When and why did you decide to take on a franchise business?
We started the process back in September 2013, I went to some franchise fairs in Edinburgh but nothing appealed. Myself and my wife Audrey independently selected franchises of interested from franchise magazines the only one that appealed to both of us was Ableworld.
We decided on a franchise business as even though we had previous business experience we wanted to know that we had somebody to fall back on if we needed help.
Is being your own boss a big part of the appeal, and how has being the boss impacted on your work/life balance?
Having had a previous business, the thought of working for somebody else did not appeal. With a franchise, you are working to a format with support but still responsible for your own business.
Why did you choose Ableworld?
From Personal experience we know it can make a huge difference to people if they have the correct products for their mobility needs.
Ableworld can make a massive difference to a person’s quality of life and we wanted to be part of it. We chose Ableworld because their ethos appealed to how we like to live our lives – treat people fairly.
Did you meet the franchisors prior to signing the agreement and what part did this play in convincing you that Ableworld was for you?
We went down for a discovery day in October 2013 which gave us the opportunity to meet both the managing director and franchise director. We were confident that we were making the right decision having met Mike Williams.
What initial training did you go through?
We underwent Ableworld’s comprehensive engineer and in-store training over a period of about two months. The training was very thorough and covered the till system, engineer training, including stairlift awareness.
In-store we covered till training and product training. We also spent a couple of days in Head Office learning about accounts, marketing, customer liaison and buying.
Ongoing support now that you are established?
Ableworld are a fast developing company and as such are learning and modifying to the growing franchise network.
There is always the support at Head Office, as well as this the suppliers and manufactures know their products the best. The reps come out and give us training and if we have a specific question about a product we can phone them direct. It’s about learning the network of support and learning who can help offer us the best advice for the customer.
Most rewarding thing about the franchise?
When we opened the business, we never for a minute realised how rewarding and humbling it is to deal with some of the wonderful customers who come through our door who are in need of guidance and advice on products to support their daily living.
Is there anything challenging about operating this franchise?
There is a huge amount to learn and it can be difficult at times to meet some individual’s needs. There is a vast amount of support available at Head Office and there is always someone to help you with your query. Even after the 8 weeks of initial training, there is always more you can learn, everybody is different and has individual needs.
What sort of person would be suited to this franchise? What skills are required to make a success of it?
You need to be hardworking and caring. You need to be able to listen to people’s needs. You will be rewarded with the satisfaction of making a difference in people’s lives.
What plans do you have to grow and develop your business in 2015 and beyond?
We have had a visit from a prospective franchisee looking at another territory. We spent some time with them telling them about the franchise and offering the opportunity to come and join us in the shop for a day, so yes, we would recommend the franchise. As to growth, it is our intention to expand within our territory and to take on a neighbouring territory. We see huge potential.
Any other comment?
Be prepared to work hard and to get up in the morning looking forward to the day ahead.