It's not uncommon for a firm of accountants to consider the idea of focusing on and marketing to a niche sector, or to even focus on several niche sectors.
But how do you successfully grow a niche-focused accountancy firm?
In this podcast discussion with Carl Reader you'll hear Carl unpack some of the deep, valuable, insightful ways that he and his team at d&t Chartered Accountants have come to dominate the franchise sector, with a significant percentage of their total clients in that particular sector.
So, if you're interested in the power of niche marketing and focusing your firm on a niche, take time out to listen to Carl and I, as Carl reveals the deepest of insights about his approach to his niche and how it's paid off for his firm. Why not see what you think could and should work in your firm, so that you can get some real value out of listening to this Humanise The Numbers podcast.
It's a fascinating discussion with Carl. I can't believe how generous he was! I hope you get as much out of it as I did.
"Marketing to a niche, is not about marketing to them at all!
"The marketing is dead simple. You get a domain name that's related to that industry, you work out what your USP is, you sell it.
"But actually the way you dominate a niche isn't by having a page for a sector on your website, the way you dominate a niche is by truly getting the niche, by understanding what it is that they want, that others can't deliver, then you deliver it, then you close the gate behind you."
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TRANSCRIPT - unedited
Carl Reader: [00:00:00] Welcome
Paul Shrimpling: to the humanized, the numbers podcast, series leaders, managers, and owners of ambitious accounting firms, sharing insights, successes, and issues that will challenge you and connect you and your firm to the ways and means of transforming your
Carl Reader: firms. Marketing to a niche, but it's not about marketing to them at all.
The marketing is dead simple. You get a domain name, but that's related to that industry. You work out what USP is. You said it, but actually the way you dominate a niche, isn't by having a page for a sector on your website. But why you dominate a niche is by truly getting the niche by understanding what it is, but they want the others can't deliver when you deliver it.
When you close the gate behind. How do you
Paul Shrimpling: successfully
Carl Reader: grow a
Paul Shrimpling: niche focused accountancy firm? In fact, a better question would be how do you grow a [00:01:00] nice accountancy firm that completely dominates the niche so that other accountancy firms don't even want to touch the niche you're in? Well on this podcast discussion with Carl reader, and this is podcast two of two podcasts with Carl.
You'll hear culture. Some amazing deep and granular insights into the things that he has done to grow in two separate niches and to completely dominate those niches. Let's go to that podcast
Carl Reader: discussion with Carl now.
Paul Shrimpling: Okay. I want to I want to change tack slightly and go. How come you've zeroed in on one particular specialism?
What's the history behind.
Carl Reader: Yeah, sure. So, so look, Paul, when I joined DNT, so I joined DMT as a staffer and I joined firm in 2002. I started in the accounting world in 1997. I started for a very small firm in Essex. [00:02:00] And I joined as a 16 year old, very wet beehive years. And when I joined, I had no idea what an accountant was, what accountancy was.
You have no, no concept of this stuff at all. I was, you know, don't get me wrong. I, I sounded like a beat up my past and I should say on the flip side, but I was really fortunate enough to have a grammar school education. You know, as I won the postcode lottery, I did go to grammar school. And then at the age of 15, I decided that I knew best and I was going to do a wide chest in hairdressing and I ditched it all and it went a bit messy, but it was down to Maya, Maya.
Poor thinking and anything else. But anyway, I was I was really fortunate at the age of 16. I dropped into an accounting firm without any, I guess, family professional background without any real understanding of business. But I got there learned, learned, portrayed, but I, I actually discovered, and this is something that my old boss, Andrew [00:03:00] knows.
But I don't think anyone else knows, but after about two or three years, I was really bored and I hated accountancy. I was just, it was driving me mad because. I now know I'm ADHD and ADHD doesn't work in a room adding up numbers, not speaking to anyone, it just not a good combo. But what I really did enjoy Paul was going out, meeting people and I started doing training.
So I was taking business owners from their green simplex books. If you remember them, I had cash books and I was teaching them about how they can put it onto Microsoft Excel on to say Sterling or. Any of the tools around at the time, for me, it was an excuse to go out after crafty fag, meet a client, have a chat with them and a few hours away from what I found quite an oppressive environment, we're not joined D and T as a staffer.
