Franchising – a recipe for long-term success
When Grant Wilson was made redundant from his accountancy job with the Scottish Co-op in the recession of the early 1990s, the future looked uncertain.
However Grant decided that being his own boss was the way forward, helping him meet his family commitments, as a single parent. And, as he wryly observes: “It’s impossible to give yourself the sack.” Franchising was less well known in the UK at the time, but some research showed that it could deliver the benefits he was looking for, and offer a lower-risk route to becoming a business owner.
“Driver Hire fitted my objectives well,” says Grant. “It was clearly a dynamic and successful business – established for a decade already and franchising since 1987. Recruitment looked interesting and there were plenty of other successful franchisees in the network already. That meant I could talk to current franchisees before making my decision. And for me personally, a management franchise made sense. I wanted to be running a business rather than just providing services myself, as you do in some franchises.”
Over 25 years on, Grant’s business – Driver Hire Aberdeen – is consistently one of the network’s most successful offices. Recent years have seen annual turnover of well over £3m, and the benefits for Grant’s lifestyle, family and personal wellbeing are beyond anything he would ever have dreamed of at the Co-op.
“It didn’t feel like it at the time, but losing my job was actually a blessing,” Grant says. “It forced me to look at a wider range of career alternatives and in truth, probably gave me the opportunity and confidence to truly fulfil my potential in business.”
Grant is a strong advocate for franchising and identifies the sense of community in a thriving franchise as one of its major benefits. “There is always someone else going through what you are going through, and we all learn from each other. I can share my experience of 25+ years with newer franchisees, but the great thing is, I am still learning too.”
“I imagine that sadly, there are many people at the moment facing similar challenges to what I was dealing with back in the 90s,” says Grant. “Hopefully my story shows that if you take the long view, believe in yourself and find the right opportunity for you, what is happening now might just be the start of a brilliant future.”