When The Franchise Magazine first spoke to Neill Summerfield (pictured) in 2008 he had only been operating his Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise for 12 months, but had already exceeded his target year one turnover of £100,000 and had plans to grow his business.
Three years on and while other businesses have struggled over the last few years, Neill reveals that his turnover has grown to £250,000, his client base has expanded three-fold and he has saved his clients over £3 million in cost reduction.
Neill believes his success is down to the service he provides. “I think there has been a realisation within organisations that they have achieved cost reduction as far as they can and recognise that they need an outsider’s experience to take it further,” Neill explains. “Organisations have to change in difficult times, they have to adapt, and the service I provide helps them to do that.”
Before launching his ERA franchise Neill worked for over 20 years in several Commercial Director roles operating in the aerospace, automotive, chemicals and transport sectors. Since becoming his own boss, Neill has found that he is not only financially better off but he is able to spend more time with his two children. Neill comments: “Financially I’m more secure than before. As well as this I have a lot more flexibility in the hours I work and I can take my children to school every day. My children are now at an age where they join after school sports clubs and I can join them and support them in their activities.”
Keen to keep his business growing, Neill has plans to increase his client base over the next few years. “I am looking to expand by employing two people to help with the marketing side of the business, which will leave me with more time to meet clients,” he says.
Although Neill has made a success ERA franchise he advises others looking into franchising that: “Franchising is a great opportunity but its success or failure is down to you as an individual. You must be honest with yourself if you have what it takes to succeed.
“ERA is a great franchise with a successful business model, however it takes stamina and perseverance from the franchisee to make their business a success. I have found that to run a successful ERA business is down to your personality, as it is not as formulaic as other franchises. For me this has been a good thing because ERA’s flexibility has helped my business to succeed, as it has enabled me to be quick to react to changing circumstances and to provide the services my clients require.”
Written by Derin Ibrahim