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Bhanu Choudhrie is founder and chief executive of the C & C Alpha Group, an international private equity business with a strong focus on emerging markets. He oversees investment strategy, working with a group of experienced venture capitalists.

In this interview with Bhanu we find out more about his business philosophy – and the challenges for venture capital in turbulent economic times….

What is the focus of the C & C Alpha Group’s investments?

At the C & C Alpha Group we have a very diverse portfolio, but we invest primarily in aviation, hospitality, real estate, banking, health care and utilities. We have an international footprint, with a significant presence in the UK; the US; India; and UAE. The team analyses global economic trends and find companies in market niches that are on the brink of expansion. We were early investors in emerging markets and, for several years, sponsored The Emerging Markets Symposium at Oxford University.

What is your philosophy as a venture capitalist?

The C & C Alpha Group has always believed in long-term investment and that has shaped our philosophy for the last 18 years. We incubate and grow companies by believing in them and committing to them. We invest in strong management teams and then trust them to deliver. Our ethos is to not seek quick exits and, because we invest for a longer period than most other venture capital firms, that allows us to support and grow our investments to achieve their maximum potential. A good example of that is Alpha Hospitals, a provider of specialist mental health care, which was an idea we first discussed around the kitchen table and then spent 13 years incubating and scaling up the company before selling it to a US company, Cygnet Health Care, for £95m in 2015.

What do you look for in a company?

We want to be partners, not just investors. In some cases that might be a start-up, which needs not only capitalization, but also guidance in developing its market presence and managing its growth. In other cases, it might be a more established company looking to expand into new markets; we can bring an infusion of capital, but we will also provide added value through our expertise, international contacts, and management support. We have a team of experienced consultants, project managers, project developers, and financial analysts, who have the expertise to help companies achieve their potential.

What was your first major investment?

We invested in Air Deccan in 2003. At the time, it was a low-budget Indian carrier with just one plane in its fleet. The airline was a risk. Four of us invested and we said to each other at the beginning, ‘If it doesn’t work out, at least we can say we had an airline,’ but it played a pivotal role in opening up the airline industry in India. There was a massive boom in aviation because journeys that had taken up to three days by train were now within reach of more people who could afford to fly. Five years later, when Air Deccan was sold to Kingfisher, it was running 200 flights a day and transporting 7 million customers annually.

What is your approach to risk?

As an investor, I am always looking for new ventures that excite me, but, for every two or three opportunities we invest in, we will probably turn down 100. We minimize risk by going in small and increasing our investment incrementally. Once your base is sound, the time is right to take higher investment risks. When I started out, I was willing to take more chances, but as you get older you become more cautious with your investments.

How do you decide on the right growth trajectory for your companies?

This is a dilemma for many venture capitalists. We examined this question at our 2019 annual conference in Dubai, which was led by Professor William Kerr, of Harvard Business School. He suggested one way of looking at this was by asking: ‘Have I earned the right to grow?’ He suggested a four-question framework, which can be summarized as: Is my business ready? Do we have the resources we need? Have the leadership team bought into the vision? What is the cost of standing still?

Another useful way to approach the question is to ask: What was the first thing that worked for my business? Every business has core competencies, but what is your distinctive competency – what do you do better than your rivals? Make growth decisions based on your distinctive competency, not on your core competencies.

As the coronavirus crisis has shown, cash flow is usually the biggest challenge to growth. Sometimes it is better to be less profitable if it allows you to keep hold of capital because raising capital yourself can cost you more than the profit you have sacrificed.

Where do you see the potential in your current investments?

Alpha Aviation Group is a world-class pilot training business, which we have grown over the last 14 years. We identified a clear gap in the APAC market, caused by a shortage of commercial pilots at the very time when passenger demand was increasing dramatically and invested substantially in the business. Alpha Aviation has trained nearly 2,000 pilots from 40 countries. Last year, we opened an $11m simulator in the Philippines, our sixth in the country, and more than any of our competitors. Alpha Aviation Academy UAE, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, has earned an outstanding international reputation for the quality of its cadet training, giving unprecedented opportunities to female cadets, and forming partnerships with key carriers in the region.

Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on aviation and we are likely to see a consolidation of the pilot training sector; only those with strong cash reserves will survive the pandemic. But in these very difficult circumstances, there is an opportunity to think about how pilot training companies like ours can help airlines. All airlines need to cut costs and pilot training providers need to be more flexible with their price offering to airlines, providing differential pricing. Airlines will need to rethink their pilot training strategy, with more outsourcing and decentralising to ensure they are streamlining and managing their costs. Ultimately, this will be a new opportunity for us.

I am also excited by the growth of Alpha Utilities. We own and operate a desalination plant in Sharjah and we have developed world-beating expertise as a water technology company. Demand for desalinated water is increasing rapidly and is essential for industries in the region. We believe the company will continue to grow, finding new markets and new opportunities to expand in the Emirates and beyond. Global warming poses a significant threat to human health, but it also has the potential to become the single biggest driver of economic transformation.

What impact has coronavirus had on your business?

Our annual conference last year was entitled Business Sustainability, Emerging Risk Analysis and Growth in a Changing Climate. We examined several different scenarios that might threaten business, including Brexit and regional instability in the Middle East, but I don’t remember a global pandemic being one of them!

What we discussed at our conference was adapting to change, whatever your circumstances. If you are running a successful business, it is tempting to think you do not need to change anything about your business model. But in today’s fast-moving world, if you wait until you need to change it you will already be too late. The best CEOs anticipate disruption even before it has happened and are not afraid to change their business to adapt to it, however, counter-intuitive that might seem.

The aviation and hospitality industries have been hit very hard by coronavirus and will feel the impact for years to come. It will have far-reaching repercussions on how we travel, how we holiday, and how we choose to live our lives. But every crisis brings opportunity and the chance for re-invention. I am confident we are well placed to weather the storm and adapt to the new business landscape.

 

Want to know more about some of our work with Venture Capitalists? Then click here to see how we raised the profile of Consilience Ventures  and its alternative start-up ecosystem.

Interview with Bhanu Choudhrie of C & C Alpha Group

Amid the chaos and devastation of Covid-19, it would have been easy to miss the news that Britain has actually set a new record in recent weeks.

At the beginning of June it was reported that Britain had gone coal-free for two months, the longest period since the industrial revolution. The even better news is that renewables are now generating more power than all fossil fuels combined.

This is welcomed news for the government who last year set the target of zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050.

With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of the businesses who are leading the way in renewable technology in the UK.

Azuri Technologies

A major player in pay-as-you-go solar products, Azuri technologies provide PayGo solar systems to rural off-grid communities. Their technology has been known to stretch as far as the deepest depths of Africa.

Azuri technologies are committed to fixing the problem of energy access for those who are out of reach of the grid. An issue that affects up to 1.3 billion people globally.

Through innovation, Azuri has managed to create the solar home systems, which allows individuals to pay for solar power on a pay-as-you-go just the same as they would do to top up their mobile phone.

BBOXX

Meet the Chiswick based tech firm that has developed a solar plan to power most of Africa. To date BBOXX has deployed more than 150,000 solar systems and helped nearly one million people across 35 countries.

BBOXX is working towards improving customer’s quality of life through affordable, clean energy solutions. Their aim for the future is to expand and be able to provide other vital utility services such as cooking, internet access and water.

At the heart of the business is a management platform called Pulse, which continuously monitors and collects data enabling BBOXX to reach previously remote locations.

Moixa Technology

The UK’s number one home battery business and platform for managing storage services. Moixa’s ground-breaking smart energy management software helps renewable energy work (yeah you guessed it) smartly, for both individuals and businesses.

The smart battery and Solar Panel system that Moixa has created could save you up to 50% off your energy bills every year!

Limejump

A start-up that truly promises to challenge the energy industry. Limejump is leading the charge with an alternative route for how power (renewable of course) is transported.

Through using the latest advancements in technology and machine learning algorithms, Limejump can deliver renewable energy on demand.

Their smart box called the Virtual Power Platform has the ability to provide generators and consumers with full market access to real-time data, providing transparency and control to all customers.

Econic Technologies

The idea for Econic was born out of vision that positive gain can come from waste carbon dioxide for the plastics industry.

Using cutting-edge patented catalyst chemistry techniques, Econic have created a formula that means waste CO2 can be transformed into positive economic and environmental potential.

A major benefit of the ground-breaking technology is that it means up to as much as 50% of the necessary fossil fuel-based raw materials you’d normally need to use can be substituted for carbon dioxide instead, meaning there will be less reliance needed on fossil fuels in the years to come.

