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Birmingham business owner wins prestigious national business award

Neil Hatt, owner of an InXpress global shipping franchise in Birmingham, has won the Network Contribution Award in the prestigious annual bfa HSBC Franchise Awards 2018. 

Run by the British Franchise Association (bfa), these widely-respected awards recognise both franchisees and franchisors who have demonstrated outstanding business acumen, innovation and achievement.  Franchising is a simple relationship between two parties, the franchisor who owns the brand and business system, and the franchisee who contracts to run a copy of that business in a local area.

The bfa HSBC Franchise Award winners were announced last night, 28thJune 2018, at the ICC in Birmingham at an exclusive black-tie ceremony held between day one and two of the bfa Annual Conference.  The Network Contribution Award recognises franchisees who appreciate the benefit of being part of a network and are considered to be a significant contributing partner to the franchisor and a mentor to the network, leading to increased profitability for the overall business model. The judges were impressed by Neil Hatt’s dedication to the wider InXpress network, acting as mentor to six other franchisees, sitting on the franchise’s advisory council, and also helping implement change at the company, such as by testing a new CRM tool.

InXpress is a global shipping franchise organisation delivering carrier solutions to small and medium sized businesses for domestic and international document, parcel, and package shipments via its carrier partners such as DHL, TNT, UPS and UK Mail. Neil started InXpress Birmingham South in 2006 and was determined to build a profitable business. This has been recognised within the network, and he is currently a member of the InXpress Quarter Million Club – reserved for franchisees generating a profit exceeding £250,000 – and based on last year’s pre-tax profit of over £440k is now close to joining the half million club. Neil’s franchise ranks in the top five UK franchises, and #12 in the top 20 Global franchises.

It is this performance and Neil’s experience that give him credibility to support the Network and he knows he is in a privileged position, earning the trust of both franchisees and the franchisor. He won Franchise of the Year in 2015 and has been a mentor for several franchisees in the InXpress network.

Alongside his mentoring role, he has supported InXpress recruitment, referring three people into the network, who are all now high performing franchises. Neil has also served on the Franchise Association Committee, where he and other colleagues made recommendations about improving the software and technology that franchisees were using, and took proposals to the network, which were funded by the franchisor and topped up by franchisees.

Neil’s latest role is supporting the franchise to grow into Europe. He is supporting head office by picking up new leads, talking to them about InXpress and his own experience and getting them along to Discovery Days.

On winning the Network Contribution Award, Neil said, “To have been recognised by the Franchisor of InXpress and entered into the running for this accolade was a wonderful moment in itself; but I am absolutely overjoyed to have been chosen as the winner of the Network Contribution Award by the prestigious British Franchise Association. With over 1000 franchise brands in the UK, it feels very special to have been singled out in this way. I’d like to thank the bfa for all that they do in helping and promoting franchising here in the UK and of course the board at InXpress, whose constant innovation and drive is what has given me the opportunity to create such a profitable and fantastic business. Thank you very much!”

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa, said, “It’s over forty years since the bfa was launched specifically to develop ethical franchising in the UK, and I am proud of the way the sector has grown in that time, with the industry’s turnover exceeding £15bn – that’s 1% of the UK’s GDP! If you are running a successful business or want to be your own boss, then franchising is a valid and important option for accelerating your business growth or starting your own commercial venture.” 

“The bfa HSBC Franchise Awards 2018 are a celebration of the broad church that is franchising in the UK, from a large multi-national to a lifestyle business, as franchisors come in all shapes and sizes. Every year it’s really great to see the excellent work our members demonstrate through their entries and the quality has never been higher. I would like to thank all our finalists in this year’s awards and congratulate our winners, it was an extremely hard job for the judges to separate them. It great to see such a wide range of businesses represented as it really does illustrate the depth and breadth of franchising opportunities in the UK. 

“Neil has brought his expertise and enthusiasm to the wider network of InXpress, helping grow not only his own operation, but the whole business. I would like to congratulate him on winning this award and wish him the best of luck in future!” 
Andrew Brattesani, UK Head of Franchising for the Awards’ sponsor HSBC, said, “HSBC is delighted to be once again supporting these industry leading franchise awards. Franchise businesses are often the hidden engine of business growth in the UK and it is essential to highlight the important contribution both large and small businesses make to our economy. It is also important to showcase to people that they can run their own businesses and if you don’t want to go it alone, or haven’t got a strong business idea, you can still be successful and become your own boss, as together we thrive.”

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