global franchise newsletter sign up graphic

Stay in the know and receive the latest international franchising news, insight and investment opportunities

close catfish

ActionCOACH founder and CEO: “We are in the business of helping people and there’s a lot of help needed right now”

ActionCOACH founder and CEO: “We are in the business of helping people and there’s a lot of help needed right now”

Although business is good for ActionCOACH in these trying times, founder and CEO, Brad Sugars, is still doing his bit for the global economy, giving away thousands of hours of coaching to help small businesses survive. In his words: the only way the economy survives is if all small businesses get through this.

Keep up to date with the latest Global Franchise News sent straight to your inbox. Sign up here.

Interview by Amanda Peters, staff writer at Global Franchise and What Franchise

AP: How did ActionCOACH grow into a franchise system that could be replicated in any country?

BS: It took quite some time because I had to get all of the things that I did into a teachable, systematic format. It took several years of teaching it to be able to get it to a point where I could share it with others, and they could understand what I was saying. You had to make complex arguments into simple teaching methodologies. Once it was simply taught, it was then just a matter of showing my franchise partners and coaches how to do it. I first employed people as coaches but then when we wanted to expand internationally, we moved to franchising.

At the time there were very few white collar franchises and most were tax or finance related. So, when we started it was unique and it gave people a different career path.

AP: How do you support new franchisees versus those that have been with the brand for a while?

BS: We believe in an education first approach. We educate and help franchisees make their own wise decisions.

When it comes to franchises that have been with us for some time, it is about keeping the challenge up. When they’re first beginning, it’s about getting them to master what is there. As they get further and further down the road, it’s about giving them new goals, helping them want more, and build their bucket list so that they have other things to shoot for. That is a big part of the success of any franchise partner – they need to understand that there are still other things to be achieved.

We see this not just in our franchisees but in any business owner. When a business gets to a term that I like to use, “fat and happy” - that’s when you’ve got to give them a fresh challenge.

AP: What are some of the driving factors you’ve seen that are behind sustainable, franchise development?

BS: If we’re going to sustain our franchise partners, we’re going to do four main things on top of building a good relationship with them. Number one is we’re going to measure their results. The second thing is we’re going to provide consistent education for them to be in growth mode. If they’re learning, then chances are they are growing. A business can’t outperform the owner’s knowledge base. The third thing we’re going to do is consistently build community. The best people to help our franchisees are our other franchise partners. When a franchisee is facing a challenge, rather than us trying to solve it, we refer them across to another franchise partner who has already solved a similar issue. We found that when you have that legal and fee-based arrangement, it is tough to be their coach. Whereas someone who is at the same level in the organization, we often find that they are more receptive to that person. The fourth thing is to make sure that we understand what’s going on in their life. It is not just their business that has been impacted but their life, too.

AP: How has ActionCOACH transformed digitally with COVID?

BS: We’ve always been fairly digital in what we deliver so it wasn’t a massive shift, but it sped up the shift. We help small businesses, and in good times it’s about thriving and in tough times it’s about survival. For us, this is a very busy time as lots of business owners who never contemplated having a coach are now reaching out for help. Like us, some are doing well, but some are not, and we are in the business of helping people and there’s a lot of help needed right now.

We make a fair bit of effort to work with business owners even before they start with us. We work with them for free for a session or two and in this crisis - we’ve given away tens of thousands of hours of coaching just to help businesses survive because the only way the economy survives is if all small businesses get through this.

AP: What has been the feedback from your Survive & Thrive. training course for COVID-19?

BS: We put it together and our franchise partners delivered it all over the world, in every country we operate in. I’ve taught in 18 countries specifically, but I’ve had people on webinars from many more in the last eight to 10 weeks.

The feedback is very clear that people needed that training because most business owners haven’t been through a downturn economy. We had been in a boom since 2012, so lots of leaders don’t know how to run a business in a downturn economy. I have been lucky, in the sense that this is my fourth economic downturn. I have done this four times already, but this is such a different downturn as it’s not a financial one.