 

Is your business ready to take the next step? Why not get in touch with us today and find out about our PR services and how we could help develop a strategy that can deliver results.

Five renewables leading the charge towards net zero

Tell us about your experience to date and your background
I was a journalist and news producer with CNN for eight years before making the jump across to The PHA Group.

The access to big international stories and business leaders at CNN was amazing and I was very lucky to work on some massive stories including the Russian annexation of Crimea, the growth of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, a Royal wedding and I was outside Downing Street for a couple of elections and referendums too!

After years on the road travelling all over the world, I came back to London and thought I wanted to work in communications and step to the other side basically.

Business has always interested me, and I thought I could be successful if I moved across taking with me my journalistic knowledge, international background and applying it to help CEOs, businesses and private clients navigate the media.

What was it about The PHA Group that enticed you over other agencies?
The work that the agency is most known for was the real appeal. Phil Hall is known as one of the best at crisis and reputational PR and I thought that my skill set could probably adapt to this type of work and I could add value to the business. When you are a journalist you never truly get to see behind the curtain, and I wanted to be in the room with clients from the start and to know exactly what was going on and how I could help. For years I saw first-hand how journalists and editors could misreport, jump to conclusions or turn a blind eye to some facts but zero in on speculation to suit their audience or own needs and the work at The PHA Group lets you sit as the broker of trust to make sure balance and the truth is there.

What is it about litigation PR and communications that interests you?
I have always been fascinated by the law. Building an argument in legal terms is the same as building one in journalism or communications and digesting complex matters and distilling it for an audience who may read the Daily Mail or The Sun can be a real skill.

More and more legal teams and their clients are looking to build comms work into their long-term litigation strategies. Often clients are with their legal teams and want to win in the court room and neglect the media or public opinion but as we have seen time and time again the influence of public opinion around cases and the media’s effect can really add a context around litigation that can leave a lasting impression.

Whether it be a divorce case, a personal dispute or a corporate fraud case, a considered communications strategy can help the press take a stance and be the judge and jury for public opinion.

Some interesting projects must come across your desk
There is never a boring day that is for sure! The scope of the work at The PHA Group is always varied. Whether that be working with a legal team and an individual on a blackmail case, providing strategic counsel for an international hospitality group in a crisis or working with private clients and HNWIs on campaigns going through the courts or just to avoid intrusion into their own personal lives.

What has always struck me is a certain degree of naivety at how the media works from some clients and their teams. Our value is to consult and advise and take the lead to get the best outcome. Many think they do not need PR help because they don’t want to be in the papers but like it or not the media finds them or a report is published without their knowledge and then the emails flood in from interested journalists looking for the story.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
When I am working with a client in a high-profile situation, perhaps under close media scrutiny, and I feel I can use my experience to advise them and help them navigate it then that can be very satisfying.

We all need to bring something to the party when we sit around the table and if I can devise a strategy that isn’t linear but looks at different stakeholders, impacts in foreign jurisdictions or simply advise on how this will play out in the media from their point of view that perhaps client’s advisors, employees or legal teams are slightly hesitant to tell them up front then that is rewarding.

If you would like to find out more about what Alex and his team do at The PHA Group then find out more information here or contact our team for a chat today.

Meet our people; Alex Felton

Fueled in part by the ongoing effects of a worldwide pandemic, ecommerce around the world is rising at a steady pace, with a noticeable shift in consumer behavior towards online shopping. In fact, it is estimated that by the year 2040, 95% of purchases will take place online. It’s safe to say that digital commerce has now taken center stage, and businesses around the world are racing to join the ecommerce revolution. 

In order to better prepare for a digital future, brands and retailers are constantly on the lookout for ways to drive their ecommerce brand forward. We look at some of the emerging ecommerce trends that will help elevate your business and boost your sales in the digital economy. 

1. Personalised Experiences and Customer Engagement

One thing that consumers miss from traditional retail shopping is the personalised experience that comes from interacting with a retail person. This personal connection is something that they look for in their online experience, too, with 80% of consumers being more likely to do business with a company that personalises their experience. This means that it’s no longer enough to simply ship out a product in a box. Rather, ecommerce businesses should build their strategy around putting their customer first. This could mean setting up automated product recommendations or unique subscription programs, featuring inclusive sizing and diversity of models, or even something as simple as prioritising accessibility to their website by making sure it’s navigable by persons of all abilities. These simple steps demonstrate a commitment to creating lasting emotional connections with customers, thus ensuring their return. 

