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Colchester-based businessman Steve Sleigh opened his first Mail Boxes Etc. store in Colchester in 2000 and now has a second store in Ipswich.

Steve Sleigh is very proactive within the franchise network and is well known in his hometown where he has received several local business awards. He has also received MBE’s own accolade of “Franchisee of the year” for his outstanding achievements and his contribution to the success of the MBE network as a whole.

Steve Sleigh had been thinking about changing his working life but was not sure what his chooses were. It was while driving through heavy London traffic when he heard about MBE and its wide range of services on the radio it instantly grabbed his attention.

“I had become disenchanted with my job as a sales rep for printing companies and wanted to do something different, preferably working for myself. I was cautious because past experience of two small businesses I’d set up meant I was well aware of the pitfalls of being my own boss. In both cases, the market place was crowded and the margins were small, there was plenty of hard work and lots of headaches – with no one to share them with.”

Steve spoke about his own research: “I’d read about franchising and particularly liked the idea of working for myself but with the back-up and support that comes from being part of a bigger organisation.

MBE matched exactly what I’d been looking for and I’m thrilled to say that things are going really well. I believe MBE’s strength is in its ability to adapt to constantly changing demands as business methods change and by tailoring services to suit the local market place to ensure we provide what customers want.”

He now splits his time between his two stores, concentrating on marketing and developing the business while his staff of seven people look after the day to day running.

Steve says: “It works well because I have very capable and reliable people working for me. They know the business inside out and use their initiative, so I don’t have to worry. If they have a genuine concern or need a prompt decision, I am only ever a phone call away.”