Previously a Senior Line Manager responsible for a turnover in excess of £20m, Graham Holden took 'a well negotiated exit' during restructuring in 2002. 'After 26 years of corporate life, I was very wary of joining another large organisation where internal politics would require far too much energy rather than concentrating on growth and service,' he reflects. 'During my career, I had personally created significant wealth for my employer and I wanted to do the same for myself and family. The prospect of buying a franchise attracted me because I believed, and still do, that it would be a speedier route to growing and establishing a business from a standing start. Most of the bugs/mistakes have already been experienced by the franchisor and removed from the business model and operations.'
Attracted by the profit margins and relative stability of the property rental market, Graham discovered the Northwood franchise opportunity in The Franchise Magazine. 'It looked polished, professional and, most importantly, it offered appealing marketing USPs which were not evident with other property franchise opportunities,' he remarks. 'Having contacted Northwood I was invited to the Franchise Office in Southampton by the Franchisor Andy Goodson. I was given a full presentation of the business model and the opportunity, which was impressive, but two other factors were indirectly very persuasive. The first was the personal attention I received from the franchisor who was candid and displayed total honesty when questioned hard on a variety of topics. The second was witnessing the friendliness and 'feel good' vibe when speaking to the franchisor's team.'
Graham launched his business in August 2003 and, with advice from Northwood, conducted extensive radio and newspaper advertising. 'Thanks to the radio marketing campaign and the unique benefits available from the Northwood Platinum Scheme, results were quick to see,' he recalls. 'We currently have 360 properties within the portfolio, the Platinum scheme represents 94 per cent of revenue and my turnover is £1.8 million per year.
'After nearly six years, the business is now well established and we have stable staffing levels. Because of the success of the business it has allowed me to take a back seat in terms of the day- to-day running of the office. I have an excellent General Manager who looks after all day to day activities. This allows me to enjoy a semi-retired life and to focus on longer term strategy.
Northwood is a great business with a great franchisor, full of integrity. You get all the benefits and freedoms in running your own business, yet you also get the backing and support of an experienced, professional and friendly franchise support team. It's a partnership in all but name and the sum of the total is greater than the individual parts.