Lee Freeman joined Auditel in March 2010. Following on from senior financial roles, Lee decided to move into franchising with Auditel
Lee Freeman joined Auditel in March 2010. He had qualified as a chartered accountant with Grant Thornton in 1992 and stayed for a further 6 years. Senior financial roles followed with listed plcs’ including Informa for five successful years. Then he held an FD role for an investment group in Luxembourg, returning to England just as the recession was beginning.
Why I chose franchising.
Back in the UK, looking for a senior role, I became increasingly frustrated at the lack of opportunities. Not wanting to start from scratch in the recession, I looked at both franchising and buying an existing business. I concluded that franchising gave the benefit of running my own business while having the support of a network. I wanted to use my past experience and skill set.
I came across Auditel at an exhibition and had a long chat. At a Discovery Day and subsequent meetings, I liked what I heard. I decided that Auditel ticked all the boxes and that this was the way forward.
Raising the finance
To supplement my capital, I secured a 5-year term loan from a major bank recommended by Auditel.
Training and support
The instruction I received from Auditel has been first rate, from the client acquisition training through to the technical side. Ongoing support is always available from Auditel’s Head Office Support Team and fellow franchisees. Auditel’s systems have proved invaluable in starting a business from scratch. They allow me to concentrate on finding clients, secure in the knowledge that you can meet their needs.
With minimal experience of sales, my main challenges relate to establishing my name in the local business community and selling the service I now provide. I believe I am getting better. It was also key to sign the first client relatively quickly. This I achieved, with a listed plc where the Group FD is a good contact from previous roles. The other key challenge is becoming used to being my own boss, and working from home.
Progress in the marketplace
I can say that this is one of the most enjoyable three months I have spent in any work environment ever! Signing my first client and completing a successful project has certainly given the business some early impetus. The key now is to maintain that and keep the pipeline of prospects full. It has been hard work but at the end of the day, the rewards are for my family and I.
In the next year or so, I would like my wife to join the business, using her sales background, to drive the business forward even further. The aim is to be debt free by the end of my first term, both from a personal and business viewpoint. I see myself in this for the long term, renewing my agreement at least once if not twice, before winding down to retirement and hopefully handing the business over to a family member.
My advice to someone buying their first franchise
Do it! It’s certainly the best decision I have made! But do so with the knowledge that it is hard work. The success of the business is directly related to the amount of effort that you put in.
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'Maximising Opportunities' – Auditelís 18th National Conference