How to join a franchise without losing your freedom

To franchise or not to franchise … that is the question. (At least it is for brokers seeking support for growth).

But not all franchise businesses are the same. Since the concept of franchising materialised in Australia more than 50 years ago, everyone from juice bars to personal tax houses has interpreted franchising in different ways.

We interpreted franchising differently for brokers, offering an environment where:

  • brokers keep the rewards of their work, even if they leave
  • partnerships are created, not just agreements
  • family comes before banks

Freedom to do what you want

When you choose a franchisor, you’re aligning your business to their values, ways and their potential to support your growth. It’s a massive show of faith.

But your decision shouldn’t forfeit your freedom.

When we designed Loan Market’s franchise agreements years ago, we did something different in our industry, and many other industries, for that matter.

It’s up to the franchisor to honour that faith. And if they don’t, you should be able to leave – and with what you built, as well.

So if we don’t live up to expectations, a business owner can leave and take their clients and their trail with them. And there’s no penalties, either.

We, as the franchisor, are not entitled to a broker’s trail for life. We know that if we add value to our franchisees’ businesses – just as they add value to their clients’ interests – then they’ll stay in our family.

We’re driven to make our businesses better. Because when they succeed, so do we.

Be your own boss, but never on your own

What if a broker group could be more than an aggregator? Could they be a partner for the businesses at the coalface?

Absolutely. And it should be a pledge, not a proposition.

A franchisor should be an advocate for their brokers, pleading a case in the hallways their on-the-ground members aren’t invited to. Over the last several years, Loan Market has lobbied Royal Commission and legislators to protect the vital role of brokers in the financial eco-system.

CAPTION: Sam White, Executive Chairman of Loan Market speaks with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Perth ahead of the 2019 Federal Election.

We’ve also used our scale and community relationships to marshall grass-roots activation through the #brokersworkforyou social media campaign.

After a long period of uncertainty, these partnerships have preserved the industry’s future. And these partnerships are for life.

An aggregator should also protect brokers amidst ever-changing compliance. They should keep them safe from threats that threaten their business. We keep our brokers safe through regular compliance training, communication and education on standards that they simply would receive working on their own.

A franchisor that feels like family … because it is

Loan Market is different from other aggregators. We’re 100% family-owned … we have no bank ownership.

It’s why so many husband and wife teams choose our network. In many instances, we’ve even seen their children follow them into the Loan Market family, as well.

Not being owned by a bank or operating as a listed company means we can move fast. If something isn’t working, or no longer reflects our company values, we can change it. This can be an issue in public companies.

Flexibility to work where you want

The other big difference is that we have no restraints on where franchisees can trade — there are no territories or “no-go” zones. Particularly with mortgages — more so than most businesses — clients come from referrals, and they can come from anywhere. It’s about customer relationships, and those relationships by definition don’t have territories.

Delivering resources that drive brokers’ businesses

An aggregator opens up choice for brokers that they couldn’t realise on their own: connections to hundreds of lenders, products and resulting choice for customers. (I’m proud to say that a poll* of 550 industry brokers ranked Loan Market’s lender panel as the best in the game).

In marketing, a franchisor should offer brokers solutions to building their brand that drive consumer behaviour and offer flexibility.

Loan Market uses marketing automation to support the face-to-face relationships between our brokers and their customers. Automation is a time-effective way for brokers to market their capabilities while they continue to hunt for leads and keep in contact with their existing loan book customers.

And in tech, we’re supporting modern brokers to become digital brokers. Our investment in MyCRM over recent years has delivered a CRM built by brokers, for brokers. MyCRM is not just a hub for client contact details – it powers our brokers’ entire business in an efficient, integrated fashion

Franchising done differently

We don’t think you should lock people in; we think people should be a part of a network because they want to be there. We want brand champions, not brand conscripts. Business owners who are with a franchise aren’t in business by themselves; they are in business for themselves. They don’t need to go through this stuff alone. There is another way.

If you’d like to talk to me or my team about how we can work with you, contact us today.

PUBLISHED September 27th, 2019 IN Stories and insights

Sam White

Sam leads Australia’s largest 100% family-owned aggregator, Loan Market Group which he founded in 1995. The Group has grown to operate in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia and includes businesses that offer services across the full suite of financial solutions. Most recently Sam won Australian Broking Awards Industry Thought Leader of the Year for his advocacy work during the Royal Commission into Banking Misconduct. Sam, an entrepreneur to the core, is obsessed with helping small businesses achieve their growth goals.