I'll be able to retire at 50!

From a standing start Ross Edmonds became Netstationers' Partner of the Year in less than 12 months, thanks to his willingness to expand quickly and take advantage of his franchisor's ability to support large clients

At 27 Ross Edmonds is the owner of a business that comfortably sold in excess of £1.1 million in its first year. Backed up by the national supplier support of the Netstationers franchise, Ross is targeting continued growth and is aiming to top £1.5 million this year. 'At the start you target a mix of clients to build a sustainable enterprise, but once you get started on dealing with larger accounts you get a taste for them,' says Ross. 'That's one of the reasons I was attracted to the Netstationers franchise - the head office deals with suppliers so I could sign up a million pound account today and benefit from Netstationers' credit to be able to service it immediately.'

Ross's background as a sales executive for an office supplies company meant that when he sought to increase the scope of his ambitions becoming a Netstationers franchisee was an obvious choice. 'You don't need a specific stationery background to be a Netstationers franchisee - the training provides a comprehensive induction to the business - but it is important to be sales orientated,' says Ross. 'The support and infrastructure is in place to allow you to concentrate on making sales and our USP - the online ordering technology - puts us one step ahead of the competition. 90 per cent of my customers order online and the service sells itself.'

Launching in February 2007, Ross's original business plan went out the window when he decided to quickly scale up the business by taking on two employees after only three months. 'My aim at launch was to get to between £300,000 and £400,000 by the end of year one, but when the opportunity came up to take on two guys I knew from my previous career I went for it,' he recalls. 'The business was already going well, I knew them personally and was convinced they would be a success. Immediately we were capable of winning more business and I'm now considering bringing someone else on board next year to continue my expansion and push up sales to £2 million in year three.'

Ross's achievements were recognised early by his franchisor and saw him win Netstationers' Partner of the Year award in his first year. 'I was overwhelmed when they called my name out at the ceremony,' he relates. 'It was real recognition of my hard work, drive and success in bringing in lots of business. Now I'm aiming for back-to-back titles! I absolutely love what I do and could see myself doing it for another 20 years. After that maybe I'll sell it as a very valuable asset. I think I'll be able to retire at 50, perhaps I'll move to California to play golf every week!'

Interview by Stuart Anderson