Steve Rhodes

I’m pleased and proud of what I’ve built.

“When I came across the ERA opportunity, I immediately felt that it was something I could see myself doing. The relationship selling side of it was something that I felt very comfortable with and understood the nature of. I was pleasantly surprised to find the sales and analytical skills picked up from my background in investment banking would actually serve me very well. It just felt like the right fit for me.”

A growing pension pot, an enviable work/ life balance and a business that he loves. Steve Rhodes has been running his highly successful Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise since 1999… and his plans for the future include more of the same!

A highly respected member of the network, Steve has seen his business grow from strength-to-strength. In 2015, he won the ‘Franchise Partner of the Year’ award at ERA’s annual conference as a testament to his ongoing success, his contribution to the network and supporting his fellow franchise partners.

Prior to owning his franchise, Steve’s impressive career spanned all aspects of financial services. Including working in a clearing bank to 13 years as a stockbroker in the UK and Asia. When disaster struck and the markets crashed, Steve found himself facing redundancy and the daunting prospect of a career change. Luckily, a chance conversation with a close friend put him on the path to franchising and, his future success.

“I had no idea what I was going to do with myself after I was made redundant. I just knew that employment didn’t seem attractive at that time. I wanted more control and I initially thought about self-employment. The problem was, having been a broker, I didn’t have many skills that were transferable. Or so I thought.

A friend suggested that I went along to one of the big franchise shows to get some ideas. I already knew before I got there that I wasn’t going to be well suited to anything man-in-a-van style and I definitely didn’t want to go into retail.”

ERA is the UK and Ireland’s leading procurement franchise. Our franchisees are expertly trained to enable organisations to save money and boost business performance through effective procurement, improved supplier management and smarter spending habits. Boasting the highest consulting revenue of any UK procurement franchise, our franchise partners have enjoyed an impressive increase in sales over the past few years.

ERA’s award-winning programme of training and support is designed to equip you with all the knowledge and confidence you need to successfully launch and run your business, whatever your skills or background. New franchise partners undertake a tailored 5-week course consisting of classroom and hands-on learning at the ERA Academy.

After meeting the team at the franchise show, Steve signed up and went on to train just a couple of months later!

“One of the guys I was on the training course with all those years ago is still in the network today. We have fun reminiscing about how things were back then. The training available and the support just gets better and better year in, year out. The initiatives we have now really do move us forward. I’ve taken advantage of the support over the years, most notably the business review meetings which have been vital for growth. There’s a real commitment to improve the quality of what we’re doing and I think that is reflected in the increasing success of the whole network.”

When you join ERA, you join a network of consultants, each an expert in their own field. Access to this combined knowledge ensures that your business isn’t confined to one or two cost centres or even your own area of specialism. Our franchise partners work together to maximise opportunities for collaboration, expansion and guidance.

“I get on very well with the other people in the network and I’m able to draw on the specialist skills and expertise of other ERA consultants. This isn’t a business by myself, the network is key to individual and collective success.”

With 17 years of success under his belt, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he might be considering selling his business. But Steve has other ideas!

“My plans for the future are to keep doing what I’m doing, I certainly don’t want to do anything different. I run my business with another consultant, Paul Pearse. I also used to work with John Kerrigan but he’s happily retired now! I expect to be around for a good few years yet, but the business is such that it allows me to slow down a bit should I want to.

There’s money in the business which is a great situation to be in and I continue to earn well. But as with any business it is important to avoid becoming complacent. I don’t want to employ people because I don’t want to add stress in that way, but I’m always open to new opportunities so I’ll never say no taking on more business! I am now in that enviable position whereby I can choose whether or not to engage a client, although I don’t say “no” too often!”

When he’s not busy working, Steve takes advantage of his now enviable work/life balance and enjoys holidaying with his wife and son. This, along with having time for golf (and watching West Ham!) are just as important as the financial rewards.

“The training, the tools and the support have improved immeasurably since I joined ERA all those years ago. ERA have invested millions into the system.”

Like many people, despite a successful career, Steve’s pension provision had always been a ‘tomorrow’ consideration. Now, thanks to his successful franchise business this is changing.

“The opportunity is there for people who have the personal skills and the drive, to build a hugely successful business. It’s worked well for me for a long time and I’m pleased and proud of what I’ve built.”