Become a multiple unit owner with CeX

With a projected one million pound first year turnover and a long-term goal of becoming multiple CeX unit owners, franchisee Rafakat Ali and his wife Safeena are working all hours to ensure their business is a success

Armed with a passion for entertainment goods and existing experience of running his own franchise, Rafakat Ali decided to invest in the CeX franchise opportunity in July earlier this year. With a projected first year turnover of £1.2 million acting as an incentive, Rafakat and his wife Safeena (pictured above) are working around the clock to get their CeX franchise established while also ensuring that their other franchise continues to trade effectively.

'I have been a franchisee with a mobile phone company for the last 18 months,' explains Rafakat. 'I really enjoy being my own boss and was keen to invest in another area within the franchise market and replicate my success. I saw the CeX franchise opportunity advertised online, and as a previous CeX customer, I felt I had enough product knowledge and retail experience to make it a successful business.'

CeX is an entertainment and electronic goods retailer that offers customers the opportunity to buy, sell or exchange second-hand goods from seven main product lines: DVDs, video games, computing, electronics, mobile phones, vision and music CDs.

'Before I launched my franchise, I met with CeX's Franchise Director Hugh Man for a discussion and also participated in an in-store assessment,' continues Rafakat. 'This involved working on the shop floor in an existing CeX franchise. I also helped other new franchisees launch their stores. This experience proved invaluable, as it prepared me for the opening of my own store in Middlesbrough.'

'For me, the real benefit of investing in a franchise is the support package. From day one, CeX sent me a Support Manager and small team to help open my store and support me through the first three weeks of trading. Although I have worked in a retail environment for the last 18 months, having someone in-store offering advice and guidance was a real comfort. The Support Manager would have stayed longer if needed and even now is only a phone call away if I have any queries.'

By year five, Rafakat and his wife hope to be multiple CeX and mobile phone outlet owners, with a manager in each store looking after the day-to-day duties. This will enable them to oversee the development of both chains within their territory. Rafakat says: 'The best thing about being your own boss and running your own business is knowing that you are in control and having the satisfaction of seeing something you have created flourish.'

NEWSFLASH... At the end of 2008 existing CeX franchisees have opened a number of new stores as the company's network growth builds momentum. Steve Boult has opened stores in St Albans and Stevenage, Kasim Ali has established a location in Maidstone, Edward Pike has launched his second shop in Lincoln and Jaspreet Sidhu has also expanded to a second site in Enfield.

Interview by Jess Sturman