Women in franchising
Jan Chidley, Recognition Express Hull & East RidingJan Chidley, 45, was born in New Zealand and first came to England at the age of 21 for a working holiday. Jan did a multitude of jobs, including banking, working as a nanny and a credit controller, before meeting her husband Chris and starting a family.
Jan and Chris have twins, Sam and Sophie, who are at University, and Holly who is almost 16. Having been a full-time mum providing stability for the children while they travelled the world with Chris's job, Jan decided in June 2008 that it was now her time and set up Recognition Express Hull and East Riding. Although Jan is the sole franchise owner, husband Chris has been a big support along with the head office staff.
What attracted you to franchising?"I had a business back in New Zealand with my father, growing apples. We sold it and I decided that I wanted to do something in the UK now that my family are nearly all grown up. I like the idea of doing something that is my own business but where I am supported.
"My husband, Chris, is the CEO of a large nationwide franchise, Driver Hire, and I could see the benefits of being a part of a franchise. There is a list of support needed when starting a new business, and on a day-to-day basis it is good to know you can pick up the phone and there will be help at the end of the line."
What was it about Recognition Express that attracted you?"Nigel Toplis and the team are very supportive, there is a wide range of good quality products and hence a broad range of potential customers, and the business model is sound.
"My husband Chris was aware of Recognition Express and had met Nigel on several occasions. We both felt that Recognition Express was the right sort of business for me."
What advice would you give to other women thinking of starting their own business?"It is hard work, with a lot of commitment required, but if you get it right it is extremely satisfying. It is all about meeting people on a regular basis, forming good relationships and being able to deliver the end product.
"Having my own business gives me flexibility around my home life, however it is important to remain focused on the business and to continue to put in the time required to keep things on the up."
Would you recommend franchising to other women?"I would recommend franchising to other women. While you have to do your homework before signing on the dotted line you should be buying into a proven business model. For busy women this can be an appealing option."
Franchise owner testimonials"Having been away from the workplace for 18 years, I was apprehensive about starting my own business. The support I have received from Recognition Express has been exceptional, so much so that at the end of my first year I achieved all my financial targets and have made the transition to business owner. The business is going extremely well and the economic climate has not affected my business at all. In fact, people are very aware of the need to promote the business and keep their name out there."
Jan Chidley, Recognition Express Hull & East Riding
"The ongoing support from the franchisor is very comprehensive. Good initiatives and brochures are widely available to help you promote the business. New ideas and promotions are always changing to keep pace with reassessing the marketplace that helps us maintain our position."
Kevin Andrews, Recognition Express Taunton
"I rate the support from the franchisor as very good – particularly in the areas of marketing and business planning. Additionally, sourcing is excellent – we have a good range of suppliers that can supply almost all items we get asked for."
Alex Newman, Recognition Express Coventry, Mid Surrey
Investment level: £35,000 + VAT
Business type: Business to Business
To view more information about Recognition Express click here
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