Keeping up with the times!
Karen Underwood received X-Press Legal Services’ Social Media Award in 2014 in recognition of her dynamic social media campaign to drive her business forward.
She agrees with people who believe you must never stand still in business if you want to be successful. She comments: “With social media, the emphasis is on building relationships and sharing information. I’m promoting the X-Press brand and also our ‘Law Plain and Simple’ free legal online service as examples of reliable, quality information from ‘the people who know’.”
“I tweet a great deal – when there is something worth saying! - and put up Facebook posts and send emails on a wide range of topics, both directly relevant to my business and the property sector generally, as well as other items of interest, including legal matters, current affairs, women in business and business awards.
“The impact of social media on my business has been phenomenal and greatly increased awareness of X-Press locally. Using social media alongside conventional marketing methods has made a huge difference to us.”
Two years ago Karen received X-Press’s Brand Builder award in recognition of her dedication and hard work. Her franchise continues to grow with the recent move to larger offices and the addition of new staff.
“I am moving on with confidence to the next stage of our development, so I can be less hands on and able to focus on working ‘on’ the business and not ‘in’ it,” Karen said.
Karen has been a franchisee with X-Press for eight years. Previously, she had been managing director of her family’s funeral director business until it was sold when her dad retired.
She said: “I didn’t know what to do next, except I was sure I wanted to be my own boss. I knew nothing about franchising until I read an inspirational article about a successful lady franchisee. I liked the concept of franchising and all its benefits and advantages over starting a business entirely on your own. I recognised the great value of being your own boss but with training and great ongoing support from the franchisor.
“An additional attraction was that X-Press can be run from home, keeping initial start-up costs to a minimum and offering flexibility to accommodate family commitments. This was a big consideration at the time because I had two little boys.
“I wanted to find out more from the franchisors and I knew as soon as I met Lynne and Dave Lister that we would get along well. It felt like being back in my old family firm and it has proved to be a very successful relationship.”
Karen was keen to go ahead, encouraged by her husband and family. She says: “It’s vital to have support from your spouse or partner, your children and extended family because, without their understanding, life can become difficult at times.
“My husband and family have always been ready to help and understand that as a working mum I have to juggle on occasions. They are used to me dashing off at odd times to do paperwork in peace.
“I appreciate being able to choose when I work in the office, thanks to reliable staff. Sometimes I work extremely unusual and anti-social hours so that I can take my sons to pre and after school sports activities. Being a franchisee allows me to balance the two important priorities of being a business woman and a mum.”
Karen says she uses every opportunity to broadcast messages through social media. “It’s great,” she enthuses. “It’s so quick and easy to tell masses of people something important all at the same time. It has really helped my business to grow and I’m also pleased to say that winning the Social Media Award has greatly impressed my teenage sons who found it hard to believe that their Mum could be so competent!”
X-Press Legal Services directors, Lynne and Dave Lister, commented: “Karen approaches everything she does with tremendous energy, so it was no surprise that she has been so successful with her social media campaigns. She has worked very hard to build her business since joining X-Press and deserves her success.
“She also contributes a great deal to the network as a whole and is always willing to share new ideas and best practice with other franchisees.”