"Despite not being from a photography background, I’d been considering opening my own photography studio for some time, as I knew there was a strong market for it in and around the Fulham area where I am based and had gone as far as building a camera room in my current business premises. Then I came upon Venture Studios and realised that this was the perfect way to move forward with my plan, but under a franchise operation which has excellent brand recognition and a proven operating model. It was a great decision.
Since I opened 6 months ago, Venture have not only worked with me to recruit and train all staff and supported me with an excellent launch marketing plan, they have provided me with 75 customers through their own Head Office Marketing Initiatives. A highlight of which is a customer from the company’s national partnership with Samsung who spent a massive £4,500. I also worked alongside the other London studios to exhibit at the Ideal Home Show and this led to nearly 80 customers purchasing a Venture experience voucher to use at Venture Fulham. So, I am very happy with how things are going with my Venture franchise and can recommend it highly."
Venture’s Eton studio was bought by Jonny Foster in 2012 from the existing franchisee. Prior to purchasing the studio Jonny had worked in Venture as a photographer, but he had always wanted to own and run his own studio.
"I’ve built Venture Eton up since I purchased the business, the studio team have worked incredibly hard over the last 5 years and am very proud to have been awarded the Studio of the Year three times since I bought it. With turnover averaging £650K a year we have always been one of the highest performing sales studios in the country."
With a view to expanding his business portfolio, Jonny looked at alternative franchise models predominantly in the well-known fast food market over the last 6 months.
"I had no intention of leaving Venture, but I had learnt from my time in Venture that I enjoy working in a franchise environment, and I wanted to look at the potential returns from other franchise models. I went through the full assessment process with one of the biggest fast food franchises in the world, at which point they shared full financial information relating to set up costs and potential return. Based on this it was apparent that I would have to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds to open at least two restaurants, in order to get the same return that I do from running a Venture franchise."
Martin and Michelle Hillman joined the Venture brand in 2011, opening their studio on London Road, Southampton in January 2012.
"We had looked at several franchise opportunities in the market, as had considered working for ourselves for some time, we were open minded about what type of business we wanted to get involved in, but the more that we looked at the Venture Model it became more appealing over others that we had looked at given that Venture provide a unique experience, which creates a product full of emotional value to the customer."
The opening of the Venture Southampton studio followed a well-defined end to end process, which is fully supported by the Venture team. This begins with locating a suitable property, helping on presenting business plans to the bank to raise funding, through to full training for the franchisees and recruitment and training of the studio team.
We worked with Venture extremely closely for a full 6 months prior to opening the studio, a key part of the opening process was obviously both me and Michelle being trained on how to operate the venture model, and we spent time in other studios to observe the model in operation. As you can imagine it was an incredibly busy time in the run up to opening the studio! Key to a successful opening was making sure that we had an effective marketing plan in place in the 8 weeks prior to launch, which subsequently would ensure that we opened on day 1 with a diary full of customer appointments. It obviously worked as we turned over £100K in our first two full months of being open!"
The Southampton studio continues to be one of the most successful studios in the Venture network and has turned over an average of £600K over the last three years.
"Being completely honest the first two years were a very steep learning curve, and it’s been hard work, however that hard work has paid off and the financial returns of the business have exceeded our expectations. Coupled with this it has been really satisfying to be involved in such a unique and powerful brand, every day we see how thrilled customers are when they see the amazing photographs that we take of their families."
The first two years were a very steep learning curve, and it’s been hard work, however that hard work has paid off and the financial returns of the business have exceeded our expectations. It has been really satisfying to be involved in such a unique and powerful brand, every day we see how thrilled customers are when they see the amazing photographs that we take of their families.Martin and Michelle Hillman, Venture Southampton
I’ve built Venture Eton up since I purchased the business, the studio team have worked incredibly hard over the last 5 years and am very proud to have been awarded the Studio of the Year three times since I bought it. With turnover averaging £650K a year we have always been one of the highest performing sales studios in the country.Jonny Foster, Venture Eton
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