Benefitting from over 20 years of experience

Looking to start his own business after being made redundant, Martyn Sutton fulfilled his ambition with a Chemex franchise

An increasing number of businesses are being affected by the economic downturn, which has resulted in more and more people facing redundancy. When Martyn Sutton lost his job with Nationwide Building Society he found it was the catalyst he needed to do something different.

'When I was made redundant I decided to start my own business and I was advised to go to a franchise show,' he remembers. 'I went to the National Franchise Exhibition in Birmingham and spent all day walking around looking at and considering the different options available. By the end of the day, Chemex was at the top of my list so I decided to arrange a meeting with them. Chemex stood out for me because franchisees deal with customers from all different types of industries, so you are not dependent on one industry doing well. Also I liked the idea of owning a van-based sales business.'

Chemex was founded in 1985 and provides its customers with market leading products for every type of industry throughout the UK. Additionally, Chemex offers customer consultancy specialist advice and training in the hygiene and food sectors. For Martyn the fact that Chemex has been operating for over 20 years is one of the main advantages of this franchise. 'Chemex franchisees really benefit from the longevity of the company,' he comments. 'For example, the people at head office have a lot of experience and knowledge and are on-hand whenever you need help. Over time Chemex has built up a strong brand that has a good reputation and looks professional.'

In addition to ongoing support Chemex franchisees are provided with thorough training in preparation for operating their business. 'I received a two week induction at the Chemex head office before I launched my Suffolk-based business in 1997,' reveals Martyn. 'The training covered all aspects of running the business including an introduction of the products sold, the initial start-up of the business, and the everyday running of a franchise.'

Martyn is on a turnover of £10,000 a month and despite the economic downturn his business is thriving. 'The good thing about this franchise is that I can switch my business development from areas that are being hit by the recession to ones that aren't,' he reflects. 'The industries that I have been concentrating on until now have been care homes and catering, however although care homes have not been hit by the recession catering has, so at the moment I am looking to concentrate on gaining customers from areas that are continuing to do well. As well as this, over the next 12 months I'm looking to expand my one van business by putting another van on the road and taking on an employee.'

Martyn has been running his own business for over 10 years and he reveals that he still enjoys the challenge of being self-employed. 'I like the discipline of being my own boss and having the freedom that it provides,' he says. 'Although my previous job provided me a good lifestyle financially, I have now got that same standard of living coupled with the flexibility that I didn't have before.'

Reported by Derin Ibrahim