My first few months

Starbrite franchisee Richard Law is laying the foundations for a highly successful chemical distribution business in Cornwall. Since 1st April he has secured 120 customers from diverse businesses, including a 100-room hotel and a country pub.

Richard's experience as Sales Manager for a catering supply company has proven invaluable, and he has been working closely with Starbrite to grow sales to the catering industry. 'The most important aspect of this business is having the right products at the right price,' he reveals. 'Before launching the business I sat down with Starbrite and went through the products so I was ready to go from day one.'

Richard secured his customer base through a mixture of cold calling and contacts made in his previous job. He explains: 'In the past, Starbrite have predominately sold into the automotive sector. Using my experience of catering and Starbrite's connections, we have been looking at new ways of linking products into the catering industry. New franchisees will now have an even wider range of businesses to sell to.'

What initially attracted Richard to the company was its willingness to diversify, its knowledge of chemical sales and the people behind the business. 'People buy from people,' he clarifies. 'I bought into this business because of the people. They've been very supportive in sourcing new products and have delivered everything they said they would. Their Franchisee Recruitment Manager is very realistic and made no false promises.'

Richard is now consolidating his customer base before selling to the next 120 - he will then be looking for premises and staff. 'You need to be resilient to run this business,' he advises. 'There's no such thing as a sales person, but you do need to be a good communicator, have the right attitude, be personable and self-disciplined. You must also be prepared to work very hard during the first 12 months laying the foundations.'