Posts Tagged ‘window blinds’

Apollo Blinds on TV

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

We’re all fizzing with excitement at Apollo as our new TV adverts are now ready to air. You can be the first to see them here and here.

What do you think? Are you getting the Apollo magic?

They air from next month on the Home TV channel. We’ve chosen to advertise on Home (Sky 246 and Virgin Media 265) specifically because there’s lots of different programmes for people who love everything to do with improving their homes and gardens.

And with great offers on our breathtaking blinds we’re expecting to get a huge amount of enquires, particularly from people clicking onto www.apollosale.com to find their nearest Apollo Blinds.

Our strapline is that we make homes beautiful but now we can also lay claim to making Home TV beautiful as well with the Apollo magic.

BFA Franchise Bible

Friday, July 16th, 2010

We’ve just submitted an article towards the British Franchise Association’s new book the Franchise Bible which will hit the bookshelves later on this year.

Our article encapsulates who we are, what we look for in new franchisees joining our network and the different aspects of support they get to help their businesses get off to a flying start as part of a plan to make them a prosperous and profitable.

We’ve posted an extract of the article below

Apollo Blinds sells stunning blinds that make homes beautiful.

We’re at the forefront of the home improvement market which has consistently grown in both good times and bad because people have an overwhelming desire to make the most of their surroundings.

The UK window coverings industry is currently worth around £1.34 billion and this is set to rise to £1.48 billion by 2012 according to a recent AMA Research report.

The study found that 68% of homeowners buy made-to-measure blinds and that fashion is likely to remain the key driver for window coverings purchases in a market which is expected to grow by at least four per cent in each of the next two years .

All this bodes well for a company which is already Britain’s biggest blinds store chain and has ambitious plans to increase the size of its franchise network which already stands at more than 70 franchises in the UK and Ireland. And all this is backed by Apollo’s owners Hunter Douglas, which is the world’s largest manufacturer of window blinds.

What’s in it for you?

You’ll become part of a company which has more than 35 years’ franchising experience and a proven business model, market-leading products, a robust supply chain and an excellent support structure in place to enable committed and determined individuals to make a success of their franchise from day one.

Using an established and trusted brand we continually encourage our franchise owners to maximise every opportunity within their business. Through dedicated training and one-to-one support we cover everything from selling and fitting high value items with confidence to using smart marketing to keep your Apollo Blinds franchise at the forefront of consumers’ minds. This is all backed up by an astute programme of seasonal promotions to offer consumers just the right window blinds solutions, just when they need them – a great example is that we always have a promotion on blackout blinds when the nights draw out in spring.

All of the above is designed to help you make the most of your business – which is ultimately judged by the income generated, profits made and the value of your business when you eventually come to sell it on.

Making your Apollo business a success

We have a tried and trusted programme of training and support from day one which is designed to give new franchise owners the best possible start and show an early return on investment.

Launch a new franchise

Our dedicated sales and marketing expert works alongside new franchise owners to create a launch plan specifically for their area. It focuses on raising awareness and generating enquiries as quickly as possible by advertising across a variety of media including radio, newspapers, magazines and direct mail. It also harnesses the power of the Internet – especially social networking which has become increasingly important and influential.

Product and installation training

Having one of the UK’s most extensive collections of window blinds, awnings and plantation shutters may seem a little daunting at first but franchise owners soon become familiar with our collections. That familiarity soon helps them to identify exactly the right shading solution for any window in any house or commercial premises.

Practice makes perfect-fitting blinds and our installation specialist is with you every step of the way and for as long as you need until you can confidently fit everything from a roller blind in a single window to pleated blinds in the roof and sides of a conservatory. Oh, by the way, we have existing franchise owners who are specialists in particular products and share their knowledge with the rest of the network by running advanced training courses.

Sales, marketing and business training

We have honed a simple but effective process to demonstrate and sell our range of products. Following this process significantly improves sales conversion rates and our expert sales training will work alongside you until it becomes second nature.

Similarly, our marketing, design and PR team is at your disposal to help you manage local campaigns which focus on maintaining continued awareness of your brand and promotional offers to keep those enquiry levels high. Your local activity is also backed up nationally as Apollo promotes the brand to consumers across the UK.

But the single most important aspect of our mentoring programme is helping with the nuts and bolts of running a business. As little or as much help is on tap from the entire Apollo team on a whole range of issues related to running a successful business.

So that’s us. What about you?

In our experience we have found that the most successful franchise owners have one or more of the following key attributes needed to run a successful Apollo Blinds business:

You will be practical and good with people and have the drive, dedication and commitment to both us and our brand values. As a sales-oriented individual, you will be self-motivated and have a commitment to delivering exceptional customer service.

Having a creative flair is also advantageous because the ability to provide a consultative role in advising customers about which blinds will transform their homes and make them beautiful is vital.

Discover Apollo Blinds

If you like what you’ve seen so far and want to know more then just visit www.apolloblindsfranchise.co.uk. And if you want to take the next step you can also sign up to attend one of our Discovery Days that we host monthly where you can come and meet the team and see for yourself why we are an expanding franchise network in a growth industry.

The right kind of problem to have

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

The franchise owner for Lincoln has only been up running since May as a mobile sole trader but he is already thinking about taking on a fitter.

That’s because Dean Moore has spent most of this week fulfilling orders and installing blinds in customer’s houses – which is great news as he is obviously very busy. But he already recognises that while he’s fitting, he’s not selling.

Dean’s background is in sales and marketing and he, more than most, understands that devoting the lion’s share of his time to this is the right way to build a prosperous and profitable business.

As part of his training when he first joined Apollo Blinds, Dean became a skilled fitter and he is quickly getting to the fortunate position where he can take someone on to do the fitting, which will free him up to play to his strengths.

