Chris & Sara Greenfield - Norwich
Sara and Chris Greenfield brought their thebestof franchise nearly seven years ago. While Norwich is a city it is an ideal thebestof territory with a wide range of independent, small and medium businesses, during their time with thebestof they have become major 'players' on the Norwich scene. It is thought by many that, through their effective networking and by providing great offers for the people of Norwich, they now the go to people in Norwich.
"I love the fact that we run our business how we want but have the support and all the technical expertise of HQ. We can achieve things in this way that we could never achieve on our own.
"We looked for a franchise because statistically franchises have more chance of success (and I don't have the imagination to come up with my own business idea). I like the fact that the product is always being developed so that we don't become stagnant - it keeps us on our toes but this is a good thing. I used to be a commercial property lawyer but I feel as if I am using my brain just as much now as I did in law - just in a different way.
"I came into the business knowing nothing about marketing but I have had amazing training from HQ. On the sales side, I don't think anyone would have classed me as a sales person but I have been on some of the training, read sales and marketing books and learned so much.
"We do work longer hours than we expected and still haven't quite got the balance right between separating home from business - but a lot of the time it doesn't feel like work. It's good working as partners - we bounce ideas off each other all the time. We know each other's strengths and weaknesses so together we achieve more than we would on our own. Things don't go right all the time and there are times when we have been low, but then we go to a meeting or something happens that helps us to pick ourselves back up and the energy just sparks off us.
"I think most people buy from us because of our enthusiasm about the business and about helping them. We love seeing if there are ways we can help our clients - and it's even better when we get great feedback.
"We came to Norwich knowing no one in Norfolk. It was really hard work at the beginning, but then people started to email us asking if they could become clients. It's a bit like getting a huge ball rolling - slow to start off with but it gathers speed as it goes.
"I came from a background where I was in the office from 7am until 8pm or 9pm and at weekends. I love the fact now that if I have time between meetings I can sit at a café and read the paper or wander around the shops if I feel like it. I've never had that freedom before and love it. I might work late into the evening to catch up but it's my choice. I can also be there to do the school run. My son behaves better in the mornings because I am not so stressed.
"Being able to get on with people and build rapport is the most important thing in this business - that and using your time effectively!"