"Any business can be considered a potential client"

Over a period of 26 years, franchisee Paul Mitchell has been able to develop his business with the knowledge that he will always be backed with high standards of support by Recognition Express.

One of the most successful business-to-business franchises in the UK, Recognition Express has been able to develop a winning concept over a period of 28 years. Over this time it has increasingly become a focus of businesses to create a strong and successful brand image. In a market now worth over £2 billion per annum, Recognition Express has become the UK's leading supplier and manufacturer of corporate and personalised products to businesses.

Recognition Express has put together a franchise package with a focus on training and support ideally suited to those seeking a professional management opportunity. A Recognition Express franchisee from the early days of its franchise development, Paul Mitchell of Slough has seen how the business has gone from strength to strength.

'I've been a Recognition Express franchisee since 1981, which means I've seen how the business has developed and improved every year,' says Paul. 'The business today is very different from when I launched. There's a huge emphasis on branding and marketing - a focus on making Recognition Express the first choice for our customers. The market has also changed too due to the growing importance of branding to any business. This means that there's a lot more potential - any business can be considered a potential client.

'I'd always wanted to work for myself and it turned out that Recognition Express provided a great way for me to achieve this. It was their ability to provide great training and support that first attracted me to the business and this has got better and better. The business is always looking forward and has always been focused on improving its systems. The training is now very sophisticated and with all the added support, the franchise package is second to none. 'One of the benefits of a Recognition Express franchise is that a lot of new business comes straight to us through referrals. It's up to the individual franchisee to decide how to use the marketing tools provided and market their business in their territory - you can look to develop the business as it suits you.

'The franchise revolves very much around marketing and sales, and as such experience in this would be a great help. However, it's not strictly necessary at all. As long as you are personable and can relate to others in a professional environment, everything you need to know can be learned.

'I find the work to be very satisfying and still enjoy it after all these years. Recognition Express makes sure you are fully prepared to go into business and, so long as you follow the tried and tested format, everything is in place for success.'

Jonny Masters, Recognition Express Leicester
I previously worked at the head office of Recognition Express and so had a very good idea of how the business operates. The opportunity arose for a colleague and myself to invest in the business by buying our own franchise - we knew the benefits of the business, so we went for it.

We experienced great success with the business and went through a rapid rate of development. After a series of discussions it was decided that to take full advantage of the opportunity we should go it alone. I soon invested in my own Recognition Express franchise and haven't looked back since.

I was given additional training to prepare me for running a business on my own and the support continued to be of a very high standard. Even though I had plenty of experience in the business, I still had to very much apply myself. There was twice as much work for me to do but I had a good understanding of how best to manage this.

The business has been growing steadily and I've now reached a point where I'm experiencing comparable success to what we had before. Working completely on my own is also incredibly satisfying - my hard work is definitely being rewarded.

Recognition Express go to great lengths to aid their franchisees, which has included the redevelopment of their 'extranet' system. It's available online and helps with the details of sales and supplies - therefore making the franchisee's job that much easier.

Building up two businesses in a couple of years has taken a lot of determination and I've had to be totally focused. My new business has had a successful first year - I've secured many new clients and I expect turnover to double this year. It goes to show that a Recognition Express franchise will be a success so long as you have the motivation to make it work.

Interview by Adam Browning