Ever wondered about the professional central office team whose job it is to help you kickstart your Belvoir journey?
After a number of years in the fitness industry working shifts and too many weekends, Lara took the big decision to embark on a Management degree; the perfect first step to becoming one of the most knowledgeable and well-respected members of the Belvoir central office franchising team.
Now a Senior Sales Administrator at Belvoir’s central office, she joined the team after graduating, making immediate use of her degree and hasn’t looked back. Now with a unique mix of Belvoir training and experience and having made a life-changing career move herself, she’s in an ideal position to help people consider whether a Belvoir franchise is the right move for them.
“Using the skills I’d gained during my degree, I joined Belvoir, starting in sales and stepping up to Senior Sales Administrator after a year and a half,” Lara explains. “Franchising was all new to me, but the Belvoir brand is very well-known. That reputation was one of the key factors in my decision to join, as I knew it would be a great company to work for.
“Belvoir believe in developing every member of the team, so once I’d started the job, I was given all the training I needed to be able to offer professional assistance to new and existing franchisees. I attended a range of courses recognised in the industry and sat in on as many of the internal courses as I could, from initial franchisee induction to legal days, just so I could really get an understanding of what the franchise owners learn in their own training programme.
Lara wears many hats for her role. She is often the first person potential franchisees talk to. Whether it’s initial contact via phone, in person or via email, Lara assesses an individual’s investment options in order to narrow down the opportunities that might fit.
“I complete the first stage of the process, as well as arranging the ‘Discovery Day’, We do a lot of upfront work before potential franchisees choose which opportunity suits them best, so when they do attend the course, it’s really real. The Discovery Day is their first face-to-face meeting with the support teams,” says Lara. “And it gives them a better understanding of what’s involved with a Belvoir franchise.
“The best thing about the job is that each day is different and you never know who you’re going to speak to. I see people embark on their Belvoir journey, from that initial contact, through to their first meeting with the team. They attend their training course here, which is four weeks in total, during which we are able to nurture a strong relationship with them, which continues throughout their development.”
Lara continues, “We give them all the support they need to get started, from marketing and IT to business generation and compliance. When I see the new franchisees making a success of their business, I find it really rewarding, after being so closely involved in the long process to set them on their way.”
When it comes to finding the ideal Belvoir franchisee, Lara says, drive, enthusiasm and motivation are the key traits.
“They don’t have to have a background in property or franchising, because we have all the industry experts on hand, as part of our training,” explains Lara. “But a will to succeed is essential.”
Lara adds, “Our most successful franchisees work in the business and drive it forward with determination.”
“At the end of the day, taking on a franchise isn’t an overnight decision. It’s a life change. When you commit to a franchise, it’s important to understand what’s involved and that you’re following a proven system. The Belvoir way is tried and tested, so by following the approved system, our franchisees get all the help and support they need.”
Lara explains that Belvoir franchisees are never alone, “At Belvoir, we offer all the support franchisees need. It can be a scary thing, changing your career or giving up a good job to work for yourself, but Belvoir offers the advice and infrastructure people need, regardless of their experience.”
Although no longer working in the fitness industry, Lara is still a very active person, by anyone’s standards.
“I am a triathlete and I’ve completed the Iron Man in Majorca. I was swimming in a lake just last night and I’m doing a 5k swim on Saturday,” Lara laughs. “I’ve just been in Spain riding my bike, so I’m still very sporty, but that helps me be the motivated and driven person I am at work. I don’t like to fail, so if I’m faced with a challenge, I like to try and find a solution. This is very useful in my job because when I meet a potential franchisee, it’s about finding an opportunity that’s right for them and I won’t give up until I do. I’m definitely a glass half full person and I take that into work with me.”