• Dec 19, 2018
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Partners in life and business

Couples feeling the strain of juggling the conflicting demands of their respective jobs and a busy home life often dream of a new way of doing things.

A venture together is often on the radar of couples seeking a better work-life balance and a business to call their own. A franchise is an ideal way to achieve this. Investment in a franchise secures a ‘business in a box’ with a clear plan for launch and operation, as well as plenty of training and support. Over the years, The Franchise Exhibitions have played an important role in connecting couples with a franchise business that fulfils their combined ambitions. We caught up with three to find out more about their personal stories.

When aspirations align

In the case of David Howle and his wife, Kate, it was originally only David who had the aspiration to run his own business with a franchise. He had met kitchen refurbishment specialists, Dream Doors, at The National Franchise Exhibition in 2017 and was quite far down the line in discussions with them when his wife, Kate, began to see the potential of the opportunity.

Early in 2018, David visited the Dream Doors head office in Gosport. Kate, who was sceptical of her husband’s plans, attended with him and by the end of the day was so impressed with the level of professionalism she’d seen, that she too wanted to be part of the business.

Today David and Kate are the proud owners of Dream Doors, Worcester, with Katie focusing more on the back end of the business, its admin and accounts, with David dealing with clients and kitchen designs.

Harmonious working relationship

Such a clear-cut division of labour is often easier with a franchise. The advantage to couples is that, with such a clear roadmap and definition of tasks and responsibilities, roles are more easily defined.

Decisions that would traditionally cause a rift, such as which logo design or colour schemes to choose, or the exact form of a product, have already been made. Disagreements are fewer and the couple can focus on the more important aspects of the business, such as sales and customer relations.

Complementary skill sets

Equally, couples often have different but complementary skill sets, as illustrated by Kerry and Matt Flatman. Kerry, a nurse, and Matt, a sales director decided that perhaps they would be interested in running their own business. Before they made this life-changing decision, they visited The National Franchise Exhibition 2016 to make sure they were making the right choice.

Kerry comments: “We both fancied a change from our jobs, our other children were no longer at home and it seemed like a really good opportunity. So we went to The National Franchise Exhibition to find out more – to talk to some franchisors and listen to a couple of the free seminars.”

Subsequently, Kerry and Matt took out two adjacent franchises with professional tools specialists Mac Tools.

“We really enjoy having our own business,” Kerry enthuses, “And doing it together. We bounce ideas off each other and support each other. Also, we’ve got a mix of knowledge. I was a nurse and am used to working with people, but Graham has the product knowledge and I’ve learnt a lot from him. I’m constantly asking questions.”

Kerry adds that the only downside is it can be hard to switch off – the vans are at home and there’s a home office they share.

“We have to be quite strict with ourselves and say ‘that’s enough, let’s stop!’

A proven partnership

Nick Clement and Zoe Willis were no strangers to owning a business and working together, but wanted a change. They decided to sell off their lucrative mailing business and search for the perfect franchise that would utilise their combined skill set and experience.

Nick and Zoe knew they wanted to buy another franchise rather than starting from the ground up with an independent business. “It just makes more sense because of all the support that you get plus it gives you the chance to replicate a successful business model. Being part of a franchise gives you peace of mind that the hard work and risk of testing the business has already been done and combined with the right support network, buying into a franchise is easy - the hard part is finding the right one!” comment Nick and Zoe.

The couple discovered their ideal franchise at The National Franchise Exhibition, deciding to invest in Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA), a business consultancy offering strategic advice and practical methods which optimise supplier relationships.

With Zoe’s head for analytics and Nick’s love for the sales side of things, the duo had the perfect combination of a winning team, as recognised at ERA’s National Franchise Conference in July 2017, where the couple won the prestigious ‘New Consultants of the Year’ award, having been nominated by their peers and judged by the UK Board of Directors.

Double the rewards

If you would like to explore how a franchise can give you and your partner the ideal foundations for running a business together, visit FranchiseInfo.co.uk and book your free tickets to The British & International Franchise Exhibition at Olympia London or The National Franchise Exhibition at the NEC, Birmingham in February.

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