Helena & Neil Bedford
Husband-and-wife Team Scoop Top Award
Helena and Neil Bedford have been awarded their franchisor’s Business Development Award 2015 for business growth and outstanding success.
They have received recognition in each of the three years since they started their business: Newcomers of the Year 2012; Business Development Award 2013; and finalists in the Brand Builder category in 2014.
To build their business, the couple devised and implemented a proactive marketing programme that includes a range of activities, including social media, business networking and setting up their own business breakfast club. They also provide clients and potential clients with specialist training seminars covering a wide range of legal topics that lawyers must keep reviewed and updated as part of their continuous professional development. The regular seminars are very popular and delivered by professional legal trainers.
“All these activities have enabled us to improve awareness of our services and highlight the extensive range of specialist property reports we can offer clients,” Neil said. “We’ve invested time, effort and money to build and sustain a strong business profile and attract new clients, demonstrating our knowledge and expertise.
“We offer a truly bespoke service, tailored to clients’ individual requirements. We believe firmly in going the extra mile, which clients really appreciate. They know we are reliable and will deliver exactly what they want, which is always accurate quality information, when they want it.”
Neil and Helena’s energetic approach to marketing has brought them big rewards as their business is increasing turnover by around 50 per cent year on year. Announcing their award, X-Press Legal Services director, Dave Lister, commented: “This award is very well deserved. Neil and Helena have worked very hard, with dogged determination and great perseverance. They are natural marketeers and very skilled networkers. Their track record has been phenomenal and looks set to continue on the same course for some time to come.”
Neil had always wanted his own business, ideally one where he and Helena could work together, so when he saw an opportunity to realise this ambition he was extremely keen to find out more. He explained: “I didn’t want to be an employee any more. I wanted independence and the ability to have a direct influence on our own future after many years of working in big organisations and having to deal with internal politics.”
As an engineer and project manager in the oil & gas and communications industries, NeiI had been all over the Middle East and Africa. He had been working abroad for some years and was based in Saudi Arabia when he met Helena, then a midwife in Riyadh.
They got married, had two children and stayed in the Gulf, returning to the UK only when their children reached a critical stage in their education. Neil joined a multinational organisation based in Hampshire but, despite being UK-based, the job required Neil to travel extensively. Then, in 2010, the business merged with another company and in the subsequent rationalisation of the two workforces, many people were made redundant, including Neil.
“I thought that this could be the ideal time to realise my ambition to have my own business,” Neil said. “I was very keen and considered various options, including franchising, which particularly appealed to me. I began researching the industry, visiting a franchise exhibition where I met X-Press Legal Services for the first time and was very impressed by them.
“I felt that my skills and experience of engineering and communications would be relevant in the search industry: total accuracy, meticulous attention to detail and the ability to get on well with all kinds of people from those working in local councils to the most prestigious client.
“I liked the idea of working in a white collar professional services business that is based on developing business relationships as much as on delivering the service. The training we received was very thorough and covered every aspect of the business, from learning about the search market to mastering new computer systems and marketing. We were very fortunate that the location we wanted – South Hampshire – was available and that we didn’t have to move. Everything just fell into place.”
Helena shared Neil’s enthusiasm and now works full-time in the business. She commented: “We set up in a home office but as the business grew and we needed to employ people we realised that we needed more space. Now we rent an office not far from home and employ two part-time staff as well. I enjoy the work very much and the longer and more complicated the search, the better I like it.”