce your own consultancy work anyway.

The structure of consultancy franchises

Consultancy is a relationship business and a firm’s value lies in the skills and contacts of its consultants. So why buy a franchise?

Consultancy franchises usually offer benefits like:

  • Comprehensive initial training in all areas of running the business
  • Ongoing training and support from a dedicated support team
  • Dedicated territory with exclusive access to leads generated within your geographic boundaries
  • Bespoke business tools
  • Operations manuals covering technical, strategic and operations best practice
  • Dedicated personal website
  • Lead generation and client acquisition technologies, strategies and telemarketing support
  • Provision of, and support for, marketing, social media and PR campaigns
  • Stationery and collateral
  • Regular meet-ups with fellow franchisees

Consultancy franchises are almost always business-to-business franchises. One exception is Suit the

City, which provides advice on made-to-measure bespoke suits.

Auditel, ActionCOACH and Business Doctors are three of the biggest names that advise small to medium firms on becoming leaner, more efficient and primed for growth.

As its name suggests Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) specialises in cutting operating costs, but specifically related to suppliers. Utility360 helps business save money through better energy management.

Opportunity Marketing’s specialism is, again, self-explanatory, while Sandler Training focuses on sales excellence.

Then there’s Business Partnership, which helps business owners sell their business.

Management Construction is (at the time of writing) selling master franchises for the delivery of consultancy services for construction management.

Two consultancy franchises – MatchPoint and Accentiá – actually advise business owners on expanding through franchising. Who better to advise on developing a franchise system than a business that has done just that?

Joshua Antoniou

About the author

Joshua Antoniou is now Global Account Executive having started at Dynamis in the Customer Service department. He also writes for &