The Consulting Franchise Industry: Robert Allison from Expense Reduction Analysts
Franchise Direct speaks to Robert Allison, Managing Director at Expense Reduction Analysts, about the consulting franchise industry. He gives key insights into becoming an Expense Reduction Analyst, the training that is provided and the potential of the business.
|Can you give an overview of the consulting franchise industry in the UK and speak a bit about how it has grown?
When our company entered the franchise market 15 years ago, there were little to no other consultancies. We found that most of the other franchises were either van, retail or fast food. There are far more ‘white collar’ franchise opportunities today as the industry has grown, and we have enjoyed the increased talent pool of people from a corporate background looking to utilise their skills within a consultancy like ours. Having people like these as a resource within our network is beneficial to our business, but also gives those from a professional background the opportunity to become self-employed whilst making use of the skills they have gained throughout their career.
What is your ERA business model?
Our model is based on effective ‘Cost, Purchase and Supplier Management’, focused on helping public and private sector organisations save money through realising optimum value from their suppliers that is sustainable over the longer term. The breadth of our expertise across various cost categories allows us to create cost, purchase and supplier management programmes that are truly bespoke, tailored to fit the needs of our individual clients. Our proven model is designed not only to uncover significant savings, but actually improve and add value to our client’s procurement processes.
Who are your typical clients that you provide business-to-business services to?
Our core market is companies with a turnover of £5-100 million, although we do have clients with a higher turnover than this. The beauty of our business is that effective procurement is a necessity in organisations of all sizes; we aren’t sector specific and our clients range from manufacturers and retailers through to educational institutions and non-profit organisations.
What exactly does an Expense Reduction Analyst do?
Our consultants work in partnership with their clients to evaluate their expenditure and identify categories where savings can be achieved, and then implement those savings whilst improving or at least maintaining the level of quality they are used to. Our franchise partners are trained in all areas of effective procurement, and this combined with their own knowledge and expertise enables them to provide unparalleled buying influence for their clients.
In which industries do they work?
We have over 150 consultants, all from different backgrounds, who bring a wealth of experience in a wide range of different categories; this allows us to work across all industries as effective procurement is vital in all organisations.
Do you need a financial background?
A background in finance is not essential in becoming a successful procurement consultant. Our franchises are a diverse collection of people, all from different backgrounds. Our model is tried and tested, and all that is required of the individual is the motivation to succeed and a desire to delight clients. That, combined with the appropriate depth of knowledge and understanding, and the core skills to connect with people, can build a successful and profitable business.
Can you explain the setup of the business? Can you work from home?
Office space is not a necessity with this franchise, and working from home is completely adequate, although we find that many of our franchisees work from home initially and go on to rent an office as their business progresses.
Is this franchise a low risk venture?
Our business is based on a proven, successful model and can operate with minimal overhead costs, so when combined with our extensive training, it offers very little risk. Expense Reduction Analysts has experienced success and growth in times of economic downturn as reducing procurement costs and saving money is increasingly important to businesses. Financial Directors and Chief Financial Officers are no longer looking for basic unit cost reductions, but instead strategic cost, purchase and supplier management programmes that are sustainable. This is where our client offering is ideal for delivering significant savings and adding value.
Can you explain in more detail the training provided?
We provide an extensive five week training programme including various courses on business development, client acquisition and project process, amongst other subjects. After the initial training is completed, our franchisees complete medium and long term modules on relationship management, appointment setting and networking. Our Training Academy provides ongoing support with a dedicated Academy Business Manager for franchisees for the first 12 months of their business.
What sort of marketing strategy is available to new franchisees?
We work with our franchisees to develop a detailed marketing strategy based on their individual objectives and business goals. In the 15 years our company has been going, we have established proven routes to market and supply marketing activity at group level. Our training programmes enable new franchisees to effectively promote themselves through self-generated marketing, networking and seminar events, and the Support Hub provide ongoing guidance and direction to ensure all franchisees are marketing themselves as powerfully as possible.