I have two babies. There is a reason why I'm sharing all of this, but I'll show DMT the staffer. I joined in 2002 and I was really fortunate that the guy who [00:04:00] interviewed me at the time had a personnel. And I matter of a nicest possible way, but let's be honest. Most accountants, if you close your eyes and think of a stereotypical accountant, personality is not the first thing that comes to mind.
Paul Shrimpling: They hide behind it rather than putting it at the front
Carl Reader: taillight. Yeah. But this was a guy he's extremely charismatic and we just, yeah, we got a lot of house on fire and we were chatting and I was talking about what I believed an accountant should be doing. And we, we kind of have the informal agreement between.
Well, I wasn't going to do any accounts. It was kind of the unspoken, but I would just find, find my own role in the business and very quickly within the business. So 2002, I joined very quickly. I found my own bowl and that was for martial arts schools. There was a bunch of about 25 or so clients, I would say that this accountant had taken.
He saw them as a bit beneath him to be honest, because he had outgrown [00:05:00] vermin. He was starting to take on 10 million turnover clients, 20 million turnover clients. And these be 50,000 turnover. Martial arts schools were a bit, yeah, they were legacy. And he had got them because he had trained in martial arts.
So guess who got handed these clients to look after? Because I wasn't going to be going out to the audience of a 10 million pound turnover client. Sure. I took me to about sharp schools and it was like quite simply a match made in heaven. They were. Yeah. And again, this sounds very poor plush and I'm sure the PC crowd wrote like this bow blokes like me, they were all blokes.
They were all from my age up to 10 years older. So at that time that was 21, 22, so valuable in their twenties or thirties. Sure. Similar interests and. Yeah, just, I gel with them. They were all over the country and I just, I just made it my mission to get to know these people [00:06:00] because I won't admit it to them, but I found them really inspirational.
I found that their personal and their personal journeys, most of them had been bullied. But her taken on karate is something like the age of seven or eight to overcome their personal bullying. And they may become a black belt. They may might have competed, I bet UK or world level Ben met teaching others to teach, but they all had a keen sense of personal development.
So. I learned from them about things like, yeah. These crazy names of American sites, 60 glow employee and Tracy and Jim Roan and so on. Brilliant. So I was really fortunate because I was driving around the country, listening to these audio books. Having the world's best education, you know, far better than most few months of school vibe bunked off of I was having the world's best education meeting these people, but also overseeing time.
And what I, what I didn't intentionally do, I was really getting [00:07:00] under the skin of that weld. I was beginning to understand really simply if I turned up to a martial arts school, I would know Paul, the demographics of LA. Yeah, fairly simple. You look out the window, this looks a bit of a dodgy area. Go down this area.
This looks like quite a leafy area. I got, I got to know the types of school that flourished in different demographics. I got to know the territories, but they could kind of go to, I began to understand where their territories would be. Because know if we, if we look at a a suburban or rural area, you won't go past your dual carriageway.
However, if you're looking at London, it's more about beetroot mapping. So, so I was learning all this stuff. I was learning for simple things that I could look at a dojo and visualize how many kids could be training at any one time. I began to understand the teacher pupil base SHEEO. I began to understand.
How they could commercialize some of their other revenues, how they could package up their [00:08:00] products, all this stuff. But before long I'd become so absorbed in that world had got to know the suppliers. I'd got to know all of the influential, what associations and so on. I got on the board at the martial arts standards agency to invite the child protection codes and so on.
Got involved in the setup of the federated TaeKwonDo. Wow. So you've touched on rugby earlier, union rugby league. I understand that like fish, it's a real conflict between them. You don't want to know what TaeKwonDo is like because it's North Korea versus South Korea. So I am a little known fact about me.
I'm banned from one of the careers, but I don't know which in federating this body. And I upset somebody along the way. At tobacco that the Grandmaster passed away and didn't pass on his type of TaeKwonDo to someone else properly. And it became very messy. But I got involved in joining and federating TaeKwonDo to achieve Olympic funding, got involved in the initial setup of the British kickboxing council and so on.
So [00:09:00] I've got a vast experience, but what happened? I became so integrated in that world, but I was the only. If somebody wanted an accountant who served martial art schools, what are they going to go anywhere else? Because they could be, could have gone to another practice and paid probably the same amount.
Maybe a bit less. Yeah. And had very generic business advice. Or they could go to the Gabi Essex boy, who knows where they can buy the cheapest uniforms based on the style of art that they're teaching, who could tell them exactly how much they should be paying for their halls could pick up the phone to their dietetic action agency.