2. Online Product Customisation

Beyond the wholly personalised experience of shopping, customers are also increasingly expecting customised products. This is where 3D technology can take a company’s ecommerce store to a whole other level of success. Product customisation technology like Threedium’s 3D Product Configurator invites customers to become partners in the product creation process by allowing them to experiment with different versions of the product. Customers can change colors, materials, and styles until they create exactly what they are looking for. This further strengthens the user experience for the customer, and in return, increases engagement levels, product dwell times, and creates better opportunities for conversions.  

3. Custom Packaging

In the age of ecommerce, the product isn’t the only desirable part of making a purchase. Rather, the act of simply opening the packaging holds a special kind of appeal, one that has recently launched the popular trend of ‘unboxing’ videos. These videos have generated 11.3 billion views on YouTube, with at least 62% of people viewing them as research for products they are looking to purchase. It is therefore not surprising that offering customised packaging that makes a brand recognizable has become a successful ecommerce marketing tool. Aesthetically pleasing, custom packaging gives a certain air of exclusivity to a product, makes it more likely to garner brand visibility on social media, and helps make an immediate, lasting impact on customers. 

4. Augmented Reality 

There is a strong need to interact with a product before committing to a purchase, and where once high-quality images and videos were enough, today’s consumers are asking for more ways to see and feel a product before clicking buy. This is where AR comes in. Augmented reality has seen a recent explosion in popularity, with Gartner estimating that by 2020, more than 100 million will have bought products using AR. With tools like Threedium’s AR Solutions, more and more ecommerce retailers are bridging the gap between real and digital, enabling shoppers to see products in their actual surroundings, explore and try different angles and styles, until they find the right match. Such Augmented Reality solutions require no extra plugins or applications, and are extremely easy to integrate into ecommerce stores. For consumers, this means a more immersive shopping experience and confident and informed purchasing decisions. For businesses, this means higher conversion rates and fewer returns.

To speak to a member of the team  at The PHA Group, please click here.

The changing face of e-commerce: four trends to look out for 

Tell us about your experience to date and your backgroundd

I was a journalist for 25 years before moving into PR and worked at a senior level on national newspapers.

I began as a news reporter on the Daily Mail in 1991, having spent a couple of years on regional newspapers, and did a wide variety of editing roles at the Mail, including Executive News Editor, Foreign Editor, Sports Editor (my favourite job in journalism!) and Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail. I was also Editor of Metro, which is owned by the Daily Mail but is a newspaper with a very different journalistic approach.

In 2008, I moved to the Telegraph and was Deputy Editor of the Sunday Telegraph for four years before becoming Business Editor of the Telegraph. In 2014, I joined The PHA Group.

What was it about The PHA Group that enticed you over other agencies?

I knew the chairman, Phil Hall, whom I’d come across during my time at the Mail and the Telegraph so was aware of The PHA Group and always liked the way Phil operated. Being a former editor himself, he understood how to work with journalists, whether he was trying to place a story on behalf of a client or to protect a client’s reputation by softening a story that he knew was going to be published.

When I decided to move into PR myself, I was attracted by the variety of agency’s work; I liked the wide mix of clients, which I knew would make the work interesting. I also loved the positive culture: collaborative and collegiate with no office politics.

What do you find most compelling about the clients you work with?

I am lucky to have worked with a range of clients across very diverse sectors, whether it’s super yacht charter, the art market or sport, and the great thing about agency life is that you are always learning new things. But, whatever the sector, what I always find compelling is a founder or leader who can create and grow a successful business, build and inspire a team, or lead innovation.

I am also impressed by the tenacity and commitment of the best leaders. For example, one of my clients is Crystal Palace and the chairman Steve Parish, who has been at the helm for ten years and saved the Club from the brink of liquidation, is involved in every aspect of the Club; his attention to detail is remarkable and he works 24/7 in an unforgiving role.

If you had to choose two of your favourite projects you’ve worked on during your time at The PHA Group, which ones would they be?

