“My business works for me”
Auditel Franchise Partner Gordon Brearley on how thirteen years on, his Auditel business continues to deliver great benefits
Stepping out of the ‘corporate world’ to start your own business is not a decision made lightly, and given it could impact on the next ten to twenty years of a career in many cases, it could actually be one of the most important decisions you will ever make.
The route from employment to self-employment is softened through franchising with a far higher success rate for franchised businesses against stand-alone ventures. If you follow a tried and tested business model that other people are doing successfully, you should replicate the same results.
Whilst that sounds simple enough, there are a multitude of factors that can influence the effectiveness and results. One big factor in reducing risk is the maturity of the franchise, and for Nottinghamshire-based Gordon Brearley, this was something which played a big part in his decision to join Auditel in 2007 after considering and nearly pursuing a model in a different franchise sector.
My early career and why I joined Auditel
“I had a great career with NatWest in the banking sector. I joined when I was 18 and left 32 years later having worked up to senior levels. I had the opportunity to do something new which was very welcome by that point. I quite fancied stepping away from the corporate world after so long within the finance industry. I wanted a business that would work for me in the long-term.” advises Gordon.
“I was actually introduced to the concept of franchising by one of my banking colleagues who worked within the franchise department, and they suggested a couple of options that I hadn’t really considered that were young but exciting business models at the time. One of these was in the car cleaning sector. I have always loved cars and so this intrigued me.
An opportunity occurred for me to work within this business for nearly a year whilst searching for the location to set up my own centre, but during this time it exposed me to some factors that made me feel that it wasn’t for me. I decided that a business that didn’t require staff was now important for me. It was also important to both like and have a really good relationship with the franchisor as this would be a long-term partnership.” he explains.
After a brief interim role bank in the banking sector, Gordon decided his future lay in starting a business, but without the ‘lightbulb moment’ knew that a franchise was the next step. After having carefully researched the options that suited experience, skills and interests Gordon explored a few ‘white collar’ franchises but found Auditel to be the right fit for him. He says “On meeting the team at Auditel I was impressed. I felt it was the right fit for me, and the decision was made.”
Launching my Auditel Business
The start-up phase of any business is critical, and a franchise is no different, so utilising existing skills and experience is helpful where there is a steep learning curve to go through. “Being able to leverage my existing professional skills was important, so meeting potential clients at director-level was something I was comfortable with.” Gordon explains.
“I engaged with a telemarketer who arranged some appointments and my business started well. I picked up clients, undertook projects and delivered cost savings to these clients for which I was paid 50% of the saving over three years, money that would have been paid to suppliers had I not been there. I also found some billing errors and was able to achieve rebates for clients, so these created nice ‘wins’ for me too.” he adds.
I work as a ‘Generalist’, but harness the expertise of the wider Auditel network
Today, Auditel offers ‘Pathways’ so that affiliates can play to their strengths and develop their business in a direction that suits them, working with and utilising the experiences and skillsets of the other affiliates around them in the Auditel network.
Gordon describes his role within the Auditel network “I have always maintained a role within the Auditel network as a ‘Generalist’. I develop clients and undertake the bulk of project work myself, though I recognise the increasing benefit that the wider network offers in terms of skill sets and experiences, and so I highly value the network around me. I can introduce experts for certain projects within my clients, and sometimes other Auditel affiliates invite me to join them in undertaking project work within their clients.”
He continues “By joint venturing, I don’t need to employ staff or have premises. All the resource I need is already around me within the network. I can just reach out and work with my colleagues as and when their expertise is required. It’s so flexible, and works really well”
How I target and develop my clients
Gordon discusses the types of clients he works with and how Auditel support his client acquisition activity. “For me, client acquisition has worked well through telemarketing. I did get involved with networking for a while but the time invested against the output wasn’t really justifying it for me. I prefer to use a more direct approach, utilising the excellent array of brochures, newsletters and other content that the marketing team at head office produce, and then follow this up myself or with my telemarketer. I mainly target Independent Schools and Care Homes, and this method works very well.
I have scaled up my target size also over the years, so I tend to work with fewer, but larger organisations at any one time which suits me at this stage of my business. I am very impressed by the latest support activities from head office, it fair to say that at the moment the marketing support is greater than it has ever been with sector specific client brochures, thought leadership documents and other really useful content that I can drip-feed to both prospects and clients.
The new ‘Centralised Marketing Campaigns’ programme is a great initiative. I can choose from a range of content options and customise which deliverable I can have sent to which prospect or client, and then follow up. It’s a big step forward and a great option to have available as part of my marketing mix” he explains.
The benefits I enjoy
The decision to start and run a business is ultimately for a purpose, and within the Auditel network each franchisee may have some different objectives for what they would like to achieve from their Auditel business. Gordon explains what his Auditel business delivers for him “I am now in my 13th year with Auditel, and I have enjoyed many benefits of my business. The financial reward is of course a major factor but making a difference to my clients and unlocking money within these organisations by reducing waste and achieving best value from suppliers is very fulfilling too.”
He adds “I really value the Auditel network around me, and this is not only a fantastic resource but also a great support too. I look forward to local and regional franchise meetings and the national events such as the Supplier Exhibition and National Conference each year – it’s good to get together with everyone.”
Gordon concludes “I don’t wish to stop what I’m doing; I think I would get bored, but the Auditel business does allow me to scale my activity over time. It’s been a very positive decision for me to join Auditel and have a great ‘second career’. I think one of the most important pieces of advice I could offer is that it is important to enjoy what you do.
With the combination of different clients, Auditel affiliates and suppliers to work with, every day can be different and there is always an element of challenge – but the excitement of finding and delivering impressive results for clients is a feeling which ensures that I am at my desk each morning. I feel like I don’t work for my Auditel business, my Auditel business works for me!”
Find out how you can build a great business with Auditel. Contact Nick Tubb on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01962 893067 for a chat.