If there's a problem, because I know them all on first name terms, it became a no plaintiff. And inadvertently I'd built what I call a micro niche because it's not even a niche, but it's only, let's say a thousand martial arts schools in the [00:10:00] UK, our peak him at world. We looked after 250 of them and for businesses, but would ordinarily pay a few hundred quid to their previous accountant.
We were able to charge thousands. But we were delivering far more than a set of accounts and the tax return. We were a bad trustee planning business. So that was when we first understood the power of niching. And then in 2004, one of those martial arts schools wanted to start franchising and that's where the franchising journey began.
Paul Shrimpling: So. Interpreting that is, there was a journey from ignorance around martial arts to I've written the word expert, which seems a bit too lightweight to describe what you've just described. You know, if you get to a place where you're influencing what's going on and within Olympic funding, as well as influencing the Federation and.
How long did that journey take call from being ignorant of that world to being [00:11:00] the go-to? The only choice in that space, how long did that take?
Carl Reader: Wow. In total, I'm just about four years. It wasn't long or really right. W what you need to remember is when most accountants look at niche markets, let's be honest by do what SWAT or 2020, or Mercier of a training glutes are available.
They do a Beethoven. And there's a course on become an expert in academies. So guess what? Every accountant puts on their website, we are experts in academies. I measure tens of thousands of academies and tens of thousands of experts and that sweet spot isn't aligned because it was a micro-niche.
There was only a thousand I'm usually in England. Yeah. What other accountant would ever think of specializing in an industry of a thousand businesses. You just wouldn't do it. But, you know, I guess I was the naive one who bought martial arts accounts.com and started fighting for martial arts in Australia, all of this stuff.
And it was. [00:12:00] It was a lot of legwork. Don't get me wrong. And a lot of getting to know people, a lot of wining and dining, a lot of going to events, and I've never done martial arts in my life. I'm not a martial artist. So I had to integrate myself into an industry that I didn't really understand, and I didn't have an emotional connection with, but before, long as you say, I just became a a central part of that industry, I guess.
Paul Shrimpling: But by the way, describe that is you, were, you put in articles in the key magazines or the key websites if it was, you know, contemporary now I'm curious now, though, what, what scale of total fees did you build off once you became, you know, serving 250 of them in a, in a, a Mark Day,
Carl Reader: 25% market dominations.
Pretty, pretty impressive. Isn't it?
Paul Shrimpling: But what was, what was the total fee base of you re.
Carl Reader: Not there's a big I'm going to guess a game. This is finger in the air about half a million max, right? [00:13:00] I would say that's where we kept out and where we kept out. We we did a lot of VAT work as well. So we were claiming retrospectively funds and obtaining VAT rulings.
He moved the goalposts on it. Also, it wasn't something we were able to continue doing, but we had a fair amount of. W w we call true value work, but it was putting pounds, shillings and Pence in our client's bank accounts, we were charging 25% of it. So that was quite a, quite a lucrative business model versus the norm for a traditional firm.
But yeah, those were certainly more than enough in even what is quite a micro industry for sole plaque to have. Yeah. Business. Yeah. Well, and it's
Paul Shrimpling: still core of a 2 million pound
Carl Reader: turnover business as well.
Paul Shrimpling: They did. So it's like, you know, all right. If you take it seriously and go deep into that micro niche, you know, the niche within a niche concept, everyone talks about niche marketing.
Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. The [00:14:00] niche within a niche enables you to really dominate like you does it, you know, like you clearly did in that,
Carl Reader: in that specificity. And I just want to pick out the niche marketing thing, because that is a big phrase, but it's used it is isn't it use the lapsing to a niche. That's not marketing to them at all, but marketing is dead simple.
You get a domain name, but that's related to that industry. You work out what your USP is, you sell it, but actually the way you dominate a niche, isn't by having a patron, a sector on your web. But why you dominate a niche is by truly getting the niche by understanding what it is, but they want the others can't deliver when you deliver, if any, close the gate before.
Well, it's great. But metaphorically,
Paul Shrimpling: how do you close the gate behind you? What, what do you need,
Carl Reader: or you're picking for my cook? All my tips here now. So let's talk about franchising. Yeah. Cause I think in franchising we had [00:15:00] to more actively step up and close the gate and I'm happy to share some of the stuff, but we did so franchising 2004 at the NEC.