It’s a pattern we see time and again and definitely the right kind of headache to have for a new business.

A picture of safety

Friday, June 18th, 2010

It’s Child Safety Week next week and it’s a great opportunity for Apollo Blinds and our network of franchise owners to raise awareness of the issue and promote our positive stance on safety.

In advance of the launch of our ‘Make Blinds Child Safe’ campaign on Monday, we’ve had lots of interest from national media including ITV News and the Daily Express.

To support our network we’ve also issued personalised local versions of the ‘Make Blinds Child Safe’ on behalf of each franchise owners and it was sent to specific journalists at media on their patch.

The local press releases highlight the fact that our franchise owners are giving away free safety devices as part of Child Safety Week. To make sure they get as much exposure as possible we asked our franchise owners to submit pictures of themselves with safety devices to accompany their press releases – after all, a picture paints a thousand words.

Roll on next week when our stories will hopefully hit the headlines all over the UK and our franchise owners will be able to raise awareness of a very serious issue in their local communities and give away lots of free safety devices as a result.

Child safety - George Stewart Apollo Blinds HamiltonChild safety - Stuart Sommerville Apollo Blinds KirkcaldyChild Safety - Susan Nielson from Apollo Blinds AberdeenChild safety - Christine Long Apollo Blinds Clydebank

A week to remember

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

What a fantastic week it’s been right across the Apollo network. It’s been one of the best weeks of the year for sales, two of our most gifted and experienced franchise owners ran a brilliant training course on conservatory blinds for others in the network and it was lights, camera, action for four of our Scottish franchise owners who faced the cameras to talk about their experiences running an Apollo Blinds franchise.

We’ve had the green light on our new customer deferred credit/interest free credit scheme and we’ve also been busy making preparations for the induction training of three new franchise owners.

But without doubt the best bit of news this week was that our newest franchise owner in Swindon, Andrew Gibbs, sold his first order of conservatory blinds – as a result of going on the training course run by Dave and Morris who own Apollo Blinds Salisbury and New Milton.

Andrew has only been trading a couple of weeks but has already sold one of our highest ticket items. If he masters his newfound ability to make sales of conservatory blinds in addition to the bread and butter of our core products, I’m sure it won’t be long before he breaks into our top ten achievers list.

Not bad for someone who’s new to the industry after spending 30 years in printing and engineering.

A snapshot of Apollo Blinds

Saturday, May 22nd, 2010

It’s a hackneyed phrase but still so true: people buy from people. Which is why we have a strong emphasis on promoting franchise owners almost as much as the new Apollo Blinds businesses they are launching.

We organise for a professional photographer to take great pictures of new franchise owners that are then used in press releases, newspaper competitions and of course on their websites.

Snaps of our newest franchise owners in Lincoln and Swindon are on all the main pages of their new websites so that when visitors see the site they can view the personalities within the business. And that is a huge factor enabling customers to see who they will be dealing with – even before they have picked up the phone or clicked online to book an appointment. It gives customers more confidence in the brand, the people and their decision to invite Apollo Blinds into their homes.

It’s another simple but effective tactic that we use to help our franchise owners tick all the right boxes with potential customers – even before they have met.

Have a great weekend…while you still can

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Part of the fascination of launching new Apollo Blinds businesses in different parts of the UK is identifying which of our array of marketing activities is the most effective at generating enquiries.

In the case of Lincoln it’s definitely leaflets. We’ve inserted them inside the local weekly newspaper and the franchise owner’s phone has been ringing off the hook.

Since the first raft of leaflets hit doormats a week ago, the franchise owner has been on sales calls last Saturday and Sunday – and has had a full diary all this week.

Dean Moore is, of course, delighted – especially as that was the first of five weekly leaflet drops we planned for different parts of his franchise territory.

And while he is rushed off his feet, we keep reminding him of the importance of adding the enquiries to his database – in order to accurately monitor where they are coming from and also to build a mailing list of people who may also purchase builds in the future.

Have a great weekend…while you still can.

Everyone’s a winner

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Apollo Blinds in St Albans has just set the record for the number of responses to a competition in a local newspaper giving away blinds.

In exchange for offering a £500 prize of Apollo blinds, The Herts Advertiser gave our franchise owner half a page of space – which included editorial, pictures, contact details and of course the competition.

As well as running the competition in the newspaper, the Advertiser also ran it online and the result was incredible.

The best response to a competition to date has been about 350 responses but St Albans smashed it with a total of 1,300.

Not only has St Albans had a great half page of exposure in its local newspaper, it has also had lots of lovely names and addresses of entrants who were happy to have their details passed on to the franchise owner.

No doubt he will be burning the midnight oil adding all the details to his database. And I’ll bet a letter will be winging its way to all those unlucky entrants with a limited time extra special discount just for them to say thanks for entering.

With our newspaper competitions everyone’s a winner.

Earning a great reputation

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Tim Hunt, who runs Apollo Blinds in Northampton along with his wife and daughters, is a shining example of a man who fundamentally understands the value of building his business by reputation.

He is as focused on getting a great recommendation at the end of each job as he is the payment.

The family encourages customers to write testimonials – which can be found at their Apollo Blinds website, Facebook, Twitter, blog and on local directories such as thebestof.co.uk – as part of an ongoing mantra of building a great reputation for the quality of products and customer service.

This simple philosophy is working brilliantly – and not just in helping to build their reputation locally and giving new customers the confidence to buy from them. And it’s also underpinned their online marketing to such an extent that if you type ‘Apollo Blinds Northampton’ into Google at least seven of the listings on the first page point to the company.

So not only has Apollo Blinds got a great reputation locally, it also has a great reputation on the internet – which is priceless.