Neil Hatt talks to us about running his business in Birmingham, why he chose InXpress and his plans for the future
Neil Hatt talks to us about running his business in Birmingham, why he chose InXpress and his plans for the future.
Just before joining InXpress I was working in recruitment, which proved to be a well paid job, but one with very little career progression or security.
My father is a business transfer agent, and came across the InXpress franchise system when effecting the sale of an InXpress franchisee partnership looking to retire. It was the first time he had ever brought anything to my attention regarding operating a business; he was impressed with the system, which meant a great deal to me as he is a very hard man to impress! Looking deeper, I found that the franchise would play well to my strengths; sales, customer service, being aware of costs and margins and so on. I felt that I could replicate the success of the current franchisees, and I could see that InXpress was not just a job, but was instead something that could be built into a very profitable business.
I attended an open day, where I met with the InXpress support team, and they explained in great detail the system itself and how it worked.
I then spent a few days with various franchisees, discussing their likes and dislikes, watching their procedures and gauging their success.
From that point, I sat down with my girlfriend (now wife!) and discussed what starting up the business would mean to us financially, both to begin and in a few years time. We both decided that it was too good an opportunity to pass.
I utilised savings, and was lucky enough to have my father invest in the start up. I did not need a great deal, as I began by working from my spare room. It didn’t take long at all to pay back the investment.
There was a weeklong training course initially, which gives excellent sales techniques and product knowledge, and from that point the support centre has always been available if required – just a phone call or an email away. There are also quarterly regional training and update meetings as well as advanced sales training seminars and conference calls – which all creates a great ‘buzz’ even if you start the business on your own. What’s more, the franchisees themselves provide a great deal of knowledge and information and questions can be fired out to everyone very easily.
I now have several employees, so my day is very different to when I first started. Currently, I wake at 6.30am and go to the gym on the way to work, arriving at the office around 8.15am. My staff arrives at 9.00am, so I use these 45 minutes to prepare what I need to be doing that day, before they start adding to it! The first real order of business is a quick five minute catch up with my staff when they arrive. I will then take sales aside and run through what they expect to get from the day. They will get started on their sales calls by 9.30am, at which point I too will begin contacting large potential clients I have 'cherry picked' and am personally working to bring on board, as well as speaking with existing clients to maximise our revenue from them.
I adhere to a 'sacred selling' format of having no interruptions throughout the morning. I will break at lunch and review the morning activity with customer services, perhaps taking on anything that requires my attention to be resolved.
After lunch I make myself available for sales / customer service assistance, but mainly work on strategies for driving the business forward; crunching numbers, checking statistics and making sure I know where to focus the team for maximum profit and success.
We finish at 5pm, but often stay a little longer to chat and ensure that the day is ‘tied off’ nicely. One of the beautiful things about this franchise is that it really is 9am to 5pm once you are over the initial hurdles.
Freedom. It has changed my life considerably. I was ok financially (so I thought!) when working in recruitment, but it lacked a career path that matched my ambitions and I certainly didn’t have freedom.
InXpress has given me true freedom; in 2013 alone I had 7 holidays and whilst I was away my business didn’t just stand still – it grew... To me there isn’t anything better than sitting on a beach in Barbados and watching your margin grow without any effort on your part.
My new freedom allows me to indulge my passions, old and new, so alongside travel I am also learning to fly, learning to box and snowboard – and even my golf handicap is coming down!
I am able to have time for myself and my family whenever I need to, and at all times, my business grows. It has given me true financial security, true freedom and an incredible sense of achievement.
If there is a franchise that suits your skill set then don’t hesitate. Franchises have a proven track record; it is not like starting a business entirely from scratch. Look at others in the system of your choice. Are they successful? If so, follow the system and you will be too. Our CEO once told us a great line, “what one man can do, another can do.” It’s true.
Franchising seems to have a poor reputation in the UK, which seems very odd to me. I would urge people into franchising and in fact go out of my way to do just that – I’ve helped recruit several people into InXpress as I believe in it so strongly.
InXpress really has changed my life; I want others to benefit from it too.
Expand, expand, expand... I am currently recruiting a new salesperson to add to the team so that my business can grow at an even faster rate.
The wonderful fact is that my business is already successful, and I’m already in the process of thoroughly enjoying myself – if the weather is good then I’m flying or playing golf, if it’s bad then I try to be abroad where it’s good!
I liked the look of snowboarding, so recently my wife and I had the freedom to fly off to Canada over Christmas and give it go (no broken bones I’m pleased to report!) – All of this has come from my InXpress franchise, but the best thing is that there is still so much more that my franchise can do!
I finished 2013 in 14th place in the UK system, and I want to be in the top 5 in the next 18 months. By investing in sales people I know that I can make that happen.
I get a huge amount of enjoyment from running my franchise, and even with the options in life that I know have, sometimes I’m never happier than being sat at my desk, watching and helping my staff secure their own wins, and strategising for further growth.
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