Last Updated: 13-January-2021
Recognition Express is a true family business
Name: Ciorsdan Price
Location: Ayr, West Scotland
Franchise: Recognition Express South West Scotland
Year you started with the franchise: 2003
Why did you go down the franchise route? And why did you choose a Recogntion Express franchise?
My husband and I bought the franchise from my parents who had been running it from 1981. I had been working for them part-time so was already familiar with everything whereas it was completely new territory for Stephen. Stephen was happy to come on board however as he recognised Recognition Express as a well-established brand which offered great back-up and included a strong initial training programme.
Working for my parents I could see the potential in the business, the growth in company and corporate branding. It seemed like a good idea and Stephen was disillusioned with his job, so when my parents decided to sell, we made them an offer to buy the business.
What did you do before taking up your Recognition Express franchise? I worked part-time already for Recognition Express West Scotland whilst Stephen worked in the financial services industry and latterly the golf holiday market.
How did you raise the finance? Borrowed the money.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing? I was already au fait with the business having managed the accounts, the admin and the day to day running of the company but as Stephen was completely new to the territory we both undertook 1 week of training with head office which actually proved quite insightful for both of us. The training was substantial and enough to make Stephen feel confident about starting his new career.
What is a typical day for you as a franchisee? No day is ever the same. Stephen and I have clearly defined roles and we’re each responsible for different aspects of the business. I look after artwork, finance and invoices, admin and office duties and Stephen focuses on sales, and growing turnover and profitability.
What challenges have you faced? There is not enough time in the day! There is so much to be done and I often find I’ve ran out of time. This doesn’t particularly faze me though as I’m extremely methodical and organised so I know it will get done.
Has becoming a franchisee changed your life, if so how? Everything is better now. Both Stephen and I love going to work and working together. It is extremely demanding and requires a lot of juggling but the result of this is an amazing quality of life.
What marketing/promotional tools do you use to grow your franchise? Although we do use email campaigns and post literature out, a lot of our business is acquired through word of mouth and from building good strong relationships with our customers.
What differentiates your franchise from the competition? The most important lesion we’ve learnt is the importance of client enquiries being followed up quickly and efficiently. Speed and professionalism are paramount to our success.
How does the franchisor support you? We rarely need to speak to the franchisor but it’s great to know that if we need him, he’s always there for us. He’s extremely fair and supportive of all the franchisees and is someone we know we could go to for help – should we need it.
What does your brand mean to you? We’ve worked extremely hard to build our brand together in the past thirteen years. When our customers hear Recognition Express West Scotland, they also hear Ciorsdan and Stephen so it’s our personal reputation on the line as well as the business, which is why we go above and beyond to run it successfully and deliver a quality, professional service.
What do you think your brand means to your customers? We receive positive testimonials from our customers each week which is great as they all commend our business for its great service, efficiency, professionalism and the friendly people that work there!
How has your business developed – what makes your customers keep coming back? When we initially took over the business from my parents, they had only just touched on offering promotional products. This is something that Stephen and I developed over the years and as a result our turnover has almost tripled.
In your opinion, what makes a successful franchisee? You need to always put your customer first. If you’re a husband and wife team it’s crucial that your responsibilities do not overlap. There’s no point in having two great office administrators and nobody on the sales desk! Complimenting each other is the key to succeeding.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise? Be prepared to work hard. People might assume owning a franchise is easy, but it is not. You are the boss, so you have to put in the hours. Stephen and I only allow ourselves 1 week off for the whole year, except for closing down for Christmas. We must be disciplined with this ensure we can run our business successfully. But we love our job so if that’s the case this won’t be an issue. Hard work will pay off you just have to be patient.
What are your plans for the future? To keep being successful and to keep enjoying it.
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