From Employee to Franchisee Reap the Rewards of Success

Spurred on by the success of Cash Generator's franchisees, employee Mark Smiley decided to invest in a franchise of his own in August 2007. Thanks to his franchise, Mark is already enjoying extra holidays coupled with the prospect of a £100,000 net profit

Former Cash Generator Area Manager Mark Smiley's ambition had been to run a franchise for sometime, so after two years of helping the company's franchisees find success Mark decided to take the plunge and swap roles from employee to franchisee. Mark launched his Gloucester-based franchise in August 2007 and is now well ahead of target with a £100,000 net profit in sight.

'Before I joined Cash Generator I worked for electrical retailer Dixons,' reflects Mark. 'I made the transition to Cash Generator because I had my sights set on becoming one of its franchisees. With its variety of income streams, from pre-owned goods and cheque cashing to buy back goods and Western Union money transfer service, I saw the company's potential for development and growth. At the time when I submitted my franchise application Cash Generator was looking for an Area Manager - I decided to apply for the job and if I got the position to postpone my plans. However, after witnessing first hand the franchisee success rate I made a conscious decision to invest in a franchise of my own in a bid to replicate their success.'

Established in 1994 Cash Generator began franchising in 1997 and to date has over 70 outlets operating in its franchise network. After a management buyout earlier this year, the company has big expansion plans with the aim of doubling the size of the franchise network to 160 within the next five years.

'The eight-week franchisee training programme covers all aspects of running a business and is similar to the training I received as an Area Manager,' Mark continues. 'So I used it to refresh my memory. Knowing the company as well as I do and having helped other franchisees become successful I have not needed to rely so much on the support of the franchisor. However, if I do need help I know other franchisees or head office are always there to help.'

Keen to expand throughout his territory Mark intends to open four more stores in the next three years. Utilising his previous experience he hopes to build his business into a management franchise with an employee taking care of the day-to-day running of every store. That way, he will be able to decrease his working week to three or four days and enjoy the fruits of his success.

At the moment Mark is busy building up the business with help from his wife Debbie, although he still makes time for himself and earlier this year went on holiday to Florida. He reflects: 'The benefit of investing in a franchise is not just the support system but also the knowledge that you are the one who reaps the rewards of your hard work and you are the one who made the decisions to get there.'

Interviewed by Jess Sturman