In 2010, Simmons found that his future as a Director of a small company, which specialised in the supply of drylining and plastering materials to the building industry, had become uncertain. He said: "My background is accountancy based although I was involved in all aspects of running the business. Faced with a redundancy situation, I felt I had the experience to run my own business. I was looking for a sector with a proven track record of delivering success both financially and in terms of the client's expectations."
Simmons decided to investigate franchising and while researching the industry online he discovered Auditel, a cost and purchase management franchise. Simmons said: "I researched a number of other franchising opportunities in unrelated areas. However, I was impressed by the professional image created by the Auditel team. I also liked the concept of cost management. I felt that my experience as a business owner and my accounting background would be of benefit in the variety of cost areas Auditel look into for savings."
Deciding that Auditel was the right business opportunity for him, Simmons joined the franchise in September 2010. He added: "The initial training on both client acquisition and the technical aspect was quite intensive. However, I feel the most impressive resource has been the network of affiliates who have provided both practical help and support."
Simmons first client was The Lady Magazine, which was founded in 1885 and is famous for its classified adverts. The magazine remains the first port of call for anyone seeking domestic staff, with vacancies listed for nannies, butlers and governesses. The Lady is the oldest women's weekly in the UK, and is thought to be the oldest magazine still owned by one family.
Simmons said: "I was recommended by their Sales Director to meet their Chief Executive, Ben Budworth, soon after joining Auditel. Following my investigations, I was able to make reductions in three main areas so far. Electricity costs were lowered by 11 per cent credit card charges by over 17 per cent and, most significantly, stationery and IT consumables by an impressive 20 per cent."
Ben Budworth, Publisher and Chief Executive of The Lady, said: "Over the last year Colin has proved to be a valuable resource for us. I was impressed that he didn't simply switch to the lowest bidder, but found the supplier that best suited our needs. By outsourcing our cost and purchase management, we have not only made savings, but also saved ourselves the time and cost of doing it in-house. Colin is quiet, honest, open, discreet and transparent. I would recommend him to other businesses without hesitation."
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