I love Test cricket so working with Surrey County Cricket Club on a campaign to celebrate the 100th Test match at The Oval in 2017 was a real treat. The campaign celebrated the rich sporting history of the Oval – we secured a wonderful feature in The Sunday Times magazine, full of archive photos and personal memories – but also encapsulated the Club’s future ambitions and strong business success story.

Another memorable project was writing a research report for SSAFA, the armed forces charity, about the plight of younger veterans. It is such an important subject because too many men and women who served their country in recent conflicts have struggled to adjust to civilian life, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Our report shone a spotlight on this and one of our recommendations, a mentoring scheme available to all service leaders when they are discharged, was adopted by the MoD, with SSAFA being asked to lead a pilot scheme. It’s satisfying when PR can also achieve real change.

How do you measure your PR impact for clients?

Measurement is becoming increasingly sophisticated and we want to ensure we are market leaders in our approach. The key is to work collaboratively with each client because one size does not fit all. Also, we offer a variety of KPIs for each client. Some want to prioritize measuring the media coverage we secure in an agreed list of media outlets which reach their target audiences. For others, we use Google analytics to analyze the impact of specific pieces of coverage in driving traffic and customer referrals.

In some cases, clients want to extend their network of influence with journalists or relevant public bodies, or to raise their share of voice online. We offer a mix of approaches that correspond to the key objectives we set at the outset of a campaign.

How does working at The PHA Group differ to other agencies?

I can’t directly compare The PHA Group to other agencies because it’s the only agency where I’ve worked! But I can confidently say that I wouldn’t have stayed here for the past five years if it hadn’t been such a terrific place to work.

We have a very entrepreneurial culture; we’re constantly looking to grow the business and find new opportunities and that ethos permeates the whole agency from top to bottom. We have a very positive, can-do culture, which I like; we are down-to-earth and results-driven. There’s a good work-life balance; we work hard and do what it takes to get the job done, but there’s not the same presenteeism culture that I sometimes encountered in journalism.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

When I am working with a client in a high-profile situation, perhaps under close media scrutiny and personal pressure, and I feel I can use my experience to advise them and help them navigate it then that can be very satisfying.

Having been a journalist for so many years, I can often anticipate the way a story will be reported and play out in the media. Being in the eye of a media storm is never easy and it is satisfying when you feel that strategic counsel borne of personal experience has made a difference.

The other rewarding aspect of the job is developing younger members of the team. I have been lucky enough to work with some wonderful colleagues over the last five years and seeing them grow in the job and become highly accomplished professionals has been a great pleasure.

If you would like to find out more about what Tim and his team do at The PHA Group then find out more information here or contact our team for a chat today.

Meet our people; Tim Jotischky

March is a fantastic month for women. With International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th and the whole month celebrating Women’s History, we wanted to place a spotlight on all the inspiring, talented and accomplished women that we have in our senior leadership team at The PHA Group.

For our fifth female spotlight we spoke to Hayley Bromfield, Head of Marketing. Find out more about her journey below.

Mimi Brown

Mimi Brown, Head of Entrepreneurs and Business

What brought you to the PR world?

After completing an Ancient History degree at Durham University, I began searching for a job and landed in a boutique B2B tech PR agency in London. I had zero experience of the PR industry, but the founder was always keen to nurture young entrants to the sector, and the agency was small and provided invaluable exposure.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

I once got transferred onto a client that had got into a real rut, and for the first time I was in a solo account leadership position and, to be honest, things weren’t going great – with the team and client. Six months later we’d won back trust, had some real fun with the account and the team had really rallied. Collective effort but was hugely satisfying.

For any person you interview, what do you look for?

This industry is full of people with fantastic and varied skillsets but ultimately, it’s about relationships; with media, with clients, with prospects and with colleagues – that’s what leads to success.

I love quirky personalities and certainly don’t look for a certain type of person, but if someone demonstrates an agility in their personality, shows they can adapt around other people without compromising their sense of self – then this is the biggest factor.

An open personality and being straight-talking is essential. We deal with a variety of people every day, from ambitious CEOs to inspired investors and corporate marketers so any façade will be seen straight-through.

If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self any advice, what would it be?

Have a bit more confidence in my abilities and experience – and asking for feedback earlier from everyone I worked with.

FEMALE SPOTLIGHT: Mimi Brown

March is a fantastic month for women. With International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th and the whole month celebrating Women’s History, we wanted to place a spotlight on all the inspiring, talented and accomplished women that we have in our senior leadership team at The PHA Group.

