Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose your franchise?
I had some experience with Recognition Express from my previous job as they supplied my company’s name badges. I was always impressed with the high level of customer service provided and the quality of their products.
When I left, I made the decision that in my next role, I would be my own boss. Franchising gave me the benefit of having a support network behind the business which is ideal. Recognition Express offered a low start up and overheads and stood out miles ahead of the competition. That coupled with their proven track record was a no brainer to me.
What did you do before taking up a franchise?
I spent 20 years as a senior manager in the Compass Group – the largest contract caterer in the world.
How did you raise the finance?
From redundancy settlement
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
The training programme at Recognition Express is brilliant. My initial training involved 1 week’s intensive training at Head Office, which covered all aspects of running a business followed by further 3 days production training in my unit. The franchisor Nigel Toplis also gave me a one-on-one session which was great. At Recognition Express you’re always offered the opportunity to enhance your skills as they offer regular training as and when you need it.
What is a typical day for you as a franchisee?
Taking and placing orders forms a big part of my day. On top of this I get heavily involved with all marketing activity which can range from e-marketing, direct mail, walkabouts and identifying potential customers. Providing quotes for potential clients and following up is crucial to running my business – without them there is no business!
What challenges have you faced?
Having always worked as a PAYE employee, I found the change to managing cash flow difficult as this impacts on how you pay yourself. Especially in the early days when I was working on my own as I used to head up a big team in my previous job.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes, you become obsessed about the business and always looking for opportunities
What differentiates your franchise from the competition?
Many companies do what we do, so the difference is concentrating on the service and building long term relationships.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee?
Self-discipline, hard work, ability to listen and learn by your and others successes and mistakes. Also following the advice of Franchisor is important, they are there to help you.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Research the Franchisor and talk to Franchisees, make sure you get support of your family as there will be tough times. If prepared to work at a proven franchise, it will be very rewarding and it will be a success.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep at it, grow the business until I sell and retire!
Would you do it again?
Most definitely as there is an abundance of personal satisfaction.