Helen Mahon Dream Doors, Norwich

The flexibility means I can see more of my children

MY husband Philip and I are well on our way to doubling our turnover this year thanks to successfully opening a Dream Doors showroom to support our office. We've always liked the idea of working together in our own business and launched our Dream Doors franchise in January 2007.

Previously, Philip had taken voluntary redundancy from the Civil Service and used the redundancy money to retrain as a cabinetmaker. We began actively researching suitable business ventures that would utilise his new skills, as well as my managerial experience gained from working as an NHS Manager. When we found an advert for Dream Doors we were instantly drawn to the product and recognised that investing in a franchise stood out as our best option as neither of us had any previous experience of running a small business. The idea of buying into an established brand with a proven business model, support and training package appealed.

Before we launched, Dream Doors provided a one-week training course, learning the basics of kitchen design and running a business. Dream Doors continues to offer a high standard of ongoing training and so far we have attended courses on sales, finance, customer care and building regulations. In terms of support we have regional franchisee meetings, an annual conference and every six weeks a mentor visits and gives advice, as well as being available daily for any queries, which may arise. It is nice to know help is always to hand.

Investing in the Dream Doors franchise has been a life changing experience. We are now able to make all the decisions ourselves. I love working with my husband, enjoy meeting new customers and the flexibility means I can see more of my children. In the future a second showroom near the coast is a consideration, but for now Philip and I are happy to continue building up the business.