Four Million Turnover and still expanding!
\"We are positioned to weather any economic climate. Technology is continually changing and people will always want to upgrade.\"
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Since he made the transition from CeX employee to franchise owner five years ago, Kasim Ali's business has gone from strength-to-strength. To date he has four stores operating under his guidance generating a combined annual turnover in excess of £4 million and a fifth store opening planned for later this year.
Kasim (pictured right) worked around the clock to get his business established and so earlier this year rewarded himself with a well-earned break to Hong Kong and a new Jaguar XF car.
'Prior to becoming a franchise owner, I worked as a Stock Control Manager for CeX,' he reflects. 'I was with the company for six years and in this time I witnessed the company grow from three to over 14 stores. I enjoyed working for CeX, however when head office relocated from London to Watford I found the long commute exhausting and that is when I discussed with my boss the idea of becoming the first CeX franchise owner and opening the pilot store in Croydon.
'I was confident that CeX would bring me the success I was looking for because it has a strong brand-name and operates using a proven business system of buying, selling and exchanging second hand technological and entertainment goods from seven main product lines: DVDs, video games, computing, electronics, mobile phones, vision and music CDs.'
Every CeX franchise owner has access to ongoing support and training. As Kasim had worked for the company for several years and had an in-depth knowledge of the products and the business model he required minimal training. However, he found the support of his dedicated Franchise Manager invaluable. 'CeX is totally dedicated to looking after its franchise owners,' he continues. 'The support package includes regular visits from a Franchise Manager, who is only a phone call away to assist you with any problems. While the dedicated support centre has specialised departments to help with every aspect of the business from marketing to IT.
'I have not regretted my decision to become my own boss and operate a CeX franchise. Business in all of my stores, two of which are in Croydon and the others in Tunbridge Wells and Maidstone, is going really well despite the recession. This is because we are positioned to weather any economic climate. Technology is continually changing and people will always want to upgrade their mobile phones or games console and by part-exchanging their old mobile phone for a newer model with us they can save money.'
At the moment Kasim's main priority is to continue his success by building up the business. Every week, he divides his time between his stores, working one day of each week on a shop floor. By doing this, Kasim is able to ensure his stores are running effectively and he is also able to keep up to date with new stock coming in and any changes to the computer system.
'Running your own business is a lot of hard work,' he acknowledges. 'However, if you enjoy what you do you are prepared to put in the hours and money to ensure it is a success. The majority of my profit is channelled back into the business, so I can continue my expansion plans, however I still put enough money aside for the odd treat such as a holiday abroad and a good salary so I can enjoy a reasonably comfortable lifestyle.'
Interview by Jess Sturman