Players in Business – Owning a Franchise (part one)

Players in Business – Owning a Franchise (part one)

As part of our business series, we talk to a group of players about owning a business through a franchise model. These include a wellness and recovery centre, an F45 gym, mobile accommodation cabins and an anchor milk run. Our business owners share insights and useful information on what they have learned through the process.

Tim Bateman 
Rugby history: Canterbury, Hurricanes, Crusaders, Māori All Blacks, Toshiba Brave Lupus Tokyo (current) 
Business type: Wellness and recovery
Owner: Tim and Laura Bateman, and Sam Thomas
How long have you owned this business?: Six years
Previous business experience: We built and still own Cloud 9 Float Club, which we formed six years ago. Three years later, we developed a full wellness centre in Christchurch called O-Studio, which has float rooms, massage, infrared sauna, ice baths, recovery spaces with NormaTec compression gear, life coaching, yoga, Pilates and meditation. The model has proven very successful, so we have now franchised it. 
Top business tip: Build a system that is easy to manage, so you can focus on the important and enjoyable aspects of your work. Work smarter not harder.
Transferable skills from rugby: Managing and creating a strong team culture, understanding around things like physical recovery and mental performance, and also the importance of things like theming for bringing team focuses to life. 
Learnings: Theming our business strategies quarterly keeps the staff engaged and excited and our marketing fresh.
Best thing about owning a franchise: The best part of running your own ship, in my mind, is that you get to own your time. For franchising in particular though, you are able to access the learnings of someone who has been there before. You also get to access the ongoing support and guidance from a team of people who are heavily incentivised for you to be successful. Obviously healthy profits are a key too!
Why did you get into it?: My wife has multiple sclerosis, so we were looking at ways to help her relax and recover. Her fatigue and pain was immense initially but flotation therapy helped. I then started using floating for my own performance through visualisation and also for the physical recovery benefits. We both saw the benefits of the growing health and wellbeing industry and saw that people were really keen to invest in their wellness. People are overwhelmingly more stressed than ever, so we wanted to create a one-stop shop where people can improve their wellbeing. 
Benefits of a franchise: The business model is extremely thorough and there is complete support and training through site identification, set-up, staff training, operations, marketing and financials, so no previous business experience is required at all. However, we do insist that potential franchisees have an independent lawyer, an accountant and a business mentor to help carry out due diligence and monitor the business performance. It is head office's job to provide complete support so it is ready to run. We do all the set-up and education. 
Franchise starting price: $450,000–$800,000, depending on the size of the operation (e.g how many float tanks, yoga studios and saunas you have) and the overall size of the space and location. There are a couple of different configurations which we can discuss with you.
The challenges: Managing through Covid-19 and managing a big team. Covid forced us to adapt our business and develop an online meditation and yoga platform. Although a real challenge, Covid actually provided us the opportunity to grow our business and attract more clients through the convenience of online classes and education programmes. Managing a big team is similar to working with a rugby team in that it involves different roles, different personalities and trying to get the best out of everyone.   
Franchise options:
O-Studio Recover option: Smaller format 160-square-metre premisesO-Studio Premium option: 300-square-metre premises
Current locations: Rolleston, Christchurch, with more pending throughout the country
Franchise opportunities: Available throughout New Zealand
Final word: If you have ever been interested in owning and running your own business, it is definitely worth investigating. Get curious and think about life outside of rugby. Don’t be afraid to make the enquiry. O-Studio as a business is great fun to run and works perfectly for the lifestyle I want to have away from the game and post rugby.
Instagram: Ostudio_NZ
Facebook: Ostudio


Huriana Manuel-Carpenter and Derek Carpenter
Rugby history: Huriana – World Rugby Hall of Fame, Auckland Storm, Black Ferns (world champion), Black Ferns Sevens (Olympic silver medallist). Derek – Northland, Sunwolves, Suntory Sungoliath, Toyota Verblitz, NEC and Japan
Business type: Gym
Owners: Huriana Manuel-Carpenter and Derek Carpenter
How long have you owned this business?: Almost three years
Previous business experience: Absolutely none
Top business tip: Build a system that is easy to manage, so you can focus on the important aspects and enjoy the fun stuff.
Transferable skills from rugby: Managing a team, problem solving, physical health and recovery, and creating a team culture.
Learnings: Managing through Covid-19. We had to adapt our business and develop our online workouts. We’ve always tried to learn with a positive mindset and having a close network of support really helps.
Best thing about owning a franchise: It provides an opportunity to buy into an existing, successful business model that has a proven track record, a successful training programme and ongoing support and guidance team.
Why did you get into it?: My husband and I were first introduced to F45 in 2018. We enjoyed the fast-paced HIIT training style, studio vibe and of course it was quick (45 minutes), perfect for a busy family. We were living abroad in Japan at the time and, for us, it was planning for life after rugby. Coming from a world of high-performance sports and fitness, it just made sense for us. We wanted to create a studio environment where people from all backgrounds feel comfortable working out every single day. Creating a team culture that we can be proud of. We are passionate about seeing other people conquer their goals through health and fitness. We will be opening another one soon!
Benefits of a franchise: The systems are proven. 
Franchise starting price: Price on application (POA) as it varies by location and size
The challenges: COVID and lockdowns meant adapting to online workouts and working from home, so we had to find a balance with business and whānau time.
Franchise options: Various locations around the world
Current locations: Throughout New Zealand 
Franchise opportunities: Throughout the world
Final word: It is important to think about life after rugby. Think interests and passions. Ask questions, enquire, find your support networks. F45 as a business is fun and so rewarding as I get to see great people achieve amazing results through health and fitness on a daily and it works perfectly for our lifestyle.
Instagram: f45_training_teatatu
Facebook: F45 Training Te Atatu

