A new year means new resolutions! On the home front, this means the usual half-hearted attempts to eat better and exercise more. Whereas, in business, it means a commitment to find time to write more about my favourite topic…franchising!
To avoid any procrastination over what to write about, I have decided to attempt a full ‘A – Z’ of franchising over the course of the year. Twenty six articles in fifty two weeks…I hope I remain more committed to this endeavour than I am to my gym membership.
Much like the BBC, my aim will be to: “Educate, Inform and Entertain”. Whilst I’m confident that these first two pillars will be easily achievable, the last one may prove a bit more aspirational. I hope that you find some of what I write entertaining and, if you follow the series through to the bitter end, you should at least get a laugh out of my attempts to come up with topics for ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’.
The starting point is, fortunately, an easy one. What better place to begin that to explain who I am and what I do:
In short, I’m a lawyer…but hopefully not a typical one or the type that automatically springs to mind! To be more precise, I am a franchise lawyer and have been so for the past decade or so.
My experience in franchising actually started as a teenager. For those that may not know, my father is Euan Fraser of AMO Consulting (one of the UK’s leading Franchise Consultants and a regular judge of the British Franchise Association’s ‘Franchisor of the Year’ Awards). In the summers of my University days, I would often help my dad with writing operations manuals for clients. I was particularly keen to do so when it involved travelling internationally to see clients, less so when it involved helping clients collect bins off the streets of Glasgow!
These summers gave me a good grounding in franchising and, when the global financial crisis of 2009 hit (meaning no jobs for newly qualified lawyers), it meant that I was well prepared to become a fully-fledged franchise consultant with AMO Consulting until the legal market bounced back. This enforced (but not unwelcome) period in the family business not only cemented my interest in becoming a franchise lawyer, but also gave me great experience of what it takes to franchise a business. As a consultant, I had the privilege of working with all manner of new start franchisors right up to helping a number of global retailers (such as Ralph Lauren, Esprit, Whittard of Chelsea and American Eagle Outfitters) with their international franchising projects.
After eighteen months or so as a consultant, the opportunity arose for me to re-enter the legal world and specialise as a franchise lawyer with one of Scotland’s leading law firms and under the guidance of a great friend and mentor, David Kaye. During this time, I was able to learn my trade and receive accreditation from the British Franchise Association as a 'Qualified Franchise Professional', at the time being one of the first group of lawyers in the UK to have been awarded this status.
In September 2019, I decided it was time to do my own thing and establish my own firm, Albany Fraser Solicitors. I describe the business as being a "boutique" firm because, whilst it is small in size, we provide high quality services tailored to our client's needs. We have franchising at our heart but our services are by no means limited to franchising. We help clients with all manner of business and commercial legal needs. We operate on a “virtual basis” (i.e. from home), rather than from a glass palace in a city centre location, which means that we can offer a cost-effective service.
As things stand, going in to 2022, I’m delighted to say that establishing my own firm has exceeded all expectations and I’m really looking forward to all the opportunities that a new year brings!
This will be the last time that I write about myself in the series, but hopefully it gives you a good picture of my story to date. Next up… ‘B’ is for ‘Brand’