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Mohammed Akbar & Nina Khan, Leeds, Harrogate & York

A great work/life balance

After I was made redundant from my role as a Stock Manager I took the opportunity to explore different business opportunities where I could be my own boss and have the freedom and flexibility that I craved. My wife Nina was keen to join me in a new business venture and after a lot of research we came across an advert for the Leeds-based SITB franchise.

SITB fitted our criteria because it is a home-based business with flexible hours so we would be able to spend more time together as a family. The fact that SITB is associated with the Cadbury brand gave us confidence that we would be able to easily find sites for the vending machines, because the products are well known and good quality.

We took over the Leeds-based SITB franchise in June 2003 and since then have successfully built up the business to 118 machines and increased the weekly turnover by 20 per cent. Our aim for the future is to develop the brand in Harrogate and York and have 30 extra vending machines in operation.

The training and support package is really good. Before we launched our franchise we were put on a one-week comprehensive training course. In terms of support, SITB do not interfere with the way we operate the business, however head office is always happy to help if you have any problems. The introduction of Regional Franchisee Forums has proven invaluable, and has been a great way for us to meet up with other franchisees within our region and discuss ideas. By becoming franchisees, Nina and I now have our weekends free and have complete control of our timetable. With the flexible working hours Nina has been able to go back to school and is now able to comfortably juggle looking after the children with studying and helping me run our SITB franchise.