Just two years after starting her franchise Jo French received X-Press Legal Services’ 2014 Business Development Award in recognition of the fast and dynamic growth of her business.
Jo achieved more than 100 per cent increase in turnover in the second year of trading and the business is continuing to grow at a phenomenal rate. She attributes her success to hard work, providing consistent high standards of service and customer care, and imaginative local marketing that has improved awareness of the brand and brought word-of-mouth recommendations.
Marketing is carefully targeted at the legal sector and includes CPD events offering specialist free training covering legal topics that lawyers must keep reviewed and updated as part of their continuous professional development. Jo also runs a breakfast networking group for lawyers, both clients and potential clients. Both activities have proved very effective in raising the profile of Jo and the service she and her team provide.
As the business has grown Jo has recruited three people to work in the business and help maintain the fast pace. She is looking for another one to join the team.
Before joining X-Press, Jo worked in the finance industry for 17 years, 12 of them in financial product development in the City of London. She had reached a point where she was keen to move on to do something different and although she had always wanted her own business Jo hesitated about moving out of a regular and well-paid job into the initial uncertainty of being self-employed.
When a good friend began to enthuse about the new X-Press Legal franchise she and her husband were investing in, Jo was keen to find out more about the business and the franchisor’s unstinting support she had heard about.
Jo comments: “I felt that this white-collar business was in line with my career to date and I believed it would really suit me. As I looked into franchising, I realised it was a great way to be my own boss, but with less risk. The idea of following a tried and tested business model was very appealing, as was having a support network through the franchisor.”
She considered some other franchises but none met all her criteria except X-Press. She worked out her finances, had meetings and telephone discussions with X-Press Legal asking “a multitude of questions” which Jo says X-Press were very willing to answer. She also spoke to many of the franchisees to learn about their experiences. Re-assured by all she had heard and, confident that she was doing the right thing, Jo produced a detailed business plan before resigning from her job as a product manager with a City firm and began to plan her new future.
Jo says: “I really liked Lynne and Dave, the franchisors, and felt confident that we would work well together. I also liked the idea of an established brand and belonging to an established organisation with the benefits of its support network.”
The skills and experience Jo had gained in previous roles were relevant in running the franchise, since meticulous attention to detail, total accuracy and the ability to get on well with people are all essential requirements in the search industry, where X-Press has gained a reputation of being a well respected and reliable supplier.
As well as the attraction of being her own boss, the ability to manage her own working days ensures Jo can make time for activities outside work. She commented: “I have a lot of interests and even though I have always worked hard, I also believe it’s important to take time out to relax and enjoy myself. I wanted time to sing, which I love. I have been a singer in a rock band for the last 15 years, playing at gigs in pubs and at functions. Routinely, every day I walk my dogs, I cycle and go to the gym. I also like to ski and surf when I have the opportunity.”
Franchisor Dave Lister commented: “Jo is incredibly hard working and determined. She is also very energetic and enthusiastic, with a dynamic approach to business that benefits her franchise and contributes to the network as a whole. She truly deserves this award.”