With the Paralympics currently taking place in London, the spotlight is on those with disabilities competing at the highest level to realise their dreams of winning Paralympic Gold.
These athletes are proving that no matter what physical disabilities they have, as long as they are determined, talented and committed, it is no barrier to being successful in their chosen sport. This is not only true of sports, but also in the world of business, and more specifically, franchising.
One man who has proven that having a disability is not a hindrance to owning a franchise is Andy Easter, who was born with mild cerebral palsy and has been running his Autosheen franchise for over a year.
When he initially started looking at investing in an Autosheen franchise, Andy found that the car valeting franchise was supportive of his disability, especially Managing Director Paul Fennell. Andy explains: “We discussed the potential problems, but positively. Paul’s approach was ‘how can we overcome this together?’. I was impressed by his ‘can do’ attitude – and I think he was equally impressed with mine.”
Not all franchises are as physically demanding as Autosheen, as many are management franchises that can be run from a home-based office, while others can be operated on a part-time basis.
Like owning any business, franchising offers a flexible working life, where franchise owners can normally fit their work around their other commitments. On top of this, a franchise will provide training and ongoing support to help franchise owners to launch and develop their businesses successfully.
Despite the training and support provided, owning a franchise requires the same amount of hard work and determination as any new business. Whether or not a prospective franchise owner is able-bodied or has a disability, they must be realistic about whether or not they have the skills, experience and ability to successfully run the business.
With the right support in place, having a disability should not be a barrier to being successful as a franchise owner, as Andy concludes: “My initial expectations for my Autosheen franchise were quite modest, if I broke even at the end of the first year that would be pretty good as I knew I would need more time than average to process each car. However, in the event, I’ve achieved a respectable profit and have built a regular customer base of people who use my services regularly and recommend me to others. I’ve been told that I am an example to people with disadvantages, but I don’t take much notice of that. I just want to get on, make a good living and hold me head up high.
“Next year is looking fantastic and I’m looking forward – with the continued support of my wonderful family and superb Autosheen team – to growing my business, perhaps taking on an employee and tackling whatever new challenges that may bring.”
Written by Derin Clark