Doing your homework

Meet Paul from Devon who left no stone unturned in his search to find the right business partners.

Doing your homework

Meet Paul from Devon
who left no stone unturned in his search to find the right business partners

When Paul Dymond decided he wanted to become his own boss, by purchasing a regional franchise, he faced a number of crucial decisions.

First, he had to make sure that the franchise he chose would deliver a strong financial return on his investment. Paul from Devon selected Agency Express which, in fairness, was a reasonably straightforward decision to take.  

Second, and just as important, he needed to find the right financial support but this proved to be more of a conundrum. Paul, who had previously worked in a number of different jobs, from business analyst to courier driver, started out by approaching a selection of high street banks.

But, as he explained: “Due to COVID-19 their focus was on existing customers which, although understandable, did restrict my options. Initially, I was not expecting it to be too difficult but I had not allowed for the full impact of the virus. There was a lot of uncertainty about what could, and could not, be offered

“That was until Agency Express introduced Hitachi Capital Franchise Finance. Their ability to cut through that and deliver what would actually work for me was invaluable.”

After undertaking a comprehensive and intense virtual training course, which lasted three days and involved learning about e-marketing and telemarketing campaigns, Paul launched his business in June of this year.

So how did he describe the experience of being educated and trained online to run a franchise operation? He added: “Remote working and video calls is nothing new to me, so I didn’t find it daunting at all.

“The online training allowed me to feel comfortable in my own environment, which made it easier for me to absorb the information. As the training modules are recorded, I know that I can re-visit them again at any point.

“I worked closely with my franchisor’s business development and marketing teams, throughout the launch, and it was a great success. We even signed clients before the official launch date in June.

“The training process was logical, and all my questions and concerns were addressed as we went along. Even though we didn’t have face-to-face meetings, I didn’t feel the process lacked anything. And there was always someone on the end of the phone, if I needed something explained again.”

Paul’s franchise territory with Agency Express is North Devon, and during his first month of trading he signed up nine clients. Although his fledgling business is still extremely young, Paul has settled into franchise life very quickly.

He explains: “The reward of being self-employed is something I have always strived for, but with a franchise you also receive support and guidance. Working with a franchise such as Agency Express has given me the courage to proceed.

“Starting a business, even in the best financial climate, comes with uncertainty. This is why a franchise opportunity appealed to me, with their high levels of support and therefore a greater chance to succeed.”

But why Agency Express? “I first came across them on the British Franchise
website, and they appeared to tick all the boxes.

“I liked the idea of a van based business, with repeat customers and reasonably low overheads. I contacted Agency Express directly to find out if an appropriate territory was available.

Agency Express franchise has low overheads and exists within a fairly robust sector – even during the current Covid-19 affected economy.

“Buying a franchise in the current economic crisis was certainly daunting but I was determined to become my own boss, make my own decisions, rather than be an employee where events tend to happen to you.

What do the experts

Ben Brookes, managing director of Agency
, admits: “The market is currently challenging. Creating a comprehensive virtual training programme, and selecting the best finance partner for franchisees, has been vital.

“By utilising Hitachi Capital Franchise
means my new franchisees are well cared for during the financial process – and that gives me peace of mind.

“Not only will they receive the right package but, together with Agency Express, enjoy ongoing support that all new business owners need.”

Meanwhile Paul Hansen, head of sales and marketing at
Hitachi Capital Franchise Finance
, commented: “We were delighted to be able to support Paul with his funding requirements down in Devon.

“The lending landscape has changed significantly during the past couple of months, and continues to evolve.

“But the beauty of working with us is our ability to lend and broker deals to our specialist panel. This means we can provide a viable solution to meet the requirements of our valued partners, such as new business owner Paul.”

Andy Swales
Andy Swales