Last Updated: 09-December-2015
Exclusive interview with Nick Lyons, No Letting Go
Franchisors name: Nick Lyons
Name of franchise: No Letting Go
Tell us a bit about yourself including when and why you joined the company and your past employment within or outside of franchising
I originally worked in the oil industry but left in 2000 to set up a property services business providing reports to property lawyers. The success of that business allowed me to become a franchisee for a large estate and letting agency. I learnt a great deal from this - good and bad but wanted really to grow my own franchise business as a franchisor. Following some change in legislation an opportunity arose for me to set up No Letting Go and put all of my experiences and ideas in place.
When was the business established? And what were the factors for deciding to go down the franchise route?
Founded in 2007 I had a vision of how I believed a franchised business should be run for a small operator. I wanted to create a franchise that was easy to enter, low cost, with low working capital requirements and would allow anyone who was willing to put the effort in to make an excellent living.
What have been the company’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
We launched in 2007, but our first office opened in 2008. Since then we have opened nearly 50 regional offices. From the days of a few offices, now over 50% of our total business is provided centrally for our franchises and we are now the largest distribution network and supplier of inventory management services in the UK; all from a market that barely existed prior to 2007.
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Many, with still many more to come. Helping develop and keep motivated lots of people with differing skill sets is still the biggest challenge. We work on always developing and improving our systems to ensure we are ahead of the game and are constantly trying to offer as much value as we can to our franchisees, whether it is through systems and processes, support or marketing
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
We have used lots of different approaches and are always looking at new ideas. As a report based business selling specialist services to the property industry, being seen as the expert in our sector is critical. We market primarily through education and use various means to promote this. Our central marketing fund which all of the franchisees invest in promotes the brand nationally using social media, sponsorships, national industry events, award events and franchisees locally promote with a series of mail drops and local landlord events.
What differentiates No Letting Go from the competition?
We are unique in our market in that we offer a national service that provides consistency and accountability to our clients. The professionalism of our franchisees, through comprehensive training is and passion for providing an excellent service, in our opinion, is the best in the market.
We have a comprehensive web based central management software system and company owned, state of the art tablet based report building software that provides excellent value for our offices, makes them produce exceptional reporting, tailored to their client needs. We also focus a great deal on making our clients journey simple by providing transparency of our process.
What qualities do you look for in a franchisee? What makes a successful franchisee?
Passion, enthusiasm, excellent communication and a will to succeed. All backed by a focus on what they want to achieve and when. We then get them to put this into a business plan.
To me, this shows a great deal of thought has gone into the process of starting a No Letting Go business. Not just a whim. We need strong driven franchisees.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years? And how have you adapted to them?
We are an industry driven by legislation, so have to work closely with the industry to ensure we are compliant. Providing services to the lettings industry is exciting as it is growing quickly. However, changes in legislation can bring challenges and change. For the most part it is positive and creates opportunities.
What does the future hold for No Letting Go?
As our network grows, we are gaining more and more recognition in local markets and we are able to gain more national account due to the coverage. We are expanding by offering new services which fits our skill set and increases the overall value of the franchisee business.
We have had record months year on year and several new offices have smashed previous records. We are growing at over 30% per year and looking to keep this level up.
What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
Our target is 100 offices, so this is the main focus. Exploring overseas opportunities is on the agenda and we have had interest from several countries. Exciting times ahead.
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
Get a good franchise agreement in place with the best franchise lawyer you can find - it was my biggest cost and best investment. You get excellent advice and it forces you to understand and challenge your business from day 1. It also creates confidence between both parties and clarifies any grey areas.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
Probably not a lot, you learn as you going along and find out what works best for your business. There are lots of small things that I may change in hind sight but I don't think they would have been relevant or feasible when I started.