Having kicked off her career two decades ago working in recruitment, Caroline Deutsch has now returned to where she started by becoming a Select Appointments franchisee
Most people wouldn’t invest the better part of two decades establishing a career in marketing only to give it all up. But, then again, Caroline Deutsch isn’t most people. “I like to feel passionate about what I do and I just felt myself beginning to lose that passion,” she says. Recognising that she wouldn’t be happy if she stayed in her current role, Deutsch began to look for opportunities to branch out on her own. “It was one of those now or never moments,” she says. And deciding to follow her heart has certainly stood her in good stead as she is now the award-winning owner of Select Appointments St Albans, the recruitment franchise.
However, while her decision to buy the franchise may seem odd after spending most of her professional life in marketing, Deutsch actually has first-hand experience of the sector. “My first ever job was actually working at a local recruitment agency in St Albans,” she says. “So it felt like I was coming full circle.” Additionally, she liked the fact that returning to her roots would enable her to work closely with people. “It’s not about having a massive number of candidates but about establishing really good relationships,” she says.
Having made up her mind to go back into the industry, it didn’t take long before Deutsch decided that Select Appointments was the franchise for her. “It was literally the first name that popped up when I googled recruitment franchises,” she laughs. While Deutsch did consider other brands, none of the other franchises offered the same opportunities to tailor a local business to her own preferences, which made her decision an easy one. “I wouldn’t say that I’m impulsive but if I know that something feels right then I don’t like to think too much about it,” Deutsch says.
Nevertheless, her enthusiasm didn’t prevent her from doing her due diligence. “I wanted to find out as much as I could about this opportunity,” Deutsch says. Not only did this mean she made sure to talk with the franchisor but the budding business owner also made time to sit down with several franchisees. “They encouraged me to not look at it through rose-tinted glasses but told me that the franchise was very fair,” she says. “I would have to do a lot of hard work but the fact that they’d spent maybe five, ten or even 15 years in the business felt like a great indicator that it was working for them.”
Convinced that Select Appointments was the place for her, Deutsch didn’t rest on her laurels. “Before I launched I did a lot of so-called territory mapping, which meant that I walked around in the area to see what businesses there were, where I could advertise and what networking groups would be good to join,” she says. And once she launched her business in September 2014, Deutsch also benefited from the franchise’s operations manager coming in to give her hands-on instructions during her first six weeks. Additionally, she also enjoyed the advice of a franchisee who had already established businesses in neighbouring territories. “It was really good to have someone who was six months ahead of me in the process and find out what her challenges were,” she says.
Furthermore, the assistance from the franchisor would prove instrumental in helping Deutsch find her first clients. “They had a database with thousands of local businesses,” she says. “So it was simply a case of me picking up the phone.” However, while this assistance certainly came in handy, Deutsch reveals that she almost missed the opportunity to sign up her first customer. “They sent me an email that went to my junk mail so I didn’t see it straight away,” she says. “When I found it I immediately called them up. Fortunately they still needed recruitment.”
From there on the business grew steadily to the point where Deutsch is now spearheading a team of three. And the clients aren’t the only ones taking notice: in October she won the gong for Best Franchisee at the 2017 Best Business Women Award. “I entered because I wanted to push myself outside my comfort zone,” she says. “And because they wanted me to write 3,000 words about my business, it enabled me to actually sit down and write my business plan for the next five years. So if I didn’t win I’d at least have that.” Fortunately, there was no need for her to worry about not winning as the judges were impressed by her passion. “It was amazing,” Deutsch says.
Three years have gone by since she first signed up to become a Select Appointments franchisee but she isn’t taking her foot off the pedal just yet. “The next thing for me to do is to look at taking over another area,” Deutsch says. And this expansion will serve another purpose aside from boosting her profits. “It’ll give my employees a chance to progress and become managers,” she says.
Given her ambitions to take the franchise to the next step, it’s hardly surprising that Deutsch has no doubts about whether or not going back into recruitment was the right choice. “If anyone is thinking about whether they should buy a franchise or start their own business, I can only tell them that franchising has both pros and cons,” she concludes. “However, it’s worked really well for me and I love what I’m doing.”