“We had been in a boom since 2012, so lots of leaders don’t know how to run a business in a downturn economy”

Depending on the market, you’ve got approximately a third of all businesses that are fully closed, another third that have found a way to pivot and keep the money flowing, and then you’ve got approximately a third of businesses that are having record sales months in their history. These are mostly ones that have been deemed essential. Unfortunately, most completely closed businesses are small businesses while the vast majority of those deemed essential are big businesses. It’s been an unfair deal for the small business but this needed to be done for the sake of humanity.

AP: How will opening be harder than shutting down?

BS: The first thing they’ve got to do is plan the reopening, plan it as if they were opening their business for the first time. This is because there are new rules and ways of doing business. For instance, with social distancing, businesses will have to rethink customer traffic flow within the store, or if they must visit your office, how do they get in? Is there an alarm bell or a doorbell? What are the rules of engagement in your organization?

The second is you’ve got to change your marketing. There needs to be more sensitivity in your marketing as fear and worry are a part of the day-to-day thought processes of people. Sales will take longer and there needs to be more connectivity, more videos, and social proof because people can’t see other customers buying.

AP: Has this crisis affected ActionCOACH’s expansion plans?

BS: We’ve been opening even during COVID. We opened in the Baltic states and have been working hard to get more business coaches out there to help more people during this time.

I recently did a webinar that went out to about 50,000 Russian business owners. In fact, we coach in three communist countries, Russia China and Vietnam and we’ve had amazing results.

you may be interested in

franchise directory

  • TaxAssist Accountants

    Business & Professional Services, Financial Services, <100K, Featured

  • Cafe2U

    Food & Catering, Coffee, Take-away, <100K, Featured

  • 800 Pizza

    Food & Catering, Fastfood, Pizza, Take-away, Featured

view more
Connect with Linkedin Logo
Global White Logo Click Here
Close button


Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways: To personalize your experience (your information helps us to better respond to your individual needs) To improve our website (we continually strive to improve our website offerings based on the information and feedback we receive from you) To improve customer service (your information helps us to more effectively respond to your customer service requests and support needs) To process transactions your information, whether public or private, will not be sold, exchanged, transferred, or given to any other company for any reason whatsoever, without your consent, other than for the express purpose of delivering the purchased product or service requested. To administer a contest, promotion, survey or other site feature To send periodic emails The email address you provide for order processing, will only be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order. Note: If at any time you would like to unsubscribe from receiving future emails, we include detailed unsubscribe instructions at the bottom of each email.


We implement a variety of security measures to maintain the safety of your personal information when you place an order or enter, submit, or access your personal information We offer the use of a secure server. All supplied sensitive/credit information is transmitted via Secure Socket Layer (SSL) technology and then encrypted into our Payment gateway providers database only to be accessible by those authorized with special access rights to such systems, and are required to keep the information confidential. After a transaction, your private information (credit cards, social security numbers, financials, etc.) will not be stored on our servers.


Yes (Cookies are small files that a site or its service provider transfers to your computers hard drive through your Web browser (if you allow) that enables the sites or service providers systems to recognize your browser and capture and remember certain information. We use cookies to help us remember and process the items in your shopping cart, understand and save your preferences for future visits, keep track of advertisements and compile aggregate data about site traffic and site interaction so that we can offer better site experiences and tools in the future. We may contract with third-party service providers to assist us in better understanding our site visitors. These service providers are not permitted to use the information collected on our behalf except to help us conduct and improve our business.


We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.


Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.


We are in compliance with the requirements of COPPA (Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act), we do not collect any information from anyone under 13 years of age. Our website, products and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old or older.


This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our website and not to information collected offline.


Please also visit our Terms and Conditions section establishing the use, disclaimers, and limitations of liability governing the use of our website at


By using our site, you consent to our online privacy policy.


If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page


If there are any questions regarding this privacy policy you may contact us using the information below. All correspondence relating to the Website should be sent to: Global Franchise 21/23 Phoenix Court Hawkins Road Colchester Essex CO2 8JY Email: