“I think being a female works to my advantage”

London House International has given three women the chance to make the most of the skills from their previous careers, while enjoying all the benefits of running their own business

London House’s Bolton and Oldham franchise owner, Deborah Braithwaite (pictured right, top), viewed being told her position at Greater Manchester Police was being made redundant as a blessing rather than a curse.

“I had spent 12 years there and things were changing in such a way that I was no longer enjoying my work,” explains Deborah.

Deciding she wanted to run a business, but with the support new start-ups lacked, Deborah began researching franchises, with one name standing out from the others – London House International.

“I knew I wanted a profitable environment, which would make the most of my skills and experience, but my priority was not about how much money I could make but job satisfaction,” she says.

“I’m loving it; there are no bits about being a London House franchise owner that I don’t like. The work gives me a lot of satisfaction – from being given a job to doing the investigation and completing the task, I missed that feeling of achievement.”

Like Deborah, Julia Bradbury (pictured right, centre), found herself the victim of the recession, when the public sector agency she was working for had its funding cut.

“I had always said to myself that if I was made redundant, I would stop being an accountant,” explains Julia, who discovered that becoming a franchise owner would realise her dream of being her own boss. “When I discovered London House, I was impressed with how long it had been established and it had a very credible leadership. In addition, the investment level was not massive and it would provide me with a regular income – even in the early days.”

Despite having no experience in investigations, Julia discovered that there were many skills – including developing good interpersonal skills and getting departments to cut their budgets – she could put to good use from her days as an accountant.

“I love my London House job as no two days are ever the same,” laughs Julia. “My only worry now is having more work than I can deal with, but I know that with the help and support of London House’s head office, I won’t have to deal with it on my own.”

Whereas Deborah and Julia had no experience of London House’s world of investigative work, BSc graduate in Criminology, Liz Collins (pictured right, bottom), seemed predestined to become part of its growing franchise network.

She had been working in administration for the NHS and volunteered at a nearby prison, when family friend Trevor Williams decided to retire and sell his Manchester-based London House business.

“I had wanted to run my own successful company and be my own boss for a while,” explains Liz. “My parents had known Trevor for years, so I decided to shadow him for a few jobs last year to see if London House was an opportunity I would be interested in.”

Liz knew that taking over London House’s Manchester territory was too good an opportunity to turn down, while Trevor knew that the business he had built up over 15 years would be in safe hands.

“Some of the work as a London House franchise owner involves knocking on doors and I think being a female works to my advantage,” she explains. “In fact it is one of my favourite parts of being a London House franchise owner! People feel more at ease opening the door to a young woman than the burly men the public often associates with debt collection enquiries.

“Manchester has a wealth of businesses – and therefore potential clients – so I know for the next couple of years I am going to be very busy!”

Written by Fraser McKay