I was there with my martial arts client. By that point we were doing online accounting and so on, and I'm sure we might come to a different point. But anyway I was at the NEC and we obviously, I didn't know anyone, I didn't know about franchising, but I had this light bulb moment that there must be some value in an accountant serving the franchise relationship in some way.
So not serving franchise or not serving franchise. But serving the relationship. And I could see that there were franchise lawyers and there was a couple of franchise accountants exhibiting quite a baby with, and a couple of others. And I was looking at, and I was thinking, you know what? We could do that we could be stood, bare appetizing today with the same messages we do the same stuff, but why would anyone come to our stand?
I met you. I met a few [00:16:00] franchise owners that day, but, but actually the bug had got inside me. And over time I was thinking about how can we make this franchising thing? And I just kept turning up to the events in 2007, we took on our first major franchise network, which was stagecoach visual arts. So stagecoach are in the top 10, I believe.
Yeah, they're still, they're still a part of our. Franchise all level. And we still look after the vast majority of our franchisees. That's
Paul Shrimpling: very personal that car. Cause my, my sister is a singing coach within
Carl Reader: she has done, she
Paul Shrimpling: works in universities and what have you now as well, but she still does some bits and pieces within stagecoach.
Carl Reader: yeah. So stagecoach was a phenomenal organization. Yeah. I learned so much from them personally because I'm their founder, David speck, who sadly passed away this year. And he's one or two people who I put down my I guess what I've done in franchisee. I put it down to them. They were [00:17:00] POC at the time and I had this vision of what a PLC would be.
And that vision was shaped by what I learned at business studies at school at GCSE, which was big glass buildings and so on. And you know, he's a, pop-up. And you went in to be all faced. It was a normal business. I was able to sit down with him after chat. We talk about cars and all of this stuff, and it was just, it was just normal.
Anyway. So we took on a stage coach, which is on stage coach who direct mail all. We dive at Mount fare franchisees and this was in 2007. So bear in mind. This was when everybody was saying, dive at is, is dead. Don't do it. Everybody was saying email marketing to Wayfair. Well, we direct mailed and we, we sent 200 letters out to 200 fair franchisees.
All 200 got sent to head office, say in oil head office, if you sold LDT, All right. We had a chat with David and it was very confrontational at first. What the hell are you doing? Contacting our franchisees. But over time, [00:18:00] we we actually won that network and bought, bought on the home network on board.
Funnily enough, I didn't get. What our USP, what our hook was. He met weld. At first I thought we were going to take on stage coach PLC, or we've never looked after a PLC before they're been serviced by KPMG van listed on the eight market. I was off my head. I didn't have a clue, but that probably shows how bad an accountant I am.
I then looked at their VAT compliance because there was a a VAT case for subway where bad treatment in one business got shot paid across the network. Anyway, long story short, when we started working for them, we realized what the hook was and the hook was, but franchisers didn't have a clue of what was going on in their franchisees business, but we only understood that when we got into the work into the big net, And we realized, but yeah, much, like I mentioned, with the martial arts world, where we knew all the suppliers and someone in the franchising world on a [00:19:00] franchise by franchise basis, it takes stagecoach.
We knew that Lester Bowden was supplying all the all the t-shirts and so on. Or we knew that consider this we're doing over-marketing or you're all of these individual companies. And they all have individual contracts with individual franchisees, but these businesses were supposed to be templated.
They were supposed to be a model. It was supposed to be a business in a box. Yeah. We started benchmarking. We started understanding the drivers of success in the very best franchisees. What could we take and replicate in other franchisees, we started really getting under the skin of how these businesses work.
What determines success, what determines failure. I mean, trying to understand, not just moving results perspective, but from an activity perspective, what is B minimum activity that starts driving results and the maximum activity that caps out the benefit for their territory. [00:20:00] So, what I mean by that is, let's say, Paul, you and I decided to start a business and we're selling dancing.
We stagecoach with dancing and singing and visual arts, and we're going to start dropping leaflets and we've got the territory of Darby. So we're in Darby, or we could do a leaflet drop if we drop one leaflet, it's not worth our time getting in the car because conversion rates. And so on means that we're probably going to get point not to have.
Hmm, it's not going to happen. If we were to drop I know 300,000 leaflets in Darby, it's not going to work because we're probably going to be dropping three leaflets through everybody's door. So if there's an optimum level, that's probably somewhere between 50,000 and a hundred thousand leaflets, that would be via effective.
