Sarah Trotman and Associates is taking its business support offerings international, packaging its Small Business Expo with the Your Business, Your Way magazine and the Excellence in Business Support Awards under a new brand, Bizzone.
Australia is the first country to be offered franchises in the Bizzone business support package, with company owner Sarah Trotman saying she hopes to have five regional franchisees there by 2010.
A recent visit to the UK began as a mission to find similar offerings to base its growth plans on, but ended up making her realise that her company’s offerings were world class and worthy of expansion.
“We seem to have really cracked the model,” she says. “We understand how the business owner thinks because we’re business owners ourselves.”
Before branching into Australia the company needed to ensure the franchise model would be successful, and this required a distinct brand for its business support package.
“We had three initiatives branded differently, but targeted at the same audience. The small business expo was a descriptor, so anyone could start up a small business expo. We found it was so successful, other people were starting them up and tarnishing our brand when they weren’t successful.”
Trotman says there are 1.8 million businesses in Australia with fewer than 19 staff. Her firm invested about $200,000 in researching the model, studying the feasibility of entering the Australian market, providing information for prospective franchisees, writing manuals and compiling a support package for franchisees.
The company was also recently rated at 29 in the Deloitte Fast 50 rankings of fast-growing businesses.
The Bizzone Business Expo 2009
Auckland: 27-29 May
Wellington: 22-24 July
Christchurch: 5-7 August