How one family has its franchise succession all sorted

By Sarah Stowe | 19 May 2016 View comments

Bedshed franchisee Ingrid Alexander has managed a succession plan for the businessIngrid Alexander and her husband Stewart from Bedshed Morley and Malaga are an example of a family which has successfully managed succession in franchising.

After being involved with Bedshed for 11 years, Ingrid and Stewart saw the opportunity of asking sons Simon and David, who were 32 and 27 respectively at the time, to join the franchise.

“Stewart and I were looking for a way to safeguard all that we had worked for, and absolutely loved the idea of incorporating Simon and David into the business,” says Ingrid.

“At the time, neither of our sons had any previous retail experience, Simon had worked as a mechanic, and David as an IT management consultant, so we knew we would have to invest quite a bit of time in getting them properly trained and up to speed,” she says.

Communication is key

Seven years down the track, and with Bedshed’s support, David and Simon are fully integrated into the business. Ingrid and Stewart feel comfortable in all that Simon and David have accomplished and are responsible for, despite coming across a few challenges.  

“It’s only normal that people are going to disagree on certain things, particularly if those people are your family. While we may not always share the same opinion, we have a clear policy of collaboration and straight talking. This works for the business and our family.”

Ingrid says that when it comes to making those final decisions, everyone has a say. Whether that is around stock purchases or who attends the next Bedshed buying trip, the family will engage in clear and open communication to find their ideal solution.

“This process of honest and to the point communication has really helped us to address any issues that come up,” she said.

Planning for success

Both Simon and David are now completely involved in and responsible for the day to day running of both stores, giving Ingrid and Stewart the peace of mind to know that when they are no longer able to work, things will run just as smoothly without them.

As for how Simon and David share responsibility, Ingrid says they are, and will continue to be, equal partners within the business.

“The equal share of responsibility between the boys is something that was crystal clear from the outset. Both are happy and see the benefits of this decision and way of doing business.”

Once Ingrid and her husband cease to work in the stores, they will still receive an agreed income from the business. However the family expects the transition process to be a very gradual one with no clear-cut handovers, a process which Bedshed has supported.

While Simon and David haven’t invested any capital into the business, systems are in place to ensure that complete ownership of the franchise stores goes equally to both of them when Ingrid and her husband finally step away.

Gavin Culmsee, general manager of Bedshed, says “All franchisees have to go through a formal selection and approval process, and David and Simon were no different. However, the process was made easier by the personal relationship we have with all franchisees – we already knew both David and Simon, so this made the decision to allow them join Bedshed very easy.”

All in all, Ingrid’s example of succession works off a system of family love, trust, and a bit of forward planning.

“The family are always there to support each other and to bounce around thoughts and ideas when needed. We love working as a team, and are thrilled with all we have achieved,” says Ingrid.