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Franchisee Case Studies

Being my Own Boss

Colin Jakes was initially introduced to Plan-it Cards by his brother Graham, who was an existing Plan-it Cards franchisee at the time. He was delighted when the Plan-it Cards Brighton territory became available to purchase.


“I had been considering a career change for some time and was familiar with Graham’s franchise and the success he was making (of it). I knew I wanted to run my own business but it was important to