It, the effective range, the effective area for that campaign. So we tried to understood in those. In both parameters, how that looked [00:21:00] for their hiring their halls in their churches and how that looked for their marketing look, all of this. So we got really understand the business and then very simply we've.
We started to build some software to help automate some of that process. And we became the I guess the central hub or on a network by network basis. So how do we close the gate on the wider India? Right. Yeah. You should have a question that you asked because I've found a really long way to have, and at this point, bear in mind, we are an essential control system at franchise all level.
So we've got a hub and spoke relationship. You've only got one really strong relationship, but we need to maintain, but it's worth 200,000 pounds worth of turnover per year. We've we've become very sticky on the network basis. How do we bring that out to the wide of industry? Really simple in our business, we have what we call our five-star.
And our five stars are the stakeholders. [00:22:00] Yeah. That would be the normal management speak for this. So we have our partners at . So a team at very top, we then have our partners, as you imagine, the sort of the second point of the star. And then the point on the other side of a staff is the markets that we serve.
So we ranked for market at parity to our part. Okay. Whereas most people for the market would be far lower. We then have community and industry. Right. So if you mentioned the star at the top, you've got the team, you've been got partners at the same bank in this market, and then the final two points, community and industry.
Okay. Got it. Notably myself and Ben B2 shareholders. Aren't on that at all. We did we felt, but if we got, if we serve the other five points of a star, that it would just naturally drop out to us at some point. But serving the market older, the equivalent basis to how we serve our partners, I guess was key.
So what would [00:23:00] we do to serve the franchising industry? First of all, At a very micro level, we were giving back. So we were providing thought leadership content speaking up the opening of an envelope and so on just to genuinely give best practice and feedback to the wider industry. So we'd like to improve the trade press.
We got to know the people behind it. We were speaking to all the BFA events and so on. So that was the first layer. The second layer was getting actively involved in the trade. So I personally became very involved in the British franchise association from being an active, not, not supporter. I'll be very supportive of the BFA, but a critical friend of a BFR.
Finding ways that the BFA could include finding ways for the BFA could refine its message, improve resonance with the market and ultimately become a force for good. That meant led to me being involved on the committees. And then in turn, getting onto the board of a BFA. The short [00:24:00] answer for how we closed the gate.
I started off the applications for affiliates.
Okay. Yeah. That's very cheeky. You know, of course, of course I'll fill out good affiliates free. But yeah, so I got involved from a governance perspective from the BFA fully involved, internationally. So whilst there was no immediate winner available for us. I became very active on the international tan charging scene, not just for UK franchisees.
So I went out to New York franchise shows the Anaheim franchise show you know, Dubai, Istanbul, Poland, Frankfurt, or all of these franchise shows. Why did I do it, Paul? Yes, there was a chance of winning a network, but we're going to come to the UK, but quite frankly, I wanted half of accountants to see me on social media patio.
We're not going to spend 10 grand in a couple of weeks to IMAP. Yeah, we, we increased the perceived barriers to entry. Right. [00:25:00] It also then actually ended up giving us work because we've now got an international network. So when anyone's thinking of franchising into the UK, who is for first port of call before it even gets to a franchise consultants.
Yeah. So it's about help us back. We then looked. So we've got that. We've got the, we've got the governance, we've got the international stuff and the perceived barriers we had our software, which I touched on earlier, we developed our own tool called the franchising dashboard because we believe that.
Longer longer range for tax returns and accounts are going to drop out for us. But actually the data across a network is really powerful for us. So we've got a big vision on what the data of who the franchisees are buying from the bulk buying abilities, all of that stuff. We think that. Huge areas for virtualization of a franchise management process which we just think there's a huge, really, really valuable win-win across the board [00:26:00] there.
So we've got our technological developments for no one else has got, because it's proprietary. If, if you're a network that doesn't use DMT, you don't get it. If your franchisees aren't using us, you don't get. Finally. So we we've got all, all of those and I've actually forgotten my final point, but then there was another one I'm promise.
I'm not holding back the goodies there you're clearly
Paul Shrimpling: not you clearly not. So in terms of, you know, closing the gate, we've got give back whether it be through thought leadership or investing in the publications. And part of that is. So UK trade body. So, which, and my question, which flushed through my head, when you describing that, is that, that, that requires a human contact with one or two or more people that you nurture.
