A globe-spanning brand charts how it signed up its Balkans-based master franchisee, and what it hopes to achieve in the region.
ActionCOACH is the largest business coaching franchise in the world with nearly 1,000 coaches in more than 70 countries globally. Recently, the industry-leader awarded a master franchise license in the Balkans in Europe. This diverse and complex region of Europe has been showing positive business indicators and the new franchise partner is excited about leading the charge to expand the brand’s reach in this region.
The franchise partner was exposed to ActionCOACH when they attended an event in the United Kingdom, which is where the organization operates its most profitable franchise operations outside of the United States. With the success of the U.K. franchisees, the new partner in the Balkans believes they can build on the positive business trends and indicators in the area. The event demonstrated to them that ActionCOACH had a simple-yet- profitable business model that can be duplicated anywhere small business exists. They saw the power of the relationship between clients and coaches and witnessed first-hand amazing business results which came from applying ActionCOACH fundamentals.
The Balkans include Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia. In this diverse region, the master licensee will develop their market with specific and unique marketing strategies to recruit new franchise coaches and firm owners. The region is primed for growth due to the lack of competition.
According to the Balkan Barometer 2019 Analytical Report published by the Regional Cooperation Council, a project funded by the European Union, there are many signs that the region is becoming more business-friendly and that business growth is moving the right direction. While political issues still remain in the region and bureaucracy is still a concern, the economic news is more favorable. Here are a few key excerpts from the report:
• Medium-sized companies, as well as exporters, were the most satisfied groups of companies when it comes to demand for their products
• Business executives are satisfied with their business results and expect to hire new employees, although they perceive present general economic situation as unfavorable
• Monetary trends are stable and supportive of investments, as both inflation and interest rates are low
• Employment growth was impressive in the past several years
• The region currently faces a seemingly positive outlook, as the projections forecast continuation or even slight improvement in growth rates
• Growth has been driven by consumption and investments, especially public, with counteracting effects from higher (net) imports
• Economically, the region has continued on its growth trajectory, with GDP figures, employment and export rates recording growth. GDP growth in the region in 2018 has strengthened to an estimated 3.7 per cent, the region’s highest growth since the 2008 global financial crisis
• All economies surpassed initial expectations and projections for 2018. Serbia was a regional leader with a growth estimated at 4.4 per cent, followed by Albania and Kosovo, which both also achieved growth higher than 4 per cent. Growth of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro was around regional average, while the Republic of North Macedonia, after two years of stagnation mostly due to political crisis, achieved progress and grew by a moderate 2.5% per cent
How to attract a Balkans-based master franchisee
The core of the ActionCOACH mission and vision is to ‘spread abundance through business re-education’ – the region seems ready to increase the professional nature of operations. Small and medium-sized businesses now more than ever need professional guidance to keep them on track and to assist them with growth strategies.
With lingering frustrations with corporate work-life, and as the western influences continue to permeate the region, entrepreneurs will see how easy it is to become a certified business coach and firm owner which gives them financial freedom and independence. This new career with a purpose, give those dissatisfied with “traditional” jobs a chance to invest in themselves and become business owners.
After months of discussion, it became clear that our new partner in the Balkans was of the same mindset. The more small and medium-sized businesses that are helped through coaching, the more robust and vital communities become. The partner has a desire to make the mission and vision of ActionCOACH a reality by giving back to the region they love. They embodied the characteristics to make them successful. They have extensive experience and a solid business acumen. They have a network of contacts to begin marketing the opportunities and cultivating leads.
How to onboard a master franchisee during a global pandemic
Bringing on a franchise partner or a master licensee requires them to attend 10 days of intensive, induction training, which is traditionally held at the corporate headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada in the U.S.
Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, in-person training was impossible. ActionCOACH, a highly virtual organization, quickly pivoted to provide the new franchise candidates a comprehensive online training experience to get them prepared to launch their business. This virtual training included master coaches from all over the world and transformed our training quickly to meet the new restrictions brought on by the crisis.
ActionCOACH didn’t just change its training, over the course of more than 12 weeks in the early stages of the crisis, ActionCOACH has provided its franchise partners and master licenses more than 250 pieces of marketing materials, webinars and collateral to help them not only survive through the early weeks of the pandemic shut-downs, but gave them tools and resources to keep them vital, active, and ultimately thriving.
ActionCOACHes, like all businesses, had some dips in revenue, but overall most of our coaches and master licensees have seen their revenue stay neutral and, in some cases, improve dramatically during the recent months.
ActionCOACH has seen how business owners desperate for guidance and council have turned to our certified coaches to help them navigate the storm of the coronavirus.
ActionCOACH showed its resiliency when it emerged from the great recession in 2013 as the dominant player in the business coaching industry. ActionCOACH has continued to grow in China, Japan, Vietnam, South Africa, Indonesia, India and across Europe and South America. Founder and CEO, Brad Sugars’ vision lives on today as the organization continues to look to expand in Northern Africa, Poland, Italy and Scandinavia in the coming months.
Consider that 50 per cent of small- and medium-sized businesses fail in the first year of operation. An even more pertinent point is that small and medium businesses are often the life-blood of any community. It is critical that they continue to grow and remain vital. It is ActionCOACH’s commitment to help business owners succeed worldwide today and in the future. The Balkan business communities are being introduced to something special.
Carmen Gigar is a marketing professional focused on branding and content development. She has worked with global companies such as 7-Eleven and Mars Inc., and is currently the chief marketing officer at ActionCOACH.