Fantastic Support

With the backing of an established brand and ongoing support Keith and his business partner John have built up their business to a £300,000 turnover

After working as a mechanical engineer for 30 years Keith Nutton was on the look out for a new challenge. So when his former work colleague John Heslop asked him to become his business partner and help him operate his Chemex franchise, Keith jumped at the chance. Almost four years later, they have successfully increased their annual turnover by £100,000 and are determined to build the business to £1 million within five years.

'I grew bored with my role as a mechanical engineer,' reflects Keith (pictured, L, with John). 'I liked the idea of being my own boss so decided to set up my own business, however with limited business acumen I found it difficult and after 18 months I let the business fold. I was excited when John asked me to join him as his business partner, because the business was well established, had ongoing support and training from head office and worked with a proven business model.'

With a track record spanning 24 years, Chemex supplies market leading hygiene and cleaning products to businesses across a spectrum of industries. To date the company has 70 franchise owners operating in the UK.

As part of the franchise package new franchise owners are put on a 10-day residential induction course held at the training centre at head office, followed by on-the-job training with a Support Manager who advises the franchise owners on everything from canvassing their territories to ordering stock, bookkeeping, product knowledge and identifying the industry sector for each product.

As Keith was joining an established franchise the majority of his training was with his business partner John. 'I learned on the job and if I had any problems or queries I knew I could ask John or contact the support team at head office. The support so far has been fantastic and John and I have found it useful having a chemist we can talk to at head office. Every couple of months we have regional franchise owner meetings where we get the opportunity to meet other franchise owners and discuss ideas.

'John and I both take care of the sales side of the business and spend most of our time out on the road. We have two drivers who deliver the products to our clients as and when required. I really enjoy running the Chemex franchise and love being out and about meeting new people from all walks of life. I won't lie, selling in the recession can be challenging, however, our business continues to turnover £300,000 per annum. Once the economy stabilises we are confident that our growth will pick up again.'

Interview by Jess Sturman