Graham Swann, EuroDebt, West Yorkshire

"Helping people get out of financial difficulty is immensely satisfying"

For mortgage broker Graham Swann the onset of the recession and slump in the housing market had a negative effect on his business, as more people became ineligible for, or postponed, getting a mortgage. "I used to be able to help people re-mortgage their homes or get on the property ladder,' recalls Graham. 'However, the recession changed that. I became powerless, as clients' houses were plunged into negative equity or mounting debt prevented them from obtaining credit. This inability to help people meant that my profits dwindled. I was eager to find a way to recoup my profits and help people within my area and starting up a debt management business seemed like the right thing to do.

"On paper, EuroDebt ticked all the right boxes - it was definitely a business I could see myself running and I liked the idea of being the client's first point of contact. I arranged to meet EuroDebt's head office team who were very open and honest. The building was well staffed, the equipment used was professional and modern. Seeing the company in action and then contacting existing franchise owners to discuss their experiences cemented my decision and I launched my franchise, which covers West Yorkshire in August last year.

"Before I launched my franchise, I enrolled on a five-day residential training course. This covered everything I needed to know to run the business effectively: the whole process from managing debt to marketing the service and liaising with prospective clients. As well as an initial training course, all franchise owners have access to ongoing support from the franchisor and girls in the franchise support office. Every franchise owner is assigned a mentor who can accompany them on client visits and provide advice on the best plans to use.

"My mentor was Lancashire-based franchise owner Phil Aston, and he was always available to help me if I had any problems. It's nice to know I am not alone.

"Knowing I am now in a position to help people get out of financial difficulty is immensely satisfying especially when I have been able to prevent clients from losing everything. Eventually I would like to have the money and free time to be able to visit my properties in the Czech Republic and South Africa on a regular basis."