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ChrisSowerbyHandS

What date did you start trading as a Business Doctor?

I started with Business Doctors on 1st October 2016.

What is your career background?

20 years in finance as a qualified accountant working up to FD level and running my own practice for a number of years, followed by a further 13 years in senior operational management roles (warehousing and logistics).

What were you doing immediately before taking up your franchise?

I was employed as Chief Operating Officer for an amalgam of SME’s operated by the commercial arm of a local authority.

How did you discover franchising? (When & where)

When I made the decision to leave corporate life in Summer 2016 and go back to working for myself I did a lot of research into franchising through the internet, business shows and exhibitions, trade publications and direct contact with the franchisors.

Why did you choose franchising over an employed career or setting up your own enterprise from scratch?

I had previously started my own accountancy practice from scratch and felt that a franchise business would give me an opportunity to get up and running quicker than going it totally alone.

Why did you choose this franchise over others that are available?

I immediately had a good feeling about the Business Doctors ethos and approach. Some of the franchises I looked at were very much of the attitude “give us a cheque and we’ll give you a franchise”. With Business Doctors I felt that they were very clear about the types of individuals they wanted to bring on board and that those individuals would add to the overall value of the brand.

Is your husband/wife/life partner included in the running of your franchise?

My wife is a director of the company through which I operate the franchise and has invested financially in the business, She is not involved in the day-to-day running of the business but is a good source of support and ideas.

If so, what is the positive impact of working together like this?

I know that I have changed as an individual since leaving corporate life. I am happier, less stressed and this has had a hugely positive impact on my home life. I probably work longer hours now than I did as I try to establish the business but I do have the flexibility to work around home commitments or family requirements as well.

How did you raise the finances required?

The finance came from a combination of redundancy pay and inheritance from Sarah’s dad.

How have you found the training and support you received from your franchisor?

I have found the training and support to be first class. The initial 3-day training is a great introduction to getting the basics in place and right from day one. Having a second 2-day session 6 weeks into the franchise is a perfect balance between further development and ironing out any issues.

Ongoing support is plentiful with both Head Office and Regional support available. The access to other franchisees is also extremely valuable and there is a very collaborative approach amongst us.

What challenges have you faced while getting to know your new business?

Apart from the obvious financial challenges it has mainly been about building relationships and trusting the Business Doctors approach to deliver – which it does!! Because the approach from Business Doctors is based around the skills, knowledge and experience of the franchisee there is no product to learn.

What ‘highs’ have you experienced in your new business?

I am running about two months ahead of my initial business plan in terms of winning clients and hence financially. The biggest high so far was definitely signing up my first client for a full Strategy Review, which came much sooner than I had dared hope.

What do you particularly love about your work?

The variety of businesses and people I come into contact with is a big plus. Every client is different in their needs, their approach and their structure, so every new client is a new challenge. You never know who the next contact will be.

There is also the satisfaction of helping a client to overcome the particular barriers and challenges they have been facing in their business. Working predominantly with owner-managed businesses means you get to see the impact of your intervention from close quarters.

What are your plans for the future?

In the short-term it is to build on the solid start I have made to the new business and to continue to grow it. Longer term, the new regional structure means there are new opportunities to aim for and there is always the possibility of taking on an associate and/or an additional area.

What would your advice be to someone thinking of buying a franchise?

Do your homework. Time spent researching the franchisor and carrying out as much due diligence as you can will avoid making mistakes. If you get the right franchise then the rewards are there to be had and the value of having a support structure behind you cannot be overestimated. 


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