Daniel Scott is Mail Boxes Etc. joint Franchisee of the Year 2013. His route to franchising was unusual: he came across Mail Boxes Etc. without knowing anything about franchising. He instantly recognised a ready-made opportunity to achieve his ambition to have his own business – but many years earlier than he had thought possible.
He was only 27 when he opened his first store in Watford. After studying music at the University of Liverpool, Daniel had considered the many options open to him. Although he was an accomplished pianist, he decided against the concert circuit and had no inclination to become a teacher. While he was trying to decide what to do, he worked in a kibbutz for five months and then took sales jobs on his return to the UK.
Today, he has a second store, in Milton Keynes, and is Mail Boxes Etc.’s joint Franchisee of the Year, chosen from over 135 stores across the UK and Ireland; an accolade that came totally unexpectedly. “I was really surprised,” he said modestly. “I was also extremely pleased, because part of the award was made on the basis of other franchisees’ recognition of those who had contributed significantly to the network and helped others on a regular basis.”
Daniel continues: “Opening a second store was always in the plan. As business at the first store prospered and grew I turned my attention to opening another in Watford. Unable to find suitable premises, I began to look elsewhere before finally deciding to take a store in Milton Keynes, which opened this spring. My business ambition had been inspired by my grandfather who was still running his own business well into his 80s.
“When I found Mail Boxes Etc. I was very impressed by all the advantages and benefits of being a franchisee. It’s very important to choose the right one and also to understand how local demographics can affect performance in different locations.
“Outside London and the big conurbations, there are fewer potential customers in large groups, for example, students and tourists. So, being in the provinces, it’s important to network within your local community and build up the business that way.
“Fortunately, I chose a good franchise and I have had first class training, guidance and support. I thoroughly enjoy being a franchisee and being my own boss, because it brings a sense of achievement.
“It’s important to choose a strong and well-established franchise, one you believe in and can feel confident about selling its services. I always knew I wanted to control my own destiny and so I was delighted when I discovered that I was not too young to become a franchisee, even though I was still in my 20s.
“Franchising is a great way of being in business for yourself – but without being on your own. I have had fantastic training and support and it’s reassuring to know that there is always someone who can help which is especially important in the early days.”Daniel advises prospective franchisees to ensure they have the support of their spouse and family, saying that he “could never have done it without support from my wife”.
Contact with other franchisees in the network is also very valuable. “Sharing best practice helps me a lot and I have learned a great deal,” he comments. “I would never want to go back to being an employee!”
In 2003 Daniel received a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society in recognition of his successful attempt to rescue a woman who was drowning.