For our fourth female spotlight we spoke to Hayley Bromfield, Head of Marketing. Find out more about her journey below.

Hayley Bromfield, Head of Marketing

What brought you to the marketing world?

There are three reasons: people, creativity, and technology. When I say people, I mean customer relationships and behavioural psychology. The goal of marketing is to change consumer behaviour and essentially to drive action, whether that’s to build awareness, encourage engagement, or result in someone making a purchase. This process has always fascinated me and the development of technology and various marketing tools has allowed the monitoring of this behaviour to expand tenfold.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

Building a great team! The people you work with and the culture you instil is so important and a team that can support, build and learn from each other is the secret to success.

For any person you interview, what do you look for?

I always look for people who are naturally curious and want to learn more. Be it a new skill to develop their own career, or finding a new insight or outcome for a campaign. I think tenacity goes along way, you will experience a lot of trial and error in marketing and you need to be able to analyse, learn from your actions and keep on going to get the best results.

If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self any advice, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid to get things wrong. Learn from your mistakes and don’t sweat the small stuff.

FEMALE SPOTLIGHT: Hayley Bromfield

The UK’s devotion to health and fitness is illustrated by the fact that one in seven people are now gym members; that amounts to over 9.7 million people in the UK.

With the industry worth more than £5 billion, the biggest area of growth has come from the many low-cost gyms that are springing up all over the country. Now more than 500 across the UK and holding a strong 35% share, gym facilities have become more accessible and affordable by the removal of contracts, low or zero sign-up fees and, often open 24 hours a day.

So, what better time to muscle in and start your own business? We’ve picked seven gym franchise models that are growing at a great rate.

HITIO

HITIO Gym offers a unique experience through the combination of a traditional gym alongside the best martial arts philosophy. HITIO brings world-class combat sport programming into a state-of-the-art gym environment.

HITIO Gym also provides facilities for the whole family by offering classes for anyone from the age of five. Parents are encouraged to train at the same facility and at the same time as their children – either individually or together.

Check out one of their Discovery Days, designed to provide everything you need to know about opening a HITIO Gym. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the UK team, HITIO industry partners and take a tour of one of their operating sites.

9Round

9Round fitness is a specialised gym, fitness center and health club dedicated to circuit training with an emphasis on kickboxing fitness training. Promoting the brand as unique and fun, their fitness programme incorporates a functional, interval, cardiovascular, and circuit training regimens developed by a World Champion Kickboxer.

9Round’s offers two ownership franchise models; the semi-absentee owner where you can become a 9Round owner while maintaining your current job or occupation, and the owner-operator model where you own and operate your own club.

The website provides lots of helpful information on the general size, training and onboarding and business model. One you need to check out.

Gold’s Gym

Gold’s Gym provides the latest cardio and strength training equipment along with a dynamic group exercise programme that also includes yoga classes.

From humble beginnings back in 1965 as a small gym in Venice, California; Gold’s Gym has grown into a global franchise with 700+ locations and serving three million people each day across six continents.

Gold Gym’s provide comprehensive franchise support including site selection, design, construction, training, grand opening, marketing, and ongoing operations. Always striving for continuous improvement to help their franchisees and members reach full potential, Gold Gym creates a passionate health community and support network.

Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness claims to provide a business model that blends perfectly, providing a great work/life balance for any individual.

Opening its first club 16 years ago in Minnesota, USA, Anytime Fitness has now become one of the world’s largest health chains with over 4,500 clubs open in 33 countries.

With over four million members (a new member joining every three minutes, apparently) and 155 clubs open in the UK already, Anytime Fitness are showing steady growth, aiming to have 250 clubs open by 2020. Those numbers look pretty good to us!

truGym

truGym UK is a fitness centre designed to transform strength with affordability whilst still providing a premium quality experience and high-class security. Their facilities allow members to enjoy the benefit of unlimited gym access, free group classes alongside sauna and relaxation rooms.

With already over 20 sites in the UK, truGym projects a franchise’s turnover will range from £600,000 to £950,000 and an expected net profit from 25% to 35% depending on club size and location.

Bodystreet

Lack of time is a recurring excuse for many individuals trying to create a healthy lifestyle and fitness plan. Bodystreet prides themselves on offering an opportunity for those with little or no time. The franchise offers a once-a-week 20-minute workout programme to help burn fat, build muscle, tone and shape.

