Credit crunch aids franchisee success

Launching her business during the credit crunch has had a surprisingly positive impact on Avril Leeming's first weeks of trading.

The continuation of the downturn in the economy has meant that consumers are becoming increasingly reluctant to spend money needlessly and, as a result, the competition between local businesses has intensified. For Voucher Packs franchisee Avril Leeming this has enabled her Huddersfield based business to start off on a successful footing.

She explains: 'I launched my business in August this year and within the first five weeks of trading I have business secured up to March 2009! I've put my success partly down to the credit crunch as local businesses are having to work harder to get people through their doors and one of the best ways of doing that is through offer-based advertising.'

Avril first found out about Voucher Packs through a recommendation from a friend. She recalls: 'I had worked in advertising for 12 years, so I have a good knowledge of the industry. A few years ago I took a career break to have my two children. A friend introduced me to Voucher Packs and although I had not thought of owning a franchise before, I was interested as I liked the business concept and the way it operates.'

The Voucher Packs concept is based on an idea that has been successfully used in the USA for over 35 years. The company provides a co-operative direct mail service in which it distributes DL-size clear wrapped branded packs that contain leaflets from well known as well as local businesses. The packs are delivered in the post to selected households through the Royal Mail.

Although her business is still being established, Avril has already been getting a positive feedback from her customers: 'One of the things I enjoy most about running my franchise is telling prospective advertisers about the fantastic results that Voucher Packs is achieving for businesses just like theirs in other areas. Also, as a mum of two children, flexible work is important to me and Voucher Packs provides me with a business that fits around my life.'

Despite Avril's previous experience within the advertising industry she still received thorough training. 'The training I received before launching my franchise was brilliant,' she states. 'The initial part of the training was classroom based and covered the advertising industry. After that I went out and about with Richard Wood from Voucher Packs head office to get further training in the field, which has been ongoing. Additionally, I've had a lot of support from head office. There is always someone at the end of the phone whenever I have a question or need help - it is very much a team environment.'

At the moment Avril is concentrating on building on the success of her first weeks of trading, however she already has some long term plans in place: 'I'm currently working in two areas in Huddersfield, but in the future I want to expand this to four areas. I also want to build good business relationships with my customers, both existing and future ones.'

Reported by: Derin Ibrahim