New kid on the block

With approximately 3.4 million people living in rented homes there has never been a better time to join one of the UK’s biggest letting agencies, Northwood. This is exactly what ex-RAF personnel Brian Mitchison did this year. Jamie Brown caught up with Northwood’s recent recruit.

Brian “Mitch” Mitchison is one of the latest franchise owners to join Northwood’s network of growing letting agents. After more than 20 years spent in the RAF and a further 13 years at a defence company, Mitch has finally decided to leave his military career and pursue his ambition of owning and running his own business.

Mitch speaks of his decision to leave his old career: “I had grown frustrated working for a large corporation. I had worked my way up to Deputy Managing Director and Programmes Director, yet unreachable targets and a focus on stakeholders meant that it was difficult to provide customer satisfaction. It was time to set out on my own and I haven’t looked back."

Having a military background was a huge benefit for Mitch, like many ex-service personnel, becoming a franchise owner is a perfect transition into a civilian career, as many possess the relevant leadership and management skills required to becoming a successful franchise owner. Unsurprisingly it was a former colleague who helped make Mitch’s decision: “A former colleague recommended Northwood. He had joined after leaving the RAF and had achieved great success as a franchise owner. He was full of praise for Northwood’s Guaranteed Rent business model and the culture of the company, and this inspired me to open my own Northwood office in Reading.”

Northwood prides itself on offering franchise owners some of the best training and support around. Mitch was quick to compliment: “The support and training Northwood offers is fantastic. As well as in-house training at Northwood’s head office, I had the chance to work in established offices across the network. This not only provided invaluable on-the-job experience but highlighted areas I needed to improve.”

Mitch continued to speak of the benefits of being part of the Northwood community: “The selection and training process lasts a year, so by the time I opened the office I was confident and ready for business. Even now, there is a great sense of community among franchise owners and I am able to call on them if I need their advice or benefit of their experience.”

Now that Mitch has made the transition into becoming a franchise owner, how has his ambitions changed in the past six months? “My aim is to create a successful, family business”, Mitch explains. “I currently work with my daughter Sarah, who will become more involved in the management of the company as she gains experience, allowing me to take more of a back seat and open a second office.”

Mitch now lives a more enjoyable lifestyle and with plans for his wife to join him in the business next year this has not only been the best career change financially but one that has changed his lifestyle for the better. “When my other half joins me over the next year or so, I might even have the time to play a little golf!”

Mitch left us with some final thoughts on whom he thought would be best suited to the Northwood network: “The beauty of the Northwood business model: it’s flexible to suit the franchise owner and the lifestyle they wish to have.”