Your questions answered

Who is PBP?

Platinum Business Partners (PBP) has been described as ‘one of the most exciting franchises’ seen in the past two decades. This quote can be attributed to highly regarded franchise lawyer, John Chambers, from the firm Ashton KCJ.

Our aim is to show you how to tap into the enormous and growing potential of online retailing and help you create a profitable and sustainable ecommerce business of your own for the long term.

Founded by experienced entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, PBP replicates the important aspects of the tried, tested and proven service delivery and mentoring methods that have worked so well for the Platinum businesses over the past ten years.

Steve Bolton is a successful businessman and entrepreneur, published author, mentor and Founder of the Platinum group of companies, which includes the world’s first premium property investment franchise, Platinum Property Partners (PPP). Along with Managing Director, Steve Hogan, they have grown PPP to a network comprising 300+ Partners, who own £213 million worth of assets.

Both advocates of coaching, mentoring and helping people to achieve time, location and financial freedom through proven business models, they fully understand the benefits of franchising and having a support network to help you build and grow your business.

Through long-standing business relationships, and utilising Steve Hogan’s 20+ years’ experience in international retail and supply chain management, they started to build their own online retail businesses.

This has resulted in the development of a flexible and systemised model that can easily be followed and replicated by you.

What do you do?

We teach you how to build your own online retail business which will become a sellable asset in the future but earn you a substantial income in the process – £2,000 to £4,000 per month net income (not turnover) is the average, but much more is possible (we prefer to under-promise and over-deliver).

By following our tried, tested and proven system, you will be able to create your own online brand and sell products from anywhere in the world to anyone who shops online.

Your ecommerce business will be based wherever you are, as long as you have an internet connection – you don’t have to be tied to the office or your home – and the model involves no product creation, handling or physical shipment.

How long have you been operating?

PBP was officially launched in March 2016 and we’ve already welcomed almost 100 Partners. These were made up of existing Platinum Property Partners franchisees who wanted to build new businesses since establishing their property portfolios, and other, established online sellers who wanted a longer-term and more secure business mentoring programme.

We are currently able to recruit 10 new Partners per month to ensure that we can provide the most dedicated and optimised training programme.

While this particular franchise is in its infancy, it has the benefit of being backed up by over a decade of franchise, training, coaching and development expertise from the team behind Platinum Property Partners. The subject matter may be different, but the delivery and service is the same – high quality and proven to result in success.

In addition, there is the technical knowledge of the online retail marketplace which our mentors and Power Team provide.

What is ecommerce and online retail?

One and the same, ecommerce and online retail are simply explained as commercial transactions conducted electronically on the internet. It’s basically online shopping.

Four out of five Britons buy items online and ecommerce sales exceeded £100 billion for the first time in 2014. As of 2015, there were a staggering 191 million online buyers in the US and globally, the value of ecommerce sales are expected to reach $1.2 trillion in 2016.

Why do you operate in the ecommerce space?

The simple answer is why not? The ecommerce revolution is here and there is currently huge potential for millions of people to sell products online through their own successful businesses, which can be based wherever they are.

We are committed to helping people achieve the freedom to live life on their terms and to pursue their passions. We do this by creating proven, flexible and systemised business models that others can follow. We’ve done it with property and we’re now doing it with online retail.

Our directors saw a great opportunity to share their successful business model with others so that they could also benefit. And a franchise was the best vehicle, because one webinar, online training course or seminar is not enough.

Success is more achievable through long-term mentoring, support and powerful partnerships.

How does the model work?

We have a B2B2C model – business to business to consumer.

Our business has a relationship with yours – we give you our model, along with all the resources and support you need to succeed. You commit to a five year relationship with us and become a Partner, learning from other people who’ve achieved the success you’re looking for.

But it’s not a partnership in the traditional sense as we don’t own any part of the business we’ll help you build.

You will be part of a network of like-minded individuals and will be guided through a tried and tested system to help you build your own online retail business.

Because you’ll be successful, you’ll enjoy passing on your own experience to new Partners as they come on board.

Your business has a relationship with your buyers – with our help, you’ll be able to source and sell a range of high demand, high quality products to thousands of online shoppers. In addition, you’ll learn the most effective brand, marketing and customer service strategies to keep those buyers coming back. In return, you’ll benefit from a regular and significant income and be building your business as an asset of value.

What will I be selling?

There are hundreds, if not thousands of products that you could sell via your online retail business and we’ve devised a specific criteria and business model that will maximise your success.

This is done through buying trend and sector analysis that is not publically available.

We go through product selection extensively in the training and this is exactly what your mentor will support you with.

You need to:

  • Conduct the right market research – there needs to be a demand
  • Set the right price point – attract impulse buyers
  • Think about size and weight – shipping and handling costs shouldn’t eat into your profits
  • Be able to private label a product – create a brand that stands out
  • Pick a category before a product – you need to be able to expand and encourage cross-selling

We’ve already discovered which categories work best, such as health and beauty, home and kitchen and pet supplies, and ones that don’t – clothing, appliances and music for example.

