Craig Robinson is BforB’s newest Regional Director, taking over Central Manchester.  Craig was born and bred in Manchester, where he has lived most of his life, apart from short stints in Dusseldorf, Bangkok and Auckland.  Why are we excited to have Craig on board?  Well that’s simple.  BforB approached Craig at Franchising Works to help BforB recruit franchisees.  We think that with Craig buying the Central Manchester BforB Franchise it says more than words ever could just how amazing BforB is, and what it has to offer as a great business venture.

10 weeks after first meeting with Craig we sat down again to go over what makes Craig tick, his life, his ambitions (for BforB of course) and what made him join us.

  • How long have you been working at Franchising Works?

“I joined in July 2016, so about a year.  I had known and worked with them previously. They helped me buy a franchise back in 2013. When the position came up as a UK Programme Manager I was more than happy to take the role”.

  • I contacted you initially for help. What changed?

“I was impressed by the business model and your passion for BforB. I’ve been networking since I was 19 years old. The concept isn’t new to me but your drive and belief in BforB was inspiring.  The vision you have is contagious and I really wanted to be a part of it. I’ve attended all the groups now on several occasions, and the members that I’ve engaged with show a real commitment to BforB and you.  It was also easy to see that real business was being passed, not just lukewarm leads or last-minute desperation phone contacts. When you showed me the Referral Academy that your members have access too I was blown away, that is industry leading. Short bites of really useful info that can change your business.”

  • A number of BforB members look to their Regional Director for inspiration. What do you bring to the table?

“I’ve worked with some large companies and I’ve owned my own Franchise. I’ve been heavily involved in project management, in particular helping to build Shell UK’s international call-centre, back office functionality projects for CWS (over the millennium!) and I helped roll out desktop computing programme to the whole of the CWS estate.  I was also involved in the DWP spineware development, in preparation for Universal Credit, one of the largest programmes ever awarded by DWP at £1.2 billion.   All of this has given me a great deal of experience and knowledge of working and leading big multidisciplinary teams. From what I’ve seen of the central Manchester BforB members I can utilise this to help develop their businesses through world-class networking. I am the members ambassador and change-agent, come to me and tell me what would make it work for you.”

  • What groups do you currently run?

“We have four at the moment

Ainscow Ladies – Tuesday at 9.45

Ainscow General – Wednesday 7.30

Holiday Inn Mcr – Thursday 7.30

Prestwich/Heaton Park Beefeater – Thursday (alternate) 8.00

All the meetings are 90 minutes but please do arrive a little early as we start promptly and you may want to talk after so don’t feel like you have to dash off.

The aim is to build each group to around 18 – 25 members. At this point we’ll look to open further groups, probably a group for Creative businesses and one for Property and Construction. At this level the groups are manageable and members can still work around 1-2-1’s, building alliances etc. Beyond these numbers time restrictions can affect the quality of the meeting. We are always going to have quality as our watchword. As the momentum builds we will open more groups with a target of 10 by the end of 2018”.

  • Any other plans in the pipeline?

“I’m setting up regular social events, possibly 3 / 4 a year. These will be open across the groups and encourage members to meet members outside their own groups and build on their contacts.  I also want to arrange to have guest speakers, hopefully every couple of months. These will be captains of industry, interesting people, politicians etc. People relevant to business development and growth who can inspire”.

  • So why do you think BforB is the best?

“I believe it knocks socks off other referral marketing groups I’ve been involved with for a few reasons:-

  1. a) BforB is real people, in real businesses, passing real referrals that result in real business.
  2. b) A great way to start a business day, on a positive note with like-minded business owners, looking to expand their portfolios.
  3. c) There’s a real camaraderie in all the groups, a genuine willingness to help and go the extra mile for each other.
  4. d) Energy and drive. Members are focused but not pressurised, self-responsibility is key to quality referrals”.
  • What makes a good BforB Group?

“100% attendance from all the members. It’s the one thing the best performing groups share, after all you can’t refer to an empty seat. Plus, if you’re coming then your visitors will feel more confident the group is working well. It is the life blood of any group; members perform better with guests in the room!  I also think that the group needs every member to be actively participating, in the meeting and outside of the meetings. By this I mean 1-2-1’s, inviting guests, working on quality referrals”.

  • Is there anything you’d look to improve on?

“To maximise each member’s value we will be launching a mentorship programme to run hand-in-hand with the excellent Referral Academy that is already in place. We’re actually kicking this off together Mel on the 31st May, with a regional meeting for members, exec teams and directors.  I think looking after new members at the beginning of their experience is important. In my role with Franchising Works I will be promoting BforB as great way to build their venture, make some new friends and contribute to the local business community.”

  • We finished off asking Craig for a quote –

“Be careful what promises you make, and keep the ones you do”

  • And, something we don’t know about him –

“I’m also a scuba instructor and sometimes am privileged to teach children with special needs. Seeing them overcome some pretty daunting challenges is so rewarding and humbling. I’m extremely passionate about this and the children are inspiring in the way they apply themselves”


It was great to chat to Craig. I think the story sells itself on why becoming a BforB franchisee is a great opportunity.  For more information on how you can become our next Franchisee get in touch with me –  MEL FISHER

Tel – 0845 688 4445

E:  franchise@bforb.co.uk

To contact Craig about visiting one of the Manchester groups to see if it’s for you, anything to do with franchises or learning to scuba dive, email Craig at craig.robinson@bforb.co.uk



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