Bodystreet is already providing over 160,000 training sessions per month across 300 locations. Priding themselves on requiring a significantly lower investment sum than other franchise systems Bodystreet offers full support during the set-up, as well as on-going support after start-up.

((BOUNCE))

((BOUNCE)) is mini trampoline fitness business founded in 2014 by Kimberlee Perry. Together with Chris Perry, the duo turned the business into a franchise, opening studios up and down the UK and across the world.

Routines are performed to upbeat music in a welcoming and motivating environment. The brand encourages a social space where consumers can make friends and even bring children along while working out.

((BOUNCE)) improves weight loss up to three times faster than floor-based exercise due to the addition of gravity and g-force. It builds core strength quickly, is a cellular workout and detoxifies the body efficiently thanks to the lymphatic system being pumped as you jump. There is an array of scientific research on the health benefits of trampolining, most impressively, losing 700 calories per session and having fun… that’s what trampolines were made for!

Interested in hearing how we can help promote your franchise business? With years of experience working with brands including RED Driving School, ((BOUNCE)) and Fantastic Services we’re perfectly placed to help you out. Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to find out more.

Seven fitness franchises you will want to invest in

March is a fantastic month for women. With International Women’s Day on Sunday 8th March and the whole month celebrating Women’s History, we wanted to place a spotlight on all the inspiring, talented and accomplished women that we have in our senior leadership team at The PHA Group.

We asked them four quick fire questions to find out more about their journey, who they have become today and any words of wisdom they can impart. Our first chat is with Marina Hall, our Finance and Legal Director.

Marina Hall, Finance and Legal Director

Marina Hall

What brought you to the PR world?

My career up to the point of launching The PHA Group was as a European Patent Attorney, so nothing at all to do with PR. When Phil, my husband and founder of The PHA Group, decided to set up his own PR agency, my obsession with detail and business plans meant I couldn’t stop myself joining forces. I concentrated on the business/legal, HR and finance side and allowed him to concentrate on doing what he does best, delivering for clients.

We had a mortgage to pay, it had to succeed! I developed a passion for people and HR. I love the variety, excitement and creativity of the PR world, and although I promised Phil two years of my time, 15 years later I’ve never left.

What would you say is your biggest achievement?

The easy answer is setting up The PHA Group! Being a part of developing a successful business that has grown from two people in a back bedroom to 100 plus staff, award winning, large PR agency.
Being on the map in this way was always our ambition, but actually we have spent so much time, energy and commitment creating and nurturing the agency’s culture, and that is what I am immensely proud of. We have always focused on creating a well-balanced, inclusive, happy family and it is something we never lose sight of and never take for granted. Working with my husband for 15 years and still staying married – another good one.

For any person you interview, what do you look for?

Good communication skills, great organiser are all the skills needed to succeed in communications. However, most skills can be learnt so what you really need is to see someone’s passion and desire for the role. That’s ultimately is what makes someone successful.

If you could go back and give your 20-year-old self any advice, what would it be?

Be flexible and embrace change. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes as that is ultimately what keeps life exciting and you positive. Life runs along all different paths, embrace it. I give everyone I know a copy of Dr Seuss, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” for their 18th birthdays and I still read my copy when I need a reminder. It’s all the advice you need in life.

FEMALE SPOTLIGHT: Marina Hall

Europe and iconic buildings are something that go together like well, brick and mortar. From the Effel Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Europe is full of buildings bursting with character.

But away from landmark tourist attractions, who are the architecture firms who are constructing modern properties that will survive the test of time?

With the news breaking on Saturday that MIPIM, the world’s leading property market event, has been postponed until June due to the growing concerns related to the coronavirus.

We wanted to take a moment to recognise five of our favourite architecture firms that would have been attending the exhibition later this month.

Corstorphine + Wright

An award-winning practice which has design studios plotted across the breadth of the UK. Corstorphine + Wright combine the very best quality architectural solutions that blend a strategic, design-led approach whilst including integral commercial awareness.

What makes Corstorphine + Wright different from other architectural firms is the acknowledgement that architecture is more than just an individual building, it encompasses the spaces around the building, and the wider structures within its vacinity.

As their portfolio suggests their expertise are broad, projects include The Barcode in Plymouth, Royal Exchange in Manchester and the Bargate in Southampton.

