The Numbers Game

Accounting and HR services get franchised with Brookside Business Services.

The Numbers Game

The founder

Debbie Blake-Satchel had been a freelance book-keeper for 20 years and a Pastel dealer and consultant for 15. Then in January 2010 she started her own business, Brookside Admin – Capri.

Over time she gained in-depth knowledge about the SME market and the challenges experienced with book-keeping and administration. She also found that independent book-keepers experience difficulty marketing their services, which presented an opportunity to turn her business into a franchise.

Developing the idea


“Although my book-keeping business was successful, I found that my passion lay in growing businesses but I was always being asked to do the books,” says Blake-Satchel.

“I get gratification from growing sustainable businesses as it then helps with employment. Because I’ve had business coaching too, I have a deep understanding of business over and above book-keeping and accounting. So as a franchisor, I teach my franchisees about good business practices which they then teach to their clients.”

The concept

“In 2011 I established Brookside Business Services as a franchise by ensuring everything was structured, systematised and replicable. The franchise offers SMEs their own professional accounts and HR departments without having to do it all themselves, while offering qualified book-keepers and accountants their own successful and sustainable business. The best part for franchisees is that the business can later be sold because its success is in the brand and its systems rather than the individual.”

Growing a business

The benefits to franchisees are clear. “Trust is a big factor in financial management, accounting and book-keeping, and working through a brand that is reliable and trustworthy helps with getting business,” explains Blake-Satchel.

“For clients, they have security in knowing there is a larger body monitoring their franchisees’ good practice. Then there are the other franchise perks such as marketing, industry expertise to call on, networks for referrals, ongoing training, and the opportunity to empower others.”

Moving forward

Brookside Business Services currently has two franchisees operating with more in the pipeline.

“I found my first franchisees through networking and referrals as we’re looking for qualified and experienced accountants and book-keepers who want to run their own business but need support in making it sustainable.  Our vision is to take the franchise national and into Africa, so emphasis needs to be on running and growing franchises rather than training franchisees in book-keeping and accountancy.”

The model

  • The ideal franchisee is a corporate or ex-corporate worker who wants a change in lifestyle. “This system is perfect for someone wanting to be at home more for their children as you’re able to manage your time better,” says Blake-Satchel. Franchisees should have industry knowledge, want to own their own business, be go-getters, detail-oriented and show a willingness to learn.
  • Franchisees receive four days of training on systems, generating leads and business operation, as well as six one hour per week sessioBrookside-business-Services-Logo_Franchise-Interviews-and-Profilesns with Sales Partners which will teach them how to grow sales with new and current customers while managing staff and business finances.
  • Ongoing training is provided through weekly skype meetings to set short-term goals, and three events per year on how to grow your business.
  • Professional home offices keep overhead expenses low, but franchisees must supply their own office equipment and software.

Investment Capital

  • Franchise fees:R75 000, includes six months of royalties
  • Royalty: R2 000 per month plus 5% of turnover when exceeding R20 000 per month
  • ROI: Depending on franchisee can be between six and twelve months.



Tracy Lee Nicol
About the Author
Tracy-Lee Nicol is the managing editor of Franchise Zone Magazine and deputy editor of Entrepreneur Magazine. She studied her Masters degree in Art History and Visual Culture at Rhodes University and spent the next two years working and travelling in Asia. Her love of people, business and teaching is reflected in telling the stories of entrepreneurs, franchisees and franchisors, inspiring others to take the leap to being their own boss and bringing about positive change in South Africa.

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