How did you first hear about NLG? What was it that appealed to you about them?
The NLG franchise was on a business website called Daltons which I came by in late December 2014. Initially it was the name that appealed to me as it’s a double negative which is usually a marketing faux pas. I liked the fact that it was counter intuitive so thought the company would be original and open to input from a range of different people and ideas. I’ve also done property development on a small scale since 2002, so have experience and knowledge of how the sector works.
Have you owned your own business before?
Yes. I’ve had a bakery and two retail shops in the early 90s. More recently, over the last 15 years, I’ve worked as a self employed business consultant and project manager. I’ve been involved in a range of things from sourcing products for TV shopping channels to helping to set up a local branch of Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food. In the last four years I’ve worked on the launch and promotion of luxury Alpaca and Mohair coats and jackets from Steiff Schulte in Germany, under the Teddy Bear Coats brand.
Obviously taking the plunge into self employment is a big risk, what made you do it?
This actually didn’t pose a huge risk for me, having been self employed for a long time and working from my own office at home since 1999. Most of my work has been customer facing and service orientated so I have a wide ranging skill set which is transferable across different industries. You need to be self motivated and self reliant with an attention to detail. It’s not just being able to do the job; you need to be able to talk to people when you’re out selling yourself and your business. Then there’s the back office function, carrying out administrative duties and accounts. I guess you could say I’m a Jill of all trades!
What have been the biggest lifestyle changes you have noticed since becoming a franchisee?
Having been self employed for such a long time, the changes to my lifestyle haven’t been wholesale. My working week has changed as I will be working at weekends but it is important to be flexible when you work for yourself, especially in the initial stages. I intend to develop the business to the point where I can employ people to work for me so that I can concentrate on expanding my operation. I prefer to be an entrepreneur rather than simply ‘self employed’. There are no plans though to take over the world (yet!), the Yorkshire region is plenty to keep me busy for now!
Is there any particular way you are going about things or is it just a case of hard work and perseverance?
It’s a mix of both really. The key thing is local marketing; it’s all about networking and this can turn on the smallest thing. A phone call, chance meeting, someone leaving and moving to a new company can all generate a lead with the power to transform your business. Businesses like to deal with local suppliers who they feel know their area so this should always be considered a USP of ours. It’s a relationship building exercise and that’s where the perseverance comes in. It is important to not take a knock back as a rejection as you never know where work will come from again in the future. In my own experience, work can come from the most unlikely source. You never know the person’s situation that you are talking to; while you may think they don’t want to know about you, they may just be having a bad day. I don’t take it personally, it’s business not a popularity contest after all!
This month we would like to introduce you to Debbie Chapman who works with Lisa and Lorraine in Quality Control & Training. We are not sure how much of an introduction Debbie needs, given that she has been around as long as we have!
Debbie was already working with Nick Lyons at the time No Letting Go was formed, so we have to cast our minds back quite a distance for life before the partnership. However, there was certainly life before No Letting Go and Debbie says a highlight was the seven years which she worked at the Brands Hatch Racing Circuit.
We’re used to seeing Debbie hard at work every day in the office so she could be excused for enjoying a bit of slow paced relaxation in her own time. As it is, this is very much not the case and instead, Debbie enjoys motorbiking, and gardening as well as working on and holidaying at the Spanish villa which was built five years ago and she has been heavily involved in designing.
We asked Debbie if she won the lottery, what is the first thing she would buy? It came as little surprise that her first choice wasn’t your typical response as she would begin by investing in a new cement mixer for the villa!
Debbie has given blood a remarkable 53 times and also had the glamorous task of managing the winners’ podium at Brands Hatch, which included organising the champagne and trophies!
Photo source: smithsracing.co.uk
We’re delighted to welcome Dave Keogh who joined No Letting Go in January; one of three new franchisees in the North-west in recent months. Dave returned to the UK two years ago having run a successful publishing business in the property sector based for 15 years in California and Florida for the last five. Encouraged to return by his three daughters, who all live in Manchester Dave was initially hoping to secure a business management role.
“I was applying for positions and it was while I was in the Job Centre that I came across a leaflet about Franchise Works, an organisation that helps people raise finance to start a franchise business. I went along to some of the seminars and looked at the kinds of opportunities that were available. No Letting Go was in my top three, given my connections and interest in property and once I learned more about the brand and saw the potential for business in the north-west it was a no-brainer. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m not afraid of business having come from a business background and I see huge potential for NLG’s services in the Stockport area. Being back amongst my daughters and the prospect of building this business – I couldn’t be more excited about life right now.”