Whilst we are thrilled about this, we never lose sight of the fact that the truest measures of Ed’s success are the individual success stories of our operators. We value them above all else, and continuously strive to get everything just right to support them to make their garden maintenance businesses all that they want them to be.
We have thought long and hard about the best ways to provide our operators with all the guidance and support they need throughout their Ed’s journey. We know that some other franchise operations, as they grow larger, move to a ‘regional’ management structure, where franchisees are put into regional teams reporting into a regional head. However, to go down that route just didn’t feel right for us - at Ed’s we really don’t like to do things too ‘corporate’ as it just doesn’t fit well with our culture, which is all about delivering excellent gardening services whilst having fun, freedom and flexibilty to shape things as you wish. We work closely with our business owners and regard our team as one big Ed’s family.
In line with this thinking, we have developed a unique approach to supporting our operators to reach their own goals. There are three key building blocks which fit together to provide all the support they need:
- Excellent and continuous training - Of course, it goes without saying that we provide a great initial training package in all aspects of running an Ed’s business. However, just as importantly, we believe that training should be a continuous process which, if it is taken seriously by both franchisor and franchisee, contributes greatly to keeping operators’ business thinking fresh and their motivation levels high.
- Bespoke business coaching – We provide every operator with tailored one-to-one business coaching with our in-house experienced business coach from the day they join Ed’s. It’s easy to see how this service is hugely helpful when you are starting up and you are still learning the ropes. However, as Ed’s businesses flourishes and new challenges emerge, business coaching is valued by even our most experienced operators. It creates the right conditions for operators to step back from their businesses and consider the best ways to tackle challenges, to meet goals and to draw on shared experiences across our network. We make it optional after the first few months with Ed’s, but it is testament to its effectiveness that not one operator in our network has opted out of it.
- Buddying - We have a buddying system which is as simple a concept as it sounds but is extremely effective. Whenever a new operator joins Ed’s, we immediately partner them up with an established and successful operator who becomes their informal mentor. For example, Simon joined us just a few weeks ago to build his Ed’s business in Torbay, Devon and he has already been paired up with and has spent time with Paul, who is running a thriving business in Bristol. We find that this approach works brilliantly - the new operator has direct access to the knowledge and experience of someone who has been in their shoes not all that long ago. The established operators benefit from the relationship as well. As Steve Frise, one of our most experienced Ed’s operators, says: “The new guys can be really good to discuss things with from my perspective too – they are fresh to the business and can have great ideas which they just haven’t put in place yet. It’s a win-win really.”
So that’s the potted version of how we help our Ed’s operators to run their own successful businesses with an excellent and reassuring safety net. Our support framework is very structured and rigorous but handled in a flexible, friendly and informal way - and it sits very well with our values. Some might say it’s ‘belt and braces’ but we really wouldn’t be happy with anything less - why would we be when it is such an important thing to get right?