Name: Nick Howes
Franchise: Leadership Management UK (LMI UK)
I was not particularly planning to go into business before opting to join LMI UK. I was working with a charity, running a leadership development internship programme and was looking to develop my own skills in leadership and personal development training. I came across LMI UK via a business opportunity presentation that an existing franchisee of the company (Mark Tonks) was holding over in Birmingham, and thought it would be interesting to go along and maybe learn something useful for my existing role.
I was so impressed with what I heard about LMI, particularly their unique, comprehensive development process which LMI had established globally, that I was hooked, and thus began the process of further meetings to discover more. I subsequently took up the opportunity to become an Associate – a lower-cost way of getting into the business which I initially combined part time along with my role with the charity.
Joining an existing, well-established company where I could learn the ropes quickly and begin to deliver quality training almost immediately was a huge attraction. I most certainly was not in a position to start a business from scratch, and with the fantastic programmes in the LMI toolkit, it would have taken years to develop anything myself that came anywhere close!
After two years as an Associate, I took up the opportunity to purchase my own LMI UK franchise in December 2012. With little previous business experience and none in sales, I had proven that the sales and marketing process works, the process of delivering fantastic leadership and management development programmes works, and my clients were achieving outstanding results. The decision, therefore, to go for my own franchise was extremely simple – this was a business I loved, I could see making me an excellent income, and I plan to be in for a long time.
I was fortunate to have a good level of equity in my home and raised the finance for the franchise purchase fee by re-mortgaging.
On joining the business I received 10 days of initial training, spaced roughly over a month, as well as manuals, audio CDs and other materials that helped me to learn the sales process as well as how to facilitate LMI programmes effectively. We also have 6 Business Motivational Workshops each year where members of the LMI-UK team from across the country meet. These are invaluable days together, especially as a new member, to share good practice, hear success stories, and practice the skills required in our business.
On top of all this, LMI-UK is a great team of people and there are always other franchisees, associates, and the franchisor on hand to speak with on the phone or meet up with to get additional help whenever a particular situation arises that it would be good to get some additional wisdom on.
A typical day often starts with a business networking breakfast, usually from 7am – 9am. I have joined a couple of regular networking groups and found these to be hugely beneficial. I try to arrange a one-to-one meeting with another member of the group straight afterwards. This typically takes around and hour and involves getting to know each other’s business in more depth and sharing ideas and contacts around how we can help each other.
Beyond that, days tend to be extremely varied depending on what programmes I have running at the time, but will include some or all of the following:
The greatest challenge is, without doubt, marketing! Or more specifically getting to meet with ‘class A’ prospects for our services in a way in which they are open to both me and what we do. This is an area where I have benefitted hugely from the wisdom and experience of other LMI-UK franchisees in how to get into these situations and what to do when I get there.
Another challenge is the self-discipline and self-motivation required to get up and out there every day as a business owner, and doing the activities required to generate business consistently. That’s something every business owner faces. I’m fortunate in that LMI has fantastic motivational material in our programmes, so I’ve always got something on hand I can read or listen to that helps get me into the mindset required.
Joining LMI-UK, initially as an Associate, and now as a franchisee, has undoubtedly changed my life. As a result of the credibility and quality of the company I’ve joined, I find myself delivering training in the City of London for a known Bank, giving talks to business groups, chairing networking meetings and working with business owners and leaders from all manner of different kinds of organisations. The experience has helped me grow in confidence and maturity, enabling me to set greater goals for the future and expect to succeed.
There have been some difficult times financially, and it has meant for us as a family we’ve had to pull together, and we’ve also learnt to celebrate together when new business comes in. The future looks extremely bright and I’ve no doubt that this business will open up incredibly doors for us as a family to go places, have experiences and help others in ways that have previously been beyond our financial means.
Very simple – make sure that the business you’re looking to buy is something that you will love working in and that you’ll have confidence to sell to others. Prepare yourself mentally for the challenges of owning a business and seek out one or two trusted advisors who can help you.
My plans include recruiting a team of Associates to join me in my business. Having gone this route myself, I appreciate it’s a great way to grow.
I have begun to get some inroads and establish credibility in some of the large companies based in and around Coventry and I plan to expand this, deliver great results, and to establish LMI UK at the forefront of leadership and management training in the area.
I have begun and plan to continue taking the fantastic materials we have on goal setting and personal leadership into schools and colleges and other forums, helping young people grow in confidence and fulfil their potential.
Would you do it again?
I run my own successful franchise with two associates, I take responsibility for helping other franchisees succeed in my role as LMI-UK Business Development Manager; I enjoy a well balanced lifestyle along with unlimited opportunities to achieve anything I want in the future