 

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#TBT Leake Street Arches. A project we completed in 2017, but we have brand new (hot off the press) photographs to share with you. Leak Street Arches sits under Waterloo International Station and was a thoroughly enjoyable commission for us. The project received a commendation at the New London Awards in 2018. More info on our website, link in bio

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Pozzoni Architecture

Soon to be celebrating their 40th birthday, Pozzoni Architecture is a forward-thinking practice that has achieved success through passion, personality and an in-built drive from directors and partners.

Aside from their offices in the capital and Manchester, Pozzoni also have emerging partnerships in both the USA and Australia.

Whilst it might seem that Pozzoni are going global, they are always quick to remember their local roots that make them special.

With services including master planning, environmental sustainability, graphics and visualisation resources at their disposal, Pozzoni Architecture is a fully integrated firm for all your one-stop needs.

Projects include Godalming Leisure Centre and Cheadle Hulme School Sixth Form Centre.

 

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#tbt to our major extra care development, Village 135 🏘 ⠀⠀ Awarded 🏆 ⠀⠀ Best Large Development at the National Housing Awards 2017 ⠀⠀ Best Independent Living at the Pinders National Healthcare Design Awards 2018 ⠀⠀ Best Supported Housing at the Northern Housing Awards 2017 ⠀⠀ ▪️Click the link in our bio to find out more!

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Purcell

With 13 regional studios in the UK, Purcell’s ethos is that their fascination by extending the life of the old, whilst also providing excellent new designs that are futureproofed. The firm originally founded by Donovan Purcell in 1947 are leaders in architecture, heritage and master planning.

One of their big focuses for new business is in the cultural sector, which ties in suitably with their ethos of extending the life of the old.

Some examples of projects include rejuvenating Canterbury Cathedral, Mandarin Oriental Hotel and impressively the Palace of Westminster.

 

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We’re thrilled that we have achieved Listed Building Consent to re-present and enhance the landmark Grade 1 listed Manchester Town Hall for Manchester City Council. The Our Town Hall project will make the site more accessible to the public and adapt the building for the 21st Century while taking great care of the site’s wealth of heritage features. 📸: Manchester City Council . . . . #Manchester #manchesterarchitecture #Manchestertownhall #architecture #architecturephotography #architecturelovers #facade #architectural #heritage #buildings #beautifulbuildings

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UberRaum Architects 

Founded by German architects Markus and Daniela Seifermann, UberRaum Architecture combines Germany technology with British design for commercial, public and private clients at a national and international level.

Continually striving to create spaces where people feel comfortable, inspired and most importantly at home.

Their projects are inspired from believing that people achieve more when they can be themselves and the better, they feel.

UberRaum specialises in designing happy people, pretty cool huh?

 

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Cherry Blossom House has been featured in CUBE Magazin! 🍒🌸🍒🌸🍒🌸

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Uniform

Providing Architectural Visualisation to the world is Liverpool based business, Uniform. For over twenty years, they have been putting design at the forefront to solve problems, change mindsets and imperatively help their clients succeed.

Uniform’s award-winning architecture visualisation studio helps to bring the creative ambitions of the world’s leading developers and architects to life.

So, if you’re having difficulty picturing what a building or structure will look like, Uniform is the business to check out.

Responsible for projects such as 10 George Street in Canary Wharf, O’Hare International Airport and the extraordinary Dubai Towers.

 

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10 George Street | London ・ Thrilled to see our suite of images in the launch of 10 George Street for @canarywharflondon ・ 10 George Street rises 37 storeys above Canary Wharf’s new district Wood Wharf – with views overlooking waterside gardens, boardwalks below, a gym, bar, private dining room & lounge and a large terrace. ・ #canarywharf #architecture #london #landmark #city #culture #3dsmax #vray #3d #instarender #renderbox #render_contest #archviz #architecturalvisualization #art #cgarchitect #cgi #archdaily #photoshop #rendering #renderviz #design #architecturelovers #architecturephotography #architectural #architect #render_files #woodwharf @thisisvertus

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Could a bespoke PR strategy set your architecture firm apart from the rest? We have unrivalled success working with entrepreneurial business to help them achieve national coverage and expert lead pieces. Speak to a member of our award-winning team today to find out more.

The architecture firms to look out for at MIPIM 2020