In over two decades working as a print service professional with the likes of Xerox, Xeretec and Kinolta, Andy encountered his fair share of managers. “In 20 years I didn’t really have any outstandingly inspiring bosses, and always wanted to be my own boss,” says Andy, who joined the ERA network in 2013.
After what Andy himself describes as a “predictably slow-burning” start to his ERA consultancy, he worked hard to build up a strong pipeline of business and network connections, increasingly leveraging his in-depth knowledge of the print sector to work on projects with other ERA consultants.
Fast forward just two years and Andy’s self-belief and specialist experience have definitely paid dividends. Not only has he launched a thriving ERA consultancy, but he also won the ‘New Consultant of The Year 2015’ award and was a finalist in no fewer than three categories at the ERA conference. “The whole event was fun and highly beneficial,” says Andy. “The keynote speaker, Sally Gunnell, was inspiring and entertaining and easily related her message to our industry and network.”
Despite his success, Andy is keen to point out that it’s the ERA network as a whole that has supported the growth of his business. “Recognition is always nice to receive but is not an end in itself,” he says. “Networking in any environment is based on trust and confidence that the other party can deliver what they say, so being projected in front of the whole network as a successful new consultant, someone who is already being brought in on other ERA projects, has definitely led to more enquiries.”
And when Andy’s not networking and building his business, he loves nothing more than going cycling – and was part of ERA’s ‘Race the Sun’ charity event and a London to Paris bike ride in 2014. This year also saw him join the ‘Ride The Regions’ team, which rode from Edinburgh to Southampton visiting each of the ERA regional meetings on their journey. “It was a great personal experience,” says Andy, “a really worthwhile cause and an opportunity to build closer relationships with other consultants.”
And what of the future for this award-winning franchisee? “I have stayed ahead of my targets and am now looking to move forward strongly in the next couple of years,” says Andy, “perhaps bringing in some admin support to free up more time for genuine consultancy and project work. I want to ethically help clients with their businesses and meet my own personal goals.”
Ultimately, Andy has a longer-term plan to buy a place in France – and split his time between there and the UK – as a lot of his project work can be done anywhere. He’ll certainly find they share his love of cycling; he says he’s polishing up on his French already!