Are you passionate about messy play and working with children? Is running your own business, having the flexibility to be able to both work and spend more time with your family the goal that you are after? Becoming a Mess Around franchisee is such a wonderful experience that I can honestly recommend to anyone, but depending on what your situation is at the time you are looking to join, you may get the feeling of your dream being ‘crushed’ by the lack of money required to invest on your franchise and to get things started… I know the exact feeling as I have been there myself!
In March 2017 I attended my very first messy play session with my son in Derbyshire, and I immediately fell in love with the brand and the concept! I quickly went online to find out more about Mess Around and realised a franchise was available in Nottingham, so I registered my interest straightaway. Two things became really obvious to me after having had an initial conversation with Krissy: 1) I really wanted to do this, more than anything else! But, 2) I did not have any money (none at all, I swear!) to make it happen. Call me an optimist and a dreamer, but I truly believe there’s always a way forward – all you need to do is find the right path to follow! So I started a research journey that lasted for approximately 3 months, but it was worth every (perhaps tedious at times) step of the way.
Government Business Start Up Loans
I approached Start Up Loans to assess whether I would be a suitable candidate for a low interest loan to buy my franchise. Start Up Loans are a government scheme providing funding to small businesses across the UK. They can help with loans of up to £25,000 and you can choose the period of time over which you wish to pay the loan back, but I won’t bore you with all the details here as if you read on I am sure you will want to find out more about them yourself, so head to their website for further details on what they have on offer and to apply. They even throw in free mentoring for the first year after having received the loan so you are able to keep on top of things whilst your business takes off.
Its a very simple process
After filling out a very simple form and having an initial call with one of their advisors to assess the viability of my application, then I was referred to one of their partners in the local area to deal with my enquiry. I had a face to face meeting with the Financial Adviser I was assigned to, who was very supportive throughout the process as well as knowledgeable and happy to help in any way that was needed.
Its takes a bit of leg work!
Now, there was a lot of legwork needed to make it happen, I am not going to lie to you, but the result was being granted the loan that helped me open the doors to become a member of the amazing family that we are at Mess Around, so it was all worth it. I was asked to create a business case of approximately 35 pages (mine had just over 45 pages in the end if I remember correctly) which involved a lot of research, but it is something that really helped me to identify my competitors, where they are based, how much they charge, how often they run their sessions, if they are standalone or franchisees from another company, do they have a website / Facebook page / Instagram account, how many followers do they have, how often do they post, etc. I also needed to back up my research with numbers, so a financial projection for the first year is required as well as plenty of detail around demographics, marketing, locations, customers and much more information. Let’s say it made things easier in a way as I would have had to do all that research at some point for my own benefit regardless, albeit perhaps in a more informal way than a business case.
You need to plan your personal projections too
It is also important to mention that you will require to create your own personal financial projection too as part of this exercise for two important reasons: Start Up Loans want to make sure that you are able to afford the money that you are asking to borrow for your business without compromising your personal financial situation and also because the credit checks they run to ensure you are a viable candidate are done against your personal credit score.
It only took 3 months to process my application
The end to end process took about 3 months from submitting my application to getting the money paid into my personal bank account. It was not pain-free and all the paperwork required certainly did not make things easier, but I had a lot of extremely professional and friendly support throughout the process. Depending on where you live some libraries have access to a huge variety of databases with plenty of demographics and other useful statistics – having lived in London for many years and being a huge fan of all things geek, I know the British Library holds an amazing collection of records that help existing and potential businesses with their research when they are at early stages and many of those records are available remotely. You may even be lucky enough to live close to one of their National Network Centres, where they offer advice and support – for further details please visit their website . Your local council may be able to help too but the internet will be always your most powerful tool and ally.
So, whether you are looking to get things going with Mess Around or expanding your existing franchise with a twist such as Messberaver or Slime Lab UK, there are options out there for you, so don’t give up on your dream and become one of us today!
For more information about our fantastic franchise opportunities available at Mess Around complete an enquiry form today at Join our family to receive a copy of our prospectus.