A trophy handed out for the best financial performance went to Ian Morrison, who heads up the consultancy practice that generated the most revenue. Now in his tenth year as an ERA franchisee, Ian admits he is driven by more than the obvious financial gain. “I get up every day excited about what I do,” he says. “Every day is different, every day is a challenge. Every client is different and every project is different. What more could I ask for?”
Ian was called up on stage again as he shared the Consultant’s Consultant award with fellow franchisee, Sue Cooke. “That was very humbling,” says Ian. “It’s heartening to know that our colleagues consider the work we do worthy of such an award.”
One of the most coveted trophies, the ‘Consultant’s Consultant’ is chosen by the franchise network itself. Winning for the second year in succession, Sue is modest in her self-appraisal. “I haven’t done anything different this year, I just do what comes naturally,” she says. “I try to do the best job I can, whether that’s helping clients or other consultants.”
ERA’s UK business manager, Paul Lewis, is more effusive in his praise: “Sue Cooke has been voted the ‘Consultants’ Consultant’ for the second year running, and this really is testament to the affection held for her by her ERA colleagues,” he says. “Sue brings a degree of excellence to every project she is involved with. Not only does she have a sterling reputation for high standards in project delivery, but Sue is also a valued member of our Induction Training team, giving up a proportion of her time to help the new ERA associates. By always putting others first – clients, colleagues and joint venture partners – Sue is ultimately successful.”
While Ian and Sue are long-standing franchise partners, with almost two decades’ experience between them, ex-paper merchant Steve Cummings (right) joined ERA just 18 months ago. Highly regarded by his peers, his first year’s performance was recognised by the rest of the network who nominated him as ERA’s Newcomer of the Year. Like Sue, Steve is quick to deflect praise, saying: “I don’t go about seeking that sort of recognition.”
He adds: “I just work as hard as I can, and as best that I can. I do everything the way it should be done and that has helped me get my business off the ground. I’ve stuck to my plan and haven’t broken the model. And, that’s why bought a franchise in the first place.”
It was down to academy manager Dan Ireland, who has worked closest with Steve in the last year, to provide a fitting testimonial. “Steve had a hugely successful first year,” says Dan. “But this was not as a result of any previous business contacts or establishing a new route to market. It was because of his hard work, diligence and adherence to the ERA business model. And, as a result, Steve has fully integrated himself into the ERA network and has become a valued and respected associate amongst his peers.”
This was ERA’s 20th Annual Conference, attended by more than 150 franchisees. Since the brand launched in the UK in 1992, it has grown into an organisation that turns over more than £11million annually, with consultancy revenues up by 48% in the last four years. The network will be capped at 200 branches, with 15 new franchisees joining this year.