Doesn't it? So, so you live zeroed in on somewhat. How, how did you make that happen? Was it deliberate or accidental?
Carl Reader: It was deliberate by that point, you know, I did, I did get a few brain cells along the way. I like to say things intelligent. I mean, everything's accidental, but those are a few points of inspiration where we [00:27:00] realized, but we needed to be or we needed to base a few replicate what we had done by accident in the martial arts world.
Yeah. So we, first of all, we engage just as members, you know, we signed up as members because we felt it was what we needed to do and. Pull deep down, I'm an accountant in terms of being tired. You know, I'm not an accountant in many ways, but being, I am. And whilst there was probably 60 law firms who paid three grand a year for this badge, but they have on their website, they have a sector page we've been clenched rising, and they don't have a single franchising customer.
To me I've painfully Glen. I was going to milk that food. It was worth. Yeah. So the Milky way of it and turning up to all of the events and so on naturally led to the relationships building and, oh, you're the accountant who keeps turning up. Do you fancy talking about accountancy and it kind of evolved from there.
Brilliant. So that was back there, but the human point [00:28:00] is it's also another way of closing the gate. Eh, our MD wasn't recruited for an agency. He was a mate and I just made a lot of friends in that world. I got to know all of the franchise rules on a personal level. Yeah we just got to know the people.
If, if somebody is looking for a new job in franchising, they will typically phoned me up. And if somebody is looking for a new employee in franchising will phone me up because it's a small village and we all know each other. Yeah,
Paul Shrimpling: but that, that, that small village mentality and outlook forces you, doesn't it to maintain a, nurture the key relationships, if not all relationships, because everyone knows everyone else
Carl Reader: massively.
And you know, we've had huge competition in that world. So KPMG where our biggest one. Very small business accounting, Willy waving exercise. And apologies if that goes beyond your swear filter, but I don't, I've won. We you know, when KPMG came in, [00:29:00] we saw that it was a 50 grand problem. And what I mean by 50 grand problem was what we were going to have to ramp up our sponsorships and our presence.
We're pretty good when we do it. When we do an exhibition or a trade show, we're pretty good at making it. And we can 250 quick for just a pop up banner stand and make it look like it's our confidence, not just what we're platinum sponsors it's, but D and T conference at the BFA or turning up to we weren't, we were good at creating a viable bus, but we realized we would have to start sponsoring and so on.
So that was challenging, but we found that we were unaffected by them. They did not take a single client from us and in the market, they won the payroll of one network and that was it. You know, we had enough spies on the ground to tell us what was going on. PWC tried to be my finance partner, Deloitte and Touche or Deloitte, should I say they are.
Brady day or vacation consultant to review the franchisee market and decide if they couldn't compete against us. So we add all of the big players trying to [00:30:00] get in. We have little players trying to get in, but because, because of the relationships and the depth of experience and knowledge, and just being part of that world, it's really tough for someone to get in.
Paul Shrimpling: Yeah, amazing. Amazing. Carl, you said it took four years for you to be gone, go from, you know, ignorant in the martial arts world to becoming the dominant player, the go-to player. Why would you go anywhere else? How long did it take in the larger field of UK franchise into gate? You know, not ignorance cause you, you knew because of the martial arts X expertise, I get that.
So you weren't completely ignorant, but to go to a place where you are the dominant player that, you know you know, growls at KPMG and Deloitte and they go
Carl Reader: away, how long did that take? Do you know what? You've asked me that it's the first time I've fought for years again. Really? Yeah. And I had no idea, so I'm glad you've asked me that.
Right. So it only sort of very different though, right? Of [00:31:00] course. So four years in martial arts was without, without knowledge or intention merely. Yeah. Actually it's not accidental, but you know yeah. Yeah. The four years in franchising was with a kind of a playbook to make it happen. Yeah. And you know, 2007 was when we first started really playing in it, we say 2004, 2007, when we won our first network.
Right. It was four years after four years, we probably had about 60 networks that we were looking at. In total, in the UK, the survey quotes of as 900 networks, we believe the addressable market is about 600. And that's about 44,000 businesses. But, but look, the, the simple, I guess, the maths of marketing to a niche or servicing a niche, or however you want to phrase it, our local town that we serve is Swindon.
Okay. In Swindon there's 2000 businesses. There's about 70 firms of accountants [00:32:00] in franchising. There's probably three firms of accountants and we are by far the leading firm in terms of client numbers and on all other metrics. In fact, we're with the biggest professional advisors to the franchising space globally, we believe, obviously it's really hard to tell without phoning up each one, but we believe we are the largest globally.
