Running our own business has been a life-changing experience!

Philip &'Helen Mahon, Dream Doors, Norwich

Having been married for 20 years, Philip and Helen Mahon admit that they toyed with the idea of building a business together for some time before becoming Dream Doors franchise owners. 'When Philip took voluntary redundancy from the Civil Service and decided to retrain as a cabinetmaker, we took the opportunity to research viable business opportunities that would utilise his skills, as well as my managerial experience gained from working as an NHS Manager,' recalls Helen. 'Franchising appealed because neither of us had any experience of running a business by ourselves and we liked the idea of investing in a tried and tested business model with ongoing support and training. An advert for kitchen facelift franchise Dream Doors caught our eye because of the concept of updating a kitchen by replacing the cabinet doors.'

After completing a comprehensive one-week training course, the couple launched their Norwich-based Dream Doors franchise in January 2007. 'Running our own business has been a life-changing experience!' says Helen. 'Philip and I work well as a team because we have defined roles within the business that draw on our existing skills. Philip oversees the operational side of the business and ensures the re-fit projects go smoothly, while I take care of the sales, marketing and paperwork.

'The benefit of running your own business is having complete control over your timetable - now Philip and I are able to comfortably juggle work with our family life- so one of us is always available to do the school run. It can be difficult keeping your work and private life separate as there is always something that needs doing- however we try to keep our Sundays free for family time. The fact we have moved the business into a showroom means we have not only physically distanced our working life from our private but we have also doubled our annual turnover.