Longest-Established Auditel Franchisee Recalls...
Having joined in 1995, David Lowe is the longest-established member of the Auditel cost and purchase management franchise. In 2005, he reached the landmark achievement of invoicing his one-millionth pound. Ten years earlier, it was a very different picture. Made redundant after twenty years in general management, David was looking for an alternative to the corporate world.
“I didn’t want to go back into employment, but I didn’t think I would be a natural entrepreneur. Franchising seemed the obvious route for setting up my own business. It would give me the comfort of working with a proven business system supported by the franchisor.
“There were less franchises to explore than there are today. Auditel immediately stood out. It offered the opportunity to work from home and matched my abilities, personality and work ethic. With my General Manager’s hat on, I could also see a clear need for the service. This hasn’t really changed over the years. FDs and MDs are as busy as ever, but the complexity and pace of innovation in business, mean there’s always going to be a need for specialists like Auditel to manage and make sense of their expenditure.”
The biggest challenge David faced when starting his Auditel business was ‘selling’ his services. Once he got the hang of it though, there was no stopping him. “I’ve worked with companies across a broad cross section, including manufacturing, insurance, leisure, motor retail, business services, care homes and even a football club. I signed my largest client (Pizza Express) in my first year of operation and have saved them over £4 million during the 14 years of working with them. Savings on this scale for one client are unusual. But where large national organisations lack the resources to manage their costs effectively, it’s easy to see why the demand for our services is so strong.”
David’s knowledge and experience is incredibly valuable and he’s always very generous in sharing it with his colleagues. In 2009, he was given a Special Recognition Award for his long service but even now, he is the first to admit he is still learning.
He says: “The network provides an enormous amount of support in terms of what we do, how we do it and technical developments. This is something you can’t replicate if you work entirely by yourself. Our ‘knowledge bank’ is also a valuable asset in terms of attracting clients. It means they have access to a personal consultant and also the combined wisdom of over 190 other practicing consultants with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise.”
Asked where he sees his lifestyle and business in five years time, David says, “Ideally I’ll be semi-retired. I can help to train, support and mentor one of my colleagues to look after my clients. This will leave me free for all the things I’ve always wanted to do but have never had the time – for example, a few more extravagant holidays with my wife Pauline. Of course I probably won’t actually achieve, this because I get such a kick out of my Auditel work!”