But there's 44,000 businesses, mostly accountants. Yeah, why would we not specialize? We have to be on to think, but it's not worth going all in on this and chopping all our chips and giving it a good go. Now, chuckling, all our chips meant violet as a business. It cost us a hell of a lot to get. No sacrificed profit share to to invest because millions to really get traction in that world of overtime, overtime, overtime.
Absolutely. Yeah. I've remembered the other closing of the gate that we did. So we extended our services as well. So we we're now being [00:33:00] in fact, we are the largest independent funder of franchises in the UK. Wow. So a good part of how new business every month now is asset finance. Right. You know, none of this messing around with refinancing existing clients and where the accounting world tends to get stuck on, you know wining and dining bank managers or loan comparison sites.
We've got a team of funders who are funding fleets are fans they're funding. Shop fit out spare funding, kitchen. Month in month out. And what was it with that? And I guess be the logic behind closing the gate on that was what we wanted to find something, but our partners wanted, because they don't want tax returns.
They don't want accounts, but in choose to have this stuff, what do they want? They want their shiny new kitchen. They want their shop to open. They want beside bit and vans. So if we can make that stuff happened to them. [00:34:00] Then within the business plan, without any question we culture we're contracted improve with franchise agreement.
Anyway, we've been ethically or mobily contracted in because we've helped them out as well. We get. Why wouldn't Matt kick off the relationship in very best way. And the magic pool down the line, we can compare plans versus activity. Yeah. Accounts would see 1 0 1.
Paul Shrimpling: Yeah. Yeah. Which is, you know, back to the full circle, ran to accountability again, I guess on the, on the, on the, on the, on the whole conversation Really appreciate your time and your effort, your energy today.
It's been outstanding. Thank you very, very much.
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Carl Reader: of.
Paul Shrimpling: Sakara. I know you've recently done the hard graft of writing your own in-depth book, bought it if I've got that. Right. And I've had the great privilege of of, of pulling out one or two quotes and using them on presentations, always referencing you by the way. Tell me what was the kernel and the reason for starting that process and, and, and,
Carl Reader: So I'm really glad that you've referenced.
Basit quotes to me because I probably nicked them from someone else. So thank you very much. I probably shouldn't admit that that, Hey there's probably little bits of [00:36:00] visual these days. Absolutely. What was the driver behind boss? It, I so I broke my first book start-up coach in 20 14, 20 15. And to be honest, Paul, I wanted to redo the startup coach.
I wanted to. Make it something that I would want to eat, but more importantly to me, something my kids would want to meet. So I wanted it to be a letter to my kids. And I guess for textbook, that's not giving us scores. So for me personally, there's a couple of things that really drive me. So the first one is poverty alleviation.
And I believe particularly for kids. And I know I shouldn't discriminate, but I do work with the Trussell trust and with Buttle, they're both of our poverty alleviation. And my view is, but no kid chooses to be in poverty. If a parents might make choices, but lead to it, but the kids don't choose and they will have to be given a fair start in life.
I remember [00:37:00] second is entrepreneurship at a young age because. I believe that for many people, entrepreneurship is a very not an easy way, but it's a way out of poverty and it's a way to build so many life skills for can help you, even if you don't end up being Richard Branson. It kind of hit my sweet spot there as well.
So about for combination was trying to, trying to serve people, trying to get people out of tricky situations, but giving the next generation hope that they could do something. But the challenge we've got is, but there's no textbook for business at score. When I do business stuff. If you'd have asked me what business was, it was all shiny glass buildings and share valuations and so on it, wasn't the reality of buying something for five and selling it for a tenner.
So willing to create that, that basic textbook on how to start a business. But I also didn't want it to be a textbook because startup coach was a textbook. I wanted it to be a combination of checklists, but also cheerleading. [00:38:00] Yeah. It's motivation and the inspiration as well as application. And hopefully I hit the spot.
It was best-selling in wh misfiring mum. I keep seeing it in every railway
Paul Shrimpling: station I go in. It was a brilliant car. Really appreciate your time and your effort and your energy today. It's been outstanding. Thank
Carl Reader: you very much. Thank you, Paul. Have an awesome weekend and enjoy refereeing.
How long did it take to become an expert?
How to close the gate
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