This article was originally created for Hayes Knight (now Nexia Auckland).
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There’s no shortage of physical and online retail stores selling baby products to new parents. But Auckland businesswoman Danny Beh has nurtured a very specialised offering. Baby on the Move is a network of retail stores with a point of difference and Danny owns the Auckland Central franchise. While it sells a range of products for babies and toddlers, the company specialises in the rental, sale and expert installation of car seats.
“We’re the only retail space where customers can bring in any brand or type of car seat and we’ll install it for them,” says Danny. “Nine out of 10 car seats are not installed correctly; our service is invaluable because there’s so much to know about car seats. Our staff are qualified Child Restraint Technicians; this gives customers the reassurance that their seat is installed correctly and that their child is safe in their car.”
Danny purchased her Grey Lynn franchise in early 2014. Having worked in advertising and recruitment, and raised two children, she was looking for a new challenge. The franchise model offered the combination of independence and a business-network support she was looking for.
Before finding Baby on the Move, Danny had investigated other business opportunities and needed advice from an accounting firm with franchise experience. Through the Franchise Association of New Zealand she found Hayes Knight.
Business Advisory Director, Scott Travis, has led the firm’s specialist franchise division since 2008. He understands the specific requirements of the industry and was well placed to advise Danny. Having conducted initial investigations into another franchise business Danny had found, he dissuaded her from purchasing it.
“I liked that Scott was detail-focused and thorough,” she says. “The numbers didn’t stack up on that business and his evaluation made sense to me.”
However, the Baby on the Move franchise proved a much better proposition. With Hayes Knight’s guidance in formulating an offer price and conducting pre-purchase financial due diligence, Danny bought the business and set about making some major changes.
“I knew that to grow, we needed to be in a different space. The lease was about to expire, so I had three months to understand the business, serve the customers, find new premises and move in. It was full on. Fortunately, the ideal location came up. We took it, and it’s transformed everything.”
“When I first bought the business, I’d anticipated an initial drop in revenue, but by the six-month mark we’d doubled the monthly turnover. After 12 months, we’d doubled the annual turnover. Now it’s tripled. Revenue is one thing but gross profit is what’s important – and that’s also been increased.”
The complete business advisory service Scott and colleague Janice Osbaldiston provide Danny includes ongoing advice on tax minimisation, inventory management, gross-margin improvement, financing structure, revenue growth and cost management, and running her cloud accounting software and systems.
Scott credits Danny’s drive, hard work and courage for Baby on the Move’s success.
“Danny is quite fearless. Instead of simply seeing how things went, she’s quickly moved the business forward. She’s concentrated on a great service offering and adding value by skilling employees with technical expertise needed for the use and installation of car seats and equipment.”
For the first two years, Danny lived and breathed Baby on the Move, working 80- hour weeks. But with a family waiting at home, she realised she needed to reassess her work/life balance, and turned again to Hayes Knight for advice.
“Scott confirmed that I could afford someone to take over part of my role, so I brought in a senior manager and slowly let the reins go. It was hard – our customers need to know they can trust our knowledge so it’s vital to have the right people – but we have a really cool team now.”
Working with Scott and Janice has given Danny the confidence and support she needed to make some difficult, but ultimately rewarding, business decisions.
“I like to know the worst-case scenario from any decision so I can go ahead feeling prepared. Scott understood that early on. He was always honest about the potential consequences. I value his input enormously; he’s become a real mentor who is so supportive, open and well informed. Janice understands that I like detail – I never expected that from an accountant – and always gives me great advice.”
Danny’s focus for the future is on consolidating and enjoying the successes Baby on the Move has experienced to date.
“I’ve spent considerable time training staff and invested a lot in increasing our rental stock. I really love this business and it has a valuable place in the market. I don’t think anyone else in New Zealand offers what we do.”