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Interview with Kevin Brent, founder of BizSmart and author of The Entrepreneurial Scale Up System 

by Staff GBAF Publications Ltd
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The journey of scaling a business is not easy, and business and franchise owners face the same issue of how to drive and sustain growth. There isn’t one simple tip or magic bullet that is suddenly going to deliver phenomenal success. The statistics prove it – half of start-ups fail within five years and two thirds within 10 and, overall, nearly 96% of businesses are unable to scale beyond 10 employees. 

To uncover why this is the case, and to help others overcome some of the common challenges encountered when scaling up, Kevin Brent, founder of BizSmart, created The Entrepreneurial Scale Up System [ESUS], which has helped hundreds of companies reach their growth ambitions. 

Here, Kevin discusses the system, its key principles and how ESUS can aid franchise owners to build a scalable, sustainable, and profitable business.  

What is the Entrepreneurial Scale Up System all about? 

“The Entrepreneurial Scale Up System [ESUS] draws on BizSmart’s own research and our experiences of working with hundreds of owner-managers on their paths to scaling up and building successful and valuable businesses.  

It explores the key reasons why most organisations don’t scale and delves into how the challenges change as business owners reach different milestones on the ScaleUp Journey.  

We give readers a practical step by step guide to successfully navigate between the milestones, and a proven system to help them scale up. 

Long term success requires being able to make good decisions consistently. To do that means we need the right frame of reference and we need to instil great habits – that is at the heart of ESUS.”  

What are some of the key principles from the system? 

“Central to the ESUS is the concept of the ScaleUp Journey and four fundamental ‘pillars’ of scaling up that we need to get right, being strategy, people, execution and cash.  

We look at the core things within each of these pillars at each stage of the ScaleUp Journey. To overcome the challenges along the way, we provide a ‘checklist’ of things to consider and to work on over time. 

This gives business owners a clear understanding and actionable plan to put them on the right track to achieving their goals.” 

How can franchisees benefit from ESUS? 

“The book is designed for successful and ambitious business owners perhaps feeling a little stuck and wondering how they can cope with the next stage of their growth. They may be struggling from the typical ‘symptoms’ of time, people, and cash – not having enough hours in the day, struggling with their team not seeming to see things in the same way as them and not behaving quite as they would hope, and perhaps wondering why their growth is not translating into cash in their pocket! 

This applies to franchisees looking to build sustainable, resilient and ultimately valuable businesses. ESUS can be harnessed by franchises, to follow a proven system for obtaining and sustaining growth and building value. 

As a new franchisee, it can be a daunting task in building your business and securing growth within your region. By using ESUS, franchisees can use it as a practical guide in how to make the first steps toward business growth and continue to follow the system as their business and confidence grows.” 

What is the BizSmart® franchise model and how has it developed? 

“In 2020, we launched our very own franchise model to enable professionals to build and establish their own business support offering under the BizSmart umbrella. 

In 2021, our first franchise – BizSmart® Gloucestershire – was launched to provide BizSmart® services to the Gloucestershire region. Since the launch of our franchise model, we have been gaining industry recognition, most notably after BizSmart® Gloucestershire celebrated its first year in business and following our appearance at the National Franchise Exhibition.  

In October 2022, we secured our second franchise – BizSmart® Birmingham and Solihull – and we are now on track to expand by a further three within the next 6 months.” 

Why should Franchisees be interested in ESUS and BizSmart? 

“The BizSmart® franchise model not only provides professionals with the opportunity to build and establish their own business support offering under the BizSmart® umbrella; it also extends vital support to business leaders likely to benefit from peer-to-peer learning and engagement during current economically challenging times. 

With the many challenges the UK is facing, business and franchise owners can benefit from resources such as ESUS and BizSmart, to follow a proven system which provides actionable ways to scaleup.  

Since the rollout of our franchise model, we have been recognised for our services by various institutes. This includes the British Franchise Association [BFA], which is the only regulatory body for franchising in the UK and aims to promote ethical franchising among its members.” 

What is next for BizSmart following the release of ESUS? 

“We have big plans to keep growing our network of franchisees over the coming years, as well as continuing to expand our valuable support to more business owners than ever on their Scale Up Journeys.  

Through the book, our Smart90 software and our franchising, we aim to support over 10,000 business owners, creating more ‘ScaleUps’ and moving the needle on the dial that currently shows only 4% scale beyond 10 employees.”