Ten years after joining the Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise family, Andrew Brackenbury has just renewed his franchise agreement, cementing his commitment for another ten years to the brand.
“ERA has allowed me to plan my future from a position of strength. My business has enabled me to put my children through school and build a property portfolio that’s going to provide for my wife and I when we retire and for the children when they finish their education. All of that whilst enjoying what I do – you can’t ask for much more really!”
After qualifying as a Certified Accountant, Andrew went on to enjoy a successful career as an Account Director for a large IT services firm. But, after eight years, and with two young children, the travel and time away from home meant he needed a change. Andrew wanted more: more time with his family, more opportunities to develop his own skills and more financial security for the long-term.
“After eight years, I reached a point where I needed a change, but didn’t want my bosses job as that would have meant being London based. But, and it’s a big but, I also knew that I wanted to keep my independence. As a consultant, I’d had the luxury of acting like my own boss even though I was employed. When it came to moving on, I wanted the same independence. I knew I wouldn’t find that in the employed world so I looked at buying a business but it seemed expensive and fraught with risks. In the end, I discovered the franchising model and went to the National Franchise Exhibition in November of 2005 for some inspiration.
Looking back to the start of his journey, Andrew fondly remembers his first steps into the world of franchising and his very first encounter with ERA.
“I knew nothing about franchising but I had a pre-conceived idea that I’d look at a lawn-care or property franchise but those all seemed to need staff to make them work. I’d never had to do line management and I certainly didn’t want to get into it now! I met some of the team from ERA at the show and straight away, I could see clearly that their methodology and structure worked. Therefore, it was just a case of whether I could make it work for me. My skillset was quite portable and I could see that it would fit very well with ERA. I did plenty of due diligence which just confirmed what I already suspected… and the rest is history!”
ERA are world leaders in cost management and procurement consultancy. Franchise Partners are trained to offer strategic advice and practical methods which optimise supplier relationships and generate cash. Boasting the highest consulting revenue of any UK procurement franchise, ERA Franchise Partners have enjoyed an impressive increase in sales over the past five years.
Andrew, now 50, launched his ERA business in September 2006. With a solid ten years under his belt, as the date of his renewal approached, Andrew says the decision to renew was a very easy one to make.
“It was a no-brainer really. When you’ve got a successful business, why wouldn’t you? Because of the way we work, once a project is implemented you’ve generally got two years’ revenue coming in – that allows for serious future planning and development. For me, the ten years was never a cut-off point, more of a springboard!”
“On top of that, I enjoy being part of such a cohesive network. The support from ERA head office is great; I think the work they put into the Franchise Partner community is commendable. Over the years, I’ve had really good support, coaching and mentoring. I’ve got friends who have businesses with other franchised brands and our support is leaps ahead from what they tell me!”
For ERA, ‘enjoy the journey’ is a motto that has formed an essential part of the company’s culture. As well as striving to deliver the very best in training, product innovation and support, the brand places as much value on its Franchise Partners happiness, enjoyment and a feeling of belonging to something special as it does their financial success.
True to form, to celebrate his 10-year anniversary, ERA’s UK Managing Director, Rob Allison, and Franchise Support Manager, Stewart Stonehouse, treated Andrew to a day out on the Waitrose Estate. The trio spent the day fly-fishing and enjoying some top-notch local cuisine!
“It was a great day! And to be honest it was nice that they’d remembered I like fly-fishing. I think Rob and I talked about it once or twice and he’d obviously taken the time to make a note of it. Little things like that make all the difference, don’t they?”
Andrew is one of over 140 ERA Franchise Partners whose hard work and dedication has resulted in a flexible, profitable business that not only fulfils his personal ambitions but lays the foundations for a secure financial future for his entire family.
“What I like most about my business is that it’s entirely flexible and I’ve been able to retain my independence. My business has grown every year for the last ten years. Yes, it takes hard work but if you put the effort in and follow the system, you can make a success of it.”
“My family’s future is secure for the next ten years and beyond. My investment properties generate a good income stream so my plan is to keep running the business to fund a comfortable lifestyle and use the extra profits to expand my portfolio.”