Russell Brown has received the Brand Builder 2015 award in his franchisor’s latest annual franchisee awards.
He joined X-Press Legal Services 10 years ago and has since received several accolades to mark his business’s growth and development in that time. Previous awards include: Business Development Award in 2006, the Franchisee of the Year in 2009, and citations in 2013 and 2014 for his outstanding business success and services to the network that qualify him to be a member of the X-Cellence Club, representing all the most successful franchisees.
Announcing the award, X-Press Legal Services’ director, Dave Lister, said: “Russell is very dedicated and hard-working and is also an enthusiastic marketer. In short, he is a great ambassador for the brand. His success is reflected in his turnover which is already 25 percent up on the previous year.”
Russell joined X-Press after many years of a jet-setting lifestyle as an export sales manager, spending half his time abroad. He had always wanted to have his own business and the ambition to be his own boss became stronger as time went on.
He comments: “I’m not afraid of hard work but I didn’t want to make profits for someone else anymore. I wanted to control my own destiny and reap the reward of my own efforts. I also craved a more normal life based in the UK so I could spend quality time with my family.”
He thought about various things he could do but felt that franchising offered a real opportunity, with many advantages and benefits. He researched the sector very carefully, studying newspaper and magazine articles and he went to franchise exhibitions with a list of criteria for his ideal franchise and another of his own skills and attributes.
He considered the impact of a franchise on his family, especially the possibility of working from a home office. Instead he chose to set up in business premises, so that work and home could be kept separate.
He researched all the initial and ongoing financial implications, as well as the potential long-term rewards, consulting his partner Elizabeth before making any further investigations or commitments.
“I wanted to move into a business to business market that could be built up,” Russell explained. “I was looking for a niche product or service and eventually I found X-Press which was the only franchise that ticked all my boxes. I had several meetings with them and they gave straightforward answers to my many questions.
“I felt I had found a real opportunity to make something special and I’ve discovered that my confidence in the X-Press Legal Services’ team was well founded. From initial interview to finishing the training, it was a completely pleasurable experience.”
When Russell set up his franchise in February 2006 his previous sales experience was invaluable in marketing the service to solicitors. He built up a solid client base and has steadily expanded ever since, overcoming difficulties on the way.
He says: “I am very pleased with progress to date. We have acquired new areas and we grew well until the big crash six years ago but we weathered the storms, consolidated the business, and came back stronger than ever.
“Today we have more clients and I can see more opportunities to grow. We invest heavily in local marketing, especially in the very popular CPD events we host in unusual locations to make the sessions fun and enjoyable as well as important and serious learning experiences. We make sure that solicitors know who we are, about the wide range of services we can provide and the many ways we can help them.”
Russell is looking forward to the future and says: “I am continuing to develop the business with a plan that includes bigger premises, a big investment in new IT, and recruiting more staff to add to the existing experienced and dedicated team.
“I am creating a better life for my family, both financially and emotionally: having spent many years away from home, it’s fantastic to be able to enjoy work and family life. I am very happy in my work and really value the support I get from my franchisors. I have no regrets about changing direction when I did.”