Raf Ali

RafWhy did you choose franchising?
I run a number of existing mobile phone franchises in the north east and CeX seemed a logical ‘fit’ with my existing businesses.

What did you do before taking up a franchise?
I was a computer programmer for a large retail bank until becoming involved in franchising for the first time in 2006, opening my first O2 franchise.

How did you raise the finance?
Part equity from my house and also some bank finance assistance.

What training and support did you receive, initially and ongoing?
I was lucky to be part of a new CeX franchise store opening. I rolled up my sleeves and got involved in every aspect of the business, which I found invaluable. 

To open my first store I had a detailed support team, including an inspirational franchise manger and ongoing in-house support once my business was open, helping it to become quickly established.

What challenges have you faced?
The biggest challenge initially 4 years ago was brand awareness. People didn’t know us, having now opened my third store in the north east, it’s great because customers already know us.

Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Yes, I work harder than ever! But the benefit is that I am in control of my own destiny. It has been very rewarding to see my businesses grow and the development of my employees and their own career progression.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Understand what it takes to run your own business, and the demands it will place on you, your friends and family. Do your research, understand the franchise you are interested in and talk to their franchisees.

What are your plans for the future?
To drive a Porsche 911 and businesses to run themselves successfully!

Would you do it again?
Yes, I get a buzz out of being involved in successful franchise brands.

 

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