Exclusive interview: "We offer franchisees the benefit of over 50 years of experience"
Franchisors name: Ray King
Name of franchise: Leadership Management UK Limited (LMI-UK)
Tell us a bit about yourself including when and why you joined LMI and your past employment within or outside of franchising
In my previous role, I had responsibility for managing all of SE Asia and China, and it didn’t take long to realise leadership and people were the true keys to success. I recognised LMI had the products, methods and systems to make this happen here in the UK. It is a combination that works for our clients, which now number over 5000 in the UK
When was the business established? And what were the factors for deciding to go down the franchise route?
Paul J Meyer originally founded the Leadership Management International organisation in 1966 in the USA. I consider the start of LMI here in the UK to be 2002, which was when we first joined the bfa. Franchising was the chosen route to market from the start quite simply because LMI owns the expression, “motivating people to their full potential®”, therefore there could be no other route we could take.
Paul recognised franchising was the route that ensured our programmes were delivered by committed, motivated individuals with experience of the challenges faced by participants. Franchising taps into the entrepreneurial spirit of franchisees, but supports them with the strength of a growing worldwide brand.
What have been the company’s biggest achievements/successes to date so far?
Prior to the recession of 2008 LMI-UK was one of the biggest training providers in the UK (top 12%).
First and foremost is always the tangible results we achieve for our clients through the development of their key people. These ‘results’ help us to maintain over 50% resale to existing clients, guaranteed.
Another is our successes has been with offering our LMI solutions within many large blue chip companies such as bp, Bank of America and alike. Although the majority of our clients remain SMEs we have found our programmes and services meet the needs of big and small organisations across the spectrum of UK business.
"LMI has again been recognised as one of the world’s leading franchise businesses in the annual FD Top 100 Global Franchises list, coming in at a creditable 53 on the list, behind some of the biggest names in the world, like McDonalds, Hilton Hotels, Marriot International, Hertz and Europcar."
What challenges have you had to overcome?
There is only one major challenge in our business and that is the recruitment of new franchisees to meet the market’s growing demand for quality Leadership and Management development. It is something we’re working hard to overcome, recognising we need to ‘sell’ our message better that we have programmes the business community want. LMI-UK is a great opportunity for the right people to own and manage their own business, with almost limitless possibilities.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise?
We presently advertise on 10 different Franchise Recruitment Portals and have recently re-joined the bfa. We have used a variety of different approaches in the past, from magazine advertising to pay-per-click but no one method has delivered the success I believe our programmes deserve. Next year we will probably re-evaluate the exhibition route (in 2014 we exhibited in both London & NEC)
What differentiates LMI from the competition?
For an individual joining LMI-UK, our first differentiator is our more than 50 years of experience in global franchising. This ensures each new franchisee has a simple to operate business model with extremely low overheads and a great support network.
The LMI programmes and services we offer to clients are proven here in the UK and will give each franchisee an unlimited opportunity to be successful. LMI-UK prides itself on its team ethos, encouraged by regular team training and development forums, where we share best practice, advice on securing new business and overcoming the challenges of running your own business.
What qualities do you look for in a franchisee? What makes a successful franchisee?
"To be successful, an LMI-UK franchisee must have a positive mental attitude, be self-motivated and goal directed. Couple these attributes to a strong work ethic and I believe success is more or less guaranteed."
The most successful franchisees will also possess the desire to help ‘others’ to grow and succeed. LMI is very much a people focused business.
What changes have you seen in your industry over recent years? And how have you adapted to them?
The growth in the Training and Development sector has been huge in recent years as more organisations recognise the benefits of ‘employing the attitude and training the skills’.
Importantly for LMI, this trend now extends to developing the leaders of tomorrow, with the appropriate Leadership and Management development made available for the right individuals throughout an organisation. Our programmes have been shaped to meet these needs and now is very much our time.
What does the future hold for LMI?
LMI now operates in over 80 Countries and 26 languages, and continues to grow. Here in the UK, and throughout Europe, the demand for LMI programmes and services will also continue to grow and our ability to service that growth is ONLY limited by the number of Franchisees we are able to recruit.
We have recently launched our innovative Leadership for Women programme, which identifies that most women are held back by a lack of confidence, rather than any lack of skill. Once we unlock the potential within and show what is possible, I expect this programme to become one of our most popular and represent a great opportunity for franchisees to take advantage of this growing market
What expansion plans have you got nationally and internationally?
Today LMI-UK has a team of 12 Franchisees, spread across the UK. Our goal is to recruit 52 franchisees; a figure that I believe will give us critical mass in the market and a natural awareness of what we have to offer. For now the staging goal that will significantly add to our impact in the market place, with greater acknowledgement of our offering is to reach half that number, 26, by June 2017.
LMI-UK is only authorised to focus on the UK.
What advice would you give to someone considering franchising their business?
- Join the bfa
- Appoint a reputable franchise consultant to help put together your Franchise Package
- Be clear you do have a franchise model to market. This can be established by piloting.
- Don’t believe what everyone tells you. Be conservative with the numbers when you start.
If you had to do it all again, what would you do differently?
I would happily do it all again, especially with the experience of the last 14 years to guide my early decisions, but the major thing I would do differently is to concentrate more on marketing the benefits of the franchise from the outset.
So many people with the right skills want to run their own businesses, but often fail in the early years, with so much to distract them from ‘selling’ their expertise.
"Franchising offers entrepreneurs a way to run their own business with a great brand behind them taking care of marketing and programmes awareness in our case and leaving them to just sell and run courses."
Next time round I will emphasise this aspect more and attract franchisees with the entrepreneurial spirit and help them avoid trying to start a business from scratch, when LMI-UK has so much to offer for a relatively small investment.
For more information about LMI's franchise opportunity and to apply for more information, click here.