Achieving success in more ways than one.
“I’d like to think that I would have been financially successful whether I’d joined the franchise or not. But, and it’s a big but, over the last two decades the franchise has given me something that I value even more; flexibility and quality time with my family.”
Nigel Rosehill has been a Franchise Partner with Expense Reduction Analysts UK (ERA UK) since day one, way back in 1997. In his 20 years with the franchise, he’s helped to develop and shape the model into the successful system it is today. But more than that, he’s made life-long friendships, helped hundreds of fellow business owners and built a profitable company that’s given him a lifestyle which he and his family cherish.
Nigel was one of the first to join ERA UK, aged 38, after a 20-year career in international banking ended in redundancy. Rather than dive straight back into the corporate banking world, he took the opportunity to assess his situation and found ERA UK, as on reflection he wasn’t happy with his previous career.
“I took stock of my situation and lifestyle in general. Working in London, I spent three hours commuting on top of long, stressful days. I had two young children at the time and wasn’t seeing much of them – I always tried to make time but they’d be in bed when I got home and I’d leave for work before they were awake. I realised I could either get straight back on the treadmill or, I could do something totally different.”
‘Something totally different’ turned out to be ERA UK. But 20 years ago, Nigel didn’t have a network of successful Franchise Partners to talk to, learn from and emulate: so, what was it that drew him to the opportunity?
“One thing is for sure, ERA UK have now the best level of resource they’ve ever had and the support is structured to help Franchise Partners achieve their aspirations, whatever their degree of longevity or development in the business.”
“I worked with the franchise team when I was at Lloyds Bank so I knew that franchising was the ideal way to transition from the corporate world into doing something for myself. I saw it as an opportunity to develop a business in a way that I wanted but with a support network, rather than jumping into the complete unknown. Another big attraction was being a pioneer of the brand in the UK – it was exciting to help shape the model. We had the reassurance of knowing the business had been successful in Australia so, even though it was new to the UK, it wasn’t unproven. I’m proud that I was one of the first! When you boil it all down, what made me choose ERA UK was a total belief in the concept and the fact that I felt the proposition was compelling. I believed in it and its value – I did then and I still do now.”
Today, ERA UK 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, the ERA UK network has enjoyed impressive sales increases over the past five years.
True to his original desire to help pave the way for other Franchise Partners, Nigel has been involved in training courses for new Franchise Partners on and off for more than ten years. He’s also been a mentor for new members of the network, sharing his knowledge and expertise with those just starting their journey.
“People like myself who are category experts often get involved with training courses for new recruits. I’ve spent time with the New Associate Academy – a group for Franchise Partners in their first two years – and I ran some sessions on telecoms which is my expert area, and another session on my last 20 years sharing experience and best practice. I really like doing something like that, it’s very rewarding because I remember what it was like to be just starting out.”
ERA UK’s award-winning programme of training and support has been refined for 20 years and is designed to equip you with all the knowledge and confidence you need to successfully launch and run your business.
“Over the years, I’ve actually taken very little direct support from Head Office – not because it isn’t there, it’s there in buckets! But because I genuinely engage with my peers. I doubt there’s a question that’s been asked that someone couldn’t answer; from direct cost saving to general operations. There are over 130 of us and we support each other freely. One thing is for sure, ERA UK have now the best level of resource they’ve ever had and the support is structured to help Franchise Partners achieve their aspirations, whatever their degree of longevity or development in the business.”
ERA UK Franchise Partners have the flexibility to work from home but in 2010, Nigel decided that he wanted to grow his business by taking on staff to free up his time for business development in his area of expertise: “I’ve had my office for about seven years and have two members of staff. I reached what, for me, was a bit of a glass ceiling as a sole practitioner and felt that if I wanted to move forwards I was going to need extra resource. Taking on staff propelled my business into a new league; I’ve no regrets and there’s no going back! Crucially, my business functions when I’m not there now and on a personal level, I enjoy the work/life separation that the office gives me.”
“Going forwards, I’ll need a greater level of support as I’m at a phase where I’m planning for retirement, although not quite yet! I want a period of growth first and then to bring in a successor so that I can ultimately take a step back. My strategy and business planning now is about what I need to do to turn my business into a saleable asset. Head Office understand that’s what they need to work with people on, as much as helping new starters. In fact, it’s begun already as I had an in-depth call with Paul Lewis, Operations Director, only recently. It’s very much a case of you tell them what you need and they will strive to work with you to make it happen.”
Happily married with four children and a successful business; Nigel has a lot to be proud of. As you’d probably guess, he enjoys spending his free time with his family – although he does confess to being a keen poker player and an avid Tottenham fan too!
When asked about his proudest business achievement to date, Nigel says it’s a hard question to answer:
“There are lots of proud moments – virtually every week – which is why I still do it! Engaging with clients, saving them money and making them happy makes me proud. When a client says thank you as well as pays the bill – it makes me proud. When a client gives me a referral, it makes me very proud. I expect to deliver financial benefits to my clients but I’m interested in delivering more and going above and beyond – that’s what I really enjoy and get satisfaction from.”
“There are lots of proud moments – virtually every week – which is why I still do it! Engaging with clients, saving them money and making them happy makes me proud.”
As one who has been there since it all started, Nigel has some words of advice for anyone considering following in his footsteps:
“Do your homework – talk to as many people as you can within the franchise and ask yourself the hard question: what have I got to offer the business? ERA UK is a relationship business so you need to have good people skills and communication skills.
It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be a Project Specialist or a Client Relationship Manager, we’re a big, collaborative network so you’ve got to be an active part of it to get the most out. I believe retirement/exit planning should be on the agenda from day one and above all, make sure you have the support of your family. My wife and I have been married for 35 years and she’s been with me through it all, the ups and downs. Without her love and support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
ERA UK is a relationship business so you need to have good people skills and communication skills. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to be a Project Specialist or a Client Relationship Manager, we’re a big, collaborative network so you’ve got to be an active part of it to get the most out.