Mike Melling - Resales

Mike MellingMark Fordham joined TaxAssist Accountants in October 2003. His background was in banking, internal audit and lecturing at degree level.  Realising that his whole career had been with big corporations, he decided that he wanted to work for himself and be in charge of his own destiny and build up his own business close to where he lived in St Albans….

“The reasons why I chose to consider franchising are the lower risks, and support in areas I had little or no experience of, such as sales and marketing.  As part of my due diligence I visited the franchise exhibition at Wembley, looked at websites and magazines, spoke to franchisees and attended discovery days.  I also attended a bfa workshop.  The reasons I chose TaxAssist Accountants were the positive feedback I received from the franchisees and the success to date of the franchise, the set-up of the Support Centre and the trust I had in them running the franchise.  Added to this, I felt that accountancy and tax was an area I could succeed in.

The training and support I received have been fantastic.  I attended an initial training course in Norwich which covered accounts, taxation, software, sales and marketing.  Training and support have continued whilst I’ve been out in the field, in the form of technical and marketing help lines, on site visits from technical personnel and directors, update training days, and of course the support and advice of other franchisees.

I opened my shop in 2009 which led to an immediate boost in new business due to increased client walk-ins. I made sure I continued to be active with networking and marketing and ensured that everyone knew where the shop was.  The shop also gave the business a professional appearance with even more credibility.

Did I face challenges along the way? Of course. I worked harder than I ever had and I was slow to take on staff and was perhaps guilty at times of working in the business, not on the business as I should have done.

If someone asked me what advice I would give to someone buying a franchise, I would say to do your research thoroughly.  Think about what you will need from the franchisor and consider if they will provide this.  Talk to existing franchisees and get a feel for how they are doing.

Since joining TaxAssist Accountants my business has gone from strength to strength. It has been hard work and great fun to take the business from a blank sheet of paper to over 850 clients and 13 members of staff in a short space of time. The support from TaxAssist Accountants has been first class. Everything they said they would do has been done and more. I estimate that my business is at least two years ahead of where it would have been had I started on my own, as a result of joining the franchise.”

Tax Assist openly encourage all franchisees to consider their exit strategies and we even provide training days so that plans can be put in place early on in the franchise term. In early 2012 Mark Fordham approached the franchise recruitment manager, David Paulson advising that he would like to start the search for a purchaser, and within six months David had found the ideal candidate.

In October 2012 Mike Melling purchased Mark Fordham’s franchise.  After a 30 year career in financial services and more recently operational consulting, Mike bought the Harpenden and St Albans franchise and has expanded the territory to include Radlett and Shenley.  Having worked around the world in senior positions for global companies, Mike was interested in developing a family business that his wife Penny and twin children Katherine and James could become involved in as well as the opportunity to build an asset for the longer term.

“The more I found out about the growth and success of the TaxAssist Accountants model and the more I talked to people at the Norwich Support Centre and around the network, I became convinced that this was the business I wanted to buy into and continue to grow,” said Mike.

Mike is thoroughly enjoying the client and business development, with Katherine and James already helping out with extended office opening hours including Thursday nights and Saturdays mornings during the peak season.

Karl Sandall, Chief Executive of TaxAssist Accountants said, “Clearly we are thrilled to have achieved this landmark sale; it is a testament to the strength of our business model that we are achieving these kind of resale figures and still achieving double digit growth year on year.”

Mike Melling currently operates from two shop fronts covering Radlett and Harpenden and an office in St Albans. 


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