"Buying this franchise has been the best thing we have ever done"

Operating a franchise that has been running for a quarter of a century, Recognition Express franchisees Stephen and Ciorsdan Price still enjoy business growth.

Many people view buying a franchise as an investment, aiming to see their business build up and grow over a long period of time. Celebrating their business's 25th anniversary last year, Recognition Express franchisees Stephen and Ciorsdan Price have not only seen their business grow but continue to do so. Stephen, who previously worked for a golf holiday company and several life insurance companies, took over the Recognition Express franchise with his wife Ciorsdan in August 2003. Stephen explains: 'My wife was already working for Recognition Express so we knew about the franchise. We talked about it and just thought it was a good opportunity and had potential. We also thought the west Scotland area was a good area for growth and we have been proved right.'

Running their franchise together, Ciorsdan and Stephen have established a way of working that suits them. Stephen reveals: 'My wife runs the financial side of the business and I run the sales side. The way we run the business is a good combination as we are both looking after the side of the business we are good at and enjoy. As both our income is coming from the same business it has meant that we really had to put the effort in and work hard to make the business a success.

'I really enjoy meeting new and existing clients and I get to spend about two days a week out and about meeting people and going to different places. We currently have about 600 clients and I try to focus on keeping existing clients and getting new business through referrals from them as I find this is easier than attracting brand new clients.'

With a turnover of £430,000 and enjoying continued growth, this strategy is clearly working. 'Every month since taking over the business there has been financial growth,' says Stephen. 'Our main aim for the future is to keep the business growing. At the moment we have four full-time members of staff and two part-time and we might look into taking on more employees.'

The first to admit that success only comes with hard work, however, Stephen comments: 'Buying this franchise has been the best thing we have ever done and not just financially but also for our well being. Instead of being on our own we feel part of a network and we have someone there to help and support us, which we wouldn't have had if we'd started a business completely on our own.'

Sally Findlay, Recognition Express Mid Surrey

I used to work as a senior project manager for a large American company, however when I was made redundant I decided I wanted to work for myself. The Recognition Express franchise appealed to me because when I looked at the skills they required they matched my own and the day-to-day running of the franchise matched my strengths.

In addition to two weeks of initial training prior to launching my Surrey-based franchise in April 2004, I have benefited from ongoing training. As well as this I have loads of support, everything I could ask for and more. One of the major benefits of this franchise is the brilliant network of other franchisees, who are all very professional and helpful. As well as this I get a huge amount of satisfaction when a customer comes back and lets me know I've done a great job - that it has been done on time and is exactly what the customer required.

My last turnover was £200,000 and I currently have three full-time staff and five to eight temporary staff. I am about to move into a new, bigger office as we need more space, however my main aim is to continue to develop the relationship with my clients.

Interview by Derin Ibrahim