Mark & Amanda Edmans
Disheartened with a career that he felt was stagnating, events manager Mark Edmans visited the British & International Franchise Exhibition in London. He admits the visit was primarily to assess a rival exhibition company, and that, at the time, he had just a passing interest in franchised businesses. Three months after the show Mark bought the Dream Doors Chilterns franchise which he now runs from its showroom in Chesham with the help of his sister, Amanda.
Mark discusses his experiences so far:
What did you do before starting a franchise?
Before joining Dream Doors, I worked as an operations manager for an events firm. I'd also had sales and marketing experience from my time living and working in Australia. My sister, Amanda, worked in administration before leaving to help me with the franchise.
Why did you make the move into franchising?
I wasn't happy with my career, and felt I was under-appreciated in my last job. I visited the franchise exhibition in London for some inspiration. I wasn't necessarily looking for a franchise, but as my job involved careers events, and Venture Marketing Group are involved in a similar field, I thought there might be some synergy there.
After speaking to a couple of franchisors, and for a long time with Dream Doors, I realised I could use my existing skills to work for myself. From that moment I was convinced it was the right move for me, and that I really didn't want to carry on working for other people.
What made you choose Dream Doors?
After spending time with the personnel involved with Dream Doors, I immediately became comfortable with them. I could see this was a genuine franchise, and that there's lots of support in all aspects of the business. It's also very much a people business, and one that capitalises on my sales, marketing and management skills.
How has working with family worked out?
It's great having Amanda in the business with me. As my sister I trust her implicitly, and have no issues with passing on any confidential information. I also know that family will put more effort into this business than an employee who, when 5 o'clock on a Friday comes along, will forget about Dream Doors until Monday morning! Equally, because we live separate lives away from the business, we can take time off independently and leave the other to look after the business.
We have very defined roles, working in a similar way to typical Dream Doors ‘husband and wife’ teams. I deal with the sales and invoicing, manage our fitters and do most of the running around, while Amanda handles the paperwork, and looks after all the finance and day-to-day accounts.
What plans do you have for your business?
We've just had a great year, our first full year in a showroom. We were joint winners in Checkatrade's franchisee of the year award handed out at the Dream Doors annual conference. Checkatrade is an independent consumer monitoring scheme, and the award takes into account feedback and scores from customers, as well as how professionally and diligently a business is run. That was a great achievement, and one we're very proud of. A business like ours relies on its reputation, and we work really hard to make sure our customers are totally satisfied. Without that, we have no business.
This year we plan to increase sales, building on the successes we've already had and promoting ourselves in all corners of our franchise territory. There's definitely room for growth here.