‘It’s All About Personality’ Could You Be Bedshed’s Dream Franchise Partner?
Bedshed – one of Australia’s largest specialist mattress, bedding and bedroom furniture franchises with a network of 37 stores across the country – celebrated 40 years in business last year. In this issue of Business Franchise magazine, we put our feet up with Bedshed National Business Development Manager Greg Prussia to find out what makes it such a trusted brand.
Business Franchise: Bedshed is a trusted brand with great national recognition. What makes the brand such a powerhouse?
Greg Prussia: Hands down it’s the people! From the team at central office to our network of franchise partners, there’s an incredible sense of camaraderie between everybody, a feeling that we’re all in it for one. There’s no “Us” and “THEM” like I’ve experienced with the other franchise networks, it’s “WE” at Bedshed.
We’re always seeking ways to keep our franchise partners happy by involving them in the evolution of our brand and finding ways to increase their profits. And when you have a happy franchise partner, you have happy staff and happy customers resulting in a well performing store. When customers come into a Bedshed store, it feels like a family environment where they can trust they’re not going to be ‘sold’ to, just looked after and given the best information and advice.
By building strong relationships at all levels, we have been able to build that all important trust and maintain that strong brand for over 40 years.
BF: Tell us about yourself and what your role involves.
GP: As the National Business Development Manager, I recruit new franchise partners for Bedshed. I take prospective franchise partners through the whole seven-step due diligence process, quantifying them every step of the way, making sure we are a good fit for each other.
Before joining Bedshed, I did my own due diligence on the brand. I felt my morals had to be strongly aligned with where I worked and I wanted to be sure this was a brand I could really believe in; one that had a great story to tell. I spent some time looking at their financials, P&Ls, and talked to a few franchise partners. After doing that, I couldn’t wait to start! After doing my due diligence, it makes sense why Bedshed have had only one franchised store up for resale in the last nine years and why there are still franchise partners in the network that have been there since the 1980s.
BF: If you had to describe what you look for in a Bedshed franchise partner using just one word, what would it be?
GP: To sum up that attribute in word? It’s got to be personality! Our ideal franchise partner is the kind of person that attracts other people. We all know those people in social situations who everyone just gravitates towards because you feel like you trust them and you want to hang out with them.
So, when we look for new franchise partners, we’re really looking to see if their personality fits with our brand, and ours with theirs. You can teach product knowledge and everything else to do with business, but you can’t teach personality. I believe that people buy from people and if we put someone in the role who has all the knowledge needed but isn’t easy to talk to, or they try too hard to ‘make a sale’, they can’t build trust with the customers resulting in fewer sales.
BF: Last year Bedshed celebrated 40 years in business by evolving the brand. One recent development was the introduction of an online e-commerce store. How have online sales impacted your franchisees?
GP: We’ve had complete buy in from our Bedshed franchise partners and it’s been amazing for them financially! Say a customer spends two-grand on some new bedding overnight on our e-commerce store; the customer chooses the store they wish to purchase it from, that sale goes through, then all our franchise partner needs to do when they arrive in the morning is process that sale and arrange delivery – and best of all, all of that revenue goes straight to the store. I’ve never seen an online store where 100% of sales goes straight to the franchisee. During Covid, when people were mostly shopping from home, the online store really showed its true potential. In fact, in 2020 – when we had most of our Victorian stores shut for three months – we had our best financial year ever!
BF: What training and ongoing support do you provide franchisees?
GP: We provide pre- and post-opening training which includes product and sales training. In fact, our new sales training course “Setting the standard of excellence” is a bespoke sales course designed specifically for Bedshed which arms our sales staff with the tools needed to build trust and close sales. We have retail managers in each state that are always there to provide ongoing daily, weekly and monthly support. We also host yearly meetings and organise overseas trips to international trade shows throughout Asia, Europe and North America. We also visit the manufacturers that build our furniture, to involve the franchise partners in decision making when it comes to furniture that they’ll be selling. I find it refreshing that the franchise partners are involved in deciding big issues like what furniture we sell in store. And why shouldn’t they be involved? It means they are more invested in the product which, in turn, helps build that all-important trust with customers.
Taking the next step
Have a question about becoming a Bedshed franchise partner? Just want to have an initial conversation? Contact Bedshed’s National Business Development Manager, Greg Prussia 0447 891 158 or email firstname.lastname@example.org