This means you could be selling anything from supplements and hair accessories to potato peelers and dog leads.

One excellent example of a great e-commerce business that has created its own hugely successful brand is Anker. They specialise in mobile and computer accessories.

The other key criteria is that you have a level of interest in your chosen category. This way, it’s much more likely that you will have some experience of the products you are selling and know what your target audience is looking for. It also makes it all the more enjoyable!

What are the risks?

The three biggest risks of building and operating an online retail business are:

  1. Not following the right model

Thousands of people have online retail businesses and thousands more partner with established ecommerce platforms. The problem is that they don’t do it correctly nor have the right plan, the right support or the right approach. Being caught out with dubious suppliers, picking the wrong market and product or not having the right insurance cover can quickly put an end to your business and ruin your brand reputation. This is exactly what PBP helps you to avoid.

  1. Not having the right knowledge

This is a business after all and requires the right type of insurance and tax structure for example. In some cases, you may also need to comply with health and safety regulations and other legislation that could affect the way you run your business, the products you sell and the marketplace you operate in. All of this is covered in the extensive training provided by PBP.

  1. That you don’t diversify your portfolio

Relying on one or two products to be successful will mean that if anything should happen, your income will drop drastically. This is why we operate the law of diversification – to build resilience in your business should you run out of stock, or demand drop drastically for example.

How do I build value in my brand?

Your brands will be the umbrellas under which your products are sold. The name and design of your brands is something you have complete control over, but we will support you with ideas and strategies based on our experience and expertise.

The way you build value through your brands is by increasing your customer base, repeat purchases and bolt-on products. Once someone has bought a great product from you, it’s highly likely they will look at what else you can offer – which is why it’s important to have a portfolio of products, sometimes across more than one brand.

The more products you have under a brand umbrella and the more customers you have, the higher ‘sale value’ you can achieve.

The Platinum model is focused on helping you build more than one brand if this is your goal, which gives your portfolio scale and strength.

If and when you decide the time is right, you could sell one of your brands, your entire business or nothing – either way you’ll have a realisable asset that could earn you hundreds of thousands of pounds in the not too distant future. You may want to use this strategy as a way of raising capital to develop another brand, or decide to exit your business entirely.

We work with expert brokers to help you do this and achieve the best price. As a generic rule, your brand can usually be sold for 3x its net income. Having multiple suppliers, online retail platforms and a customer database also increases the sale value of your brand.

Where will I sell my products?

We recommend that our Partners start by selling their products in the USA because, quite simply, it’s a much bigger market in terms of population and demand. Depending on the type of product you choose in the first instance, it may be preferable to sell in other territories. Part of our business growth strategy for you is to show you how you can also start selling in other online marketplaces such as Europe. The opportunities are endless.

Why do you start selling on Amazon?

Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world and it’s unlikely that you or someone you have spoken to today has not bought something from the site.

However, it only has 15% of the market share so there is huge growth potential. Supply cannot keep up with demand and that’s why Amazon needs people like you – third party sellers. Even if everyone in the UK joined PBP, the surface would not have even been scratched.

Amazon themselves are a prime example – Despite only owning the Kindle, Amazon has 132 million products for sale on the UK site alone, and more than double this on the US site, which is why that’s where we’re starting.

In 2014, Amazon sold $100 billion of products worldwide. They want to grow this to $200 billion within three years – which is where you come in.

Amazon also offers something called Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA) which means that sellers do not need to handle, stock or ship any products themselves, making this one of the least time-consuming yet most profitable online business models available – if done correctly with the right support and marketing strategies.

We are starting with Amazon because it’s established and has an excellent reputation for customer service. However, as your business develops there will be other online transactional sites that we will introduce you to as part of your business model – Amazon is just the springboard.

What are the benefits of franchising?

Only 10% of new business start-ups survive past the first two years. However, according to the 2015 NatWest/bfa Franchise Survey, 93% of franchises are profitable within two years.

Franchising allows you to grow your own business based on a tried, tested and proven model, with an established support system provided by the franchisor.

The directors of PBP recognised that the best way to grow this business and to deliver the best possible products and services was to use a system that had already proved itself.

PBP is a long-term offering and the chance to benefit from a Power Team and network of like-minded individuals with the same goals and aspirations.

Becoming a Partner enables you to be in business for yourself, but not by yourself, for the long-term. It’s about continued learning and support to help your business grow in an ever-changing environment. Call it hand holding if you like.

If you doubt this in any way, then just take a look at some of our case studies. You will see that being supported by a community has a certain strength in numbers that cannot be achieved on your own, and has been key to their success.

It’s a partnership, so if you aren’t successful, then neither are we. This is why we do all we can to help you succeed.

What does the training and support package involve?

Part of our promise is to help you grow your business, brands, marketplace and income while staying ahead of the very competitive and ever-changing ecommerce game.

Through our extensive training and support programme, you will learn everything you need to know to fast track your success and achieve a level of financial and time freedom that suits you.

Our unique programme of technical learning and personal development includes:

  • Comprehensive pre-mentoring package to ensure you start your mentoring and training with clear expectations in regards to the goals and objectives of your business.
  • Being paired with an experienced mentor who can guide you through the entire business set-up process during 121 calls, including business structure, category and product selection, supply procedures, shipping options and marketing strategies.
  • Step-by-step comprehensive online training modules.
  • Two separate one-day workshops taking you through the development of your business at two crucial stages.
  • Momentum Days 3 times a year that will give you the opportunity to meet other people in the network, share any successes or challenges, listen to updates from Head Office and hear presentations from external speakers, industry professionals and specialists.
  • Ad-hoc subject specific, technical workshops.
  • Monthly webinars with our mentors and subject matter experts.
  • Access to topic-specific Mastermind Groups.
  • Allocation to a Buddy Group to encourage support and networking amongst Partners at various stages of your business development.
  • 24/7 access to resources and training via our online intranet.

Who is the Power team?

We have a team of experts who can support our Partners with the likes of insurance, product sourcing, tax, accounting and bookkeeping from day one.

These are individual professionals and companies already known to the directors and with a proven track-record in their field.

Such services or products may be bespoke to PBP and offered at preferential rates. Our Power Team has specific and thorough information on how this particular business model works and how their specialisms are impacted by that model. However you are welcome to use your own advisors.

What happens if a product doesn't sell?

This can happen. No product is a sure thing. However, our model is not based on finding a superstar product that will give you financial freedom. It’s possible, but there is always a danger that that product will become less desirable over time or be superseded by ‘the next best thing’ on the market.

The most important principle for success in ecommerce is to build a balanced portfolio of products.

Having a diverse range of products builds resilience in your online business and helps to take the pressure off too. Nothing has to be a star performer. The cost difference of having one or 10 products is also negligible.

However, if you do find yourself in a situation where one of your products fails, then you will be trained in various techniques and methods to mitigate long-term risks to your business.

What's the criteria?

The most important requirement is that you have the desire to learn and follow a plan, and are committed to succeeding and overcoming barriers with our help and support – because the ecommerce world is forever changing and fast-moving.

You don’t need to have specific ecommerce experience, but there are several transferrable skills that you may have acquired in your current or previous careers that will be useful. After all, building a successful online retail business involves dealing with manufacturers, supply chain management, marketing, customer service and international money transfers. So if any of your previous roles have involved one or more of those elements, you’ll be one step ahead.

Remember that this is also an internet-based business. Being computer literate is a must, but if the thought of doing more than sending emails and building Excel spreadsheets scares you, then you have to ask yourself whether you are the kind of person that can learn new IT skills.

We can help you build your knowledge in all of these areas, and give you access to subject matter experts, but you must be willing to learn. The difference with the Platinum Business Partners model is that while you’re learning, you can be earning too.

How much money do I need?

People have achieved success with a minimal amount of start-up capital. However, PBP is all about minimising the risk, maximising the success and helping you to achieve financial, time and location freedom.

In short, this means building a diversified portfolio of products.

To achieve this, we recommend that you have access to a minimum of £18,000 working capital within the first 12 months of your partnership with us. This is based on the expectation that you will have four products live within the first 12 months of business, with each product requiring approximately £4,500 investment to launch and market the product.

The more working capital you have, the quicker you will be able to grow your business.

Alongside the working capital requirement our franchise fee is £12,000+VAT, for a five-year partnership, which provides you with an operating licence and access to the expertise and support you require through our initial and ongoing training package.

From the fourth month following your agreement start date, you will also be required to pay a monthly subscription of £300.90 plus VAT. This enables us to continue to provide guidance and training that will help you grow your business. It also helps to fund ongoing research into the market so you can stay ahead of the curve.

How long will it take to get up and running?

Our aim is to get you up and running with your first product within four to six months but this will be dependent on the amount of time you have available, the market you choose to buy from and sell in and subsequent products that you select.

How much time do I need?

Like any business, it takes time to set up and get going. This is because there is a training, research and development phase. How long this takes will depend on you, the time you have available and your level of commitment – but you must be aware that there will be some very time-intensive periods, especially at the beginning of your journey.

Many of our existing Partners have set up their online retail business alongside a full time job or other business, spending a smaller amount of time on a regular basis. However, it often takes these Partners a little longer to grow their business.

It really does depend on how much you need to learn and the speed at which you work.

Once you are familiar with the process, have a few products launched and are in what we call the ‘maintenance mode’, your business could be managed with as little time commitment as a few hours a week.

The time you spend on your business will be determined by the stage you are at – if you want to keep growing your business, you’ll always need to spend more time on it than someone who has already reached their goal in terms of number of product lines and income.

Do I need to set up my own limited company?

We strongly recommend that you start a Limited Company specifically for the purpose of running your online retail business. Of course, your personal financial advisor or accountant may have different advice and our recommendation should not supersede this. Your Ltd Co. should be registered for VAT and will be based in the UK.

The various requirements are covered in pre-ignition training and you can access a member of our Power Team to help you set up and incorporate your company and register for VAT at a very comprehensive rate. If your Franchise Agreement is issued in your personal name we can amend and reissue this at a later date. We can also do this for your invoice.


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