Husband and wife team Baz and Lynette Green started Virtual Head Office together three years ago.
Previously Baz has had a career in retail management, recruitment management and has also co-run his own construction company with a business partner. Lynette has had a career in sales and account management spanning nearly 20 years, including 12 years in recruitment, including running a recruitment business with Baz.
They have three young children and wanted to create a business for themselves and franchisees which would fit in around family life as well as providing an attractive income.
FranchiseExpo: Tell us about the Virtual Head Office concept.
Baz and Lynette: Virtual Head Office is a Pay As You Go head office for small businesses. The idea is that small businesses can get a full support team behind them, access to all office supplies and a business address for a fraction of the price of actually employing people or running an office themselves. It’s a head office without the price tag.
FranchiseExpo: What was your background prior to joining Virtual Head Office?
Baz and Lynette: Baz: I’m from a construction background, both as a recruiter of project management staff and as a director of a design and build fit out company. Lynette: I worked in recruitment for 12 years, specializing in recruiting HR Directors. The two of us had also run our own recruitment business.
FranchiseExpo: What are some of the advantages in being a Virtual Head Office franchisee?
Baz and Lynette: One of the main advantages is that you don’t actually have to perform any of the services yourself – they are all delivered centrally through our teams, this leaves more time to focus on business development and increases earning potential, particularly as most services are taken up on an ongoing basis, thereby providing a recurring income. The running costs are low so it offers a good return on investment. Plus it is a truly unique and innovative franchise.
FranchiseExpo: Who is your ideal franchisee?
Baz and Lynette: One of the nice things for us as franchisors is that we can look at people from a whole range of backgrounds – all the services are delivered centrally through our own teams, so we don’t need to find franchisees with experience, or even extensive knowledge of the industry as we do provide full training. But what is essential is that any franchisee is a people person.
FranchiseExpo: Tell us a little about the market?
Baz and Lynette: Virtual Head Office primarily supports the micro business market (those with 1-9 employees) and this market is not only considerable and strong, but also still growing. The estimated number of private businesses in the UK increased for the 12th year in a row to reach 4.8 million by the start of 2012, that’s 253,000 more than a year previously and 1.3 million more than at the start of 2000.
FranchiseExpo: What are some of the greatest lessons you have learned in growing this Franchise?
Baz and Lynette: Making something look easy and seamless can be a lot of hard work behind the scenes to make it easy for the franchisees. It’s been harder work setting up all the procedures and policies than we had anticipated but it’s worth getting things in place right from the start.
FranchiseExpo: Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration?
Baz and Lynette: For us two working together is a great source of strength for both of us. We both really mentor and coach each other and are working towards the same goals professionally and personally.
FranchiseExpo: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise?
Baz and Lynette: You can’t do enough research. Take your time having a good look around the market place to find the ideal business for you. This is a long term commitment so make your decision about both a business and a franchisor that you are comfortable with.
FranchiseExpo: In your opinion, why do you think that Virtual Head Office would be a great opportunity for someone?
Baz and Lynette: This is a growth market, not only in terms of numbers of micro businesses, but also there is a trend towards outsourcing in general so the time is really right to take this franchise to the market. It is a truly unique opportunity which offers a recurring income and great cross selling potential.