Roommate Cabins 
Glen Jackson
Rugby history: Saracens, Bay of Plenty, Chiefs, Māori All Blacks, Barbarians
Refereeing history: Heartland, NPC, Super Rugby, international
Franchise business: Mobile cabins in Rotorua and Whakatane. I started with South Canterbury and then sold it as we are based up north.
Business type: Mobile accommodation
Owners: Glen and Fiona Jackson, and Sean and Lara Lett
How long you have you owned this business?: Three years
Previous business experience: Not much at all. I have only really been involved in rugby but Sean, my business partner, has many businesses, so I was lucky to be able to learn from his knowledge.
Top business tip: It is great to have a partnership where you can both learn from each other. Transferable skills from rugby: Relationship building, learning that not everything goes your way and having a good understanding of people and teams. We are dealing with a lot of people who enjoy rugby and love to give me advice with regard to referring, so I make them lift things while they are giving their opinions about what I could do better as a referee!
Learnings: The balance of growth and commitment. Also timing and business selection. A lot of my friends have these franchises, so we had a bit of knowledge that we would be able to grow the business. We got an inside look into how it was run before we jumped in. 
Best thing about owning a franchise: It is run really well run and it is a small franchise and the franchisor is able to give their input. A lot of good people are involved, so it makes it easy to have good conversations about the business. 
Why did you get into it?: I knew I wanted to have my own business and thought about coffee shops etc and getting into something after rugby. The good thing about a franchise is there is a lot of support. 
Benefits of a franchise: The support is great, the business model is there and we are lucky it’s going well. 
Franchise starting price: POA based on the number of cabins. We have about 520 cabins. The demand is there so we are going to keep building cabins.
The challenges: It is a massive area we cover so accessibility can be challenging. Keeping up with demand.
Franchise options: Throughout New Zealand
Current locations: Throughout New Zealand 
Franchise opportunities: Throughout New Zealand 
Final word: As players we have a fair bit of time to look into these things, so spend your time wisely and select wisely. There are lot of opportunities out there, so it is about timing and selecting the right thing.
Instagram: roommatecabins 
Facebook: RoomMate Cabins


Anchor Milk franchise
James Christian
Rugby history: Blues, Newcastle Falcons, Auckland, New Zealand Universities (career-ending neck injury at age 25)
Business type: Anchor Milk franchise with four trucks in the northwest Auckland area
Owner: James and Debbie Christian (former netballer)
How long you have owned this business?: 10 years
Previous business experience: Following my injury, I completed degrees in information technology and marketing then worked in sales at DB Breweries Heineken for 10 years to get an understanding of business. 
Top business tip: Expect the unexpected when working with machinery and people, never panic as things will go wrong, but “nothing is a problem, we only deal in solutions!”
Transferable skills from rugby: Building an inclusive culture, having measurable targets and ensuring all members of the team feel valued. Others skills would be resilience, teamwork, goal setting, planning, communication, keeping cool under pressure, hitting targets, dealing with different cultures.
Learnings: Planning and strategies are crucial, knowing what your end goal is just like in rugby, but focusing on what is in front of you that day in order to get you one step closer to the goal. Having a business mentor is useful. Remember everyone has their own set of challenges. Understand what is important to staff, customers and stakeholders. Ensure you have a close working relationship with your accountant and bank!
Best thing about owning a franchise: Being able to draw on the experience and knowledge of other franchisees who have been in the business longer. Also being able to call upon the franchisor (Fonterra Brands) for systems trends and benchmarks in the industry to ensure your numbers are on track and to compare your performance with other Anchor franchisees. Their wealth of knowledge is invaluable to my ongoing self-improvement. 
Why did you get into it?: I liked the idea of being part of a franchise system and a global brand – Anchor Milk! I also wanted a business where my sales, IT and marketing skills could be transferable. I enjoy getting out and working on the trucks occasionally as well. 
Benefits of a franchise: There is plenty of support from Fonterra Brands, a wealth of knowledge from the more experienced operators and a positive sharing environment with the opportunity to expand. You get rewarded with opportunities to grow your territory. The Anchor brand has great market presence and a marketing budget to back up your Anchor franchise business. We also distribute brands such as Mainland, Kapiti, Fresh n Fruity, Primo, Mammoth and De Winkel. I also sell eggs, bacon, Phoenix and Charlies drinks and a range of kombucha and plant-based milks. We supply all supermarkets, gas stations, rest homes, dairies and offices in the northwest Auckland area. 
Franchise starting price: $500,000–$1,000,000
The challenges: Staff and machinery. The first three to four years were challenging like any business. There are a lot of synergies with rugby. You get knockbacks but you get back up and keep going. 
Franchise options: Throughout New Zealand
Current locations: Throughout New Zealand
Franchise opportunities: Throughout New Zealand
Final word: What are you waiting for? Get out and give it a go.
Instagram: AnchorNewZealand
Facebook: AnchorNZ

If anyone would like to be put in touch with one of these businesses about a franchise, contact Mark Ranby ( or Kylie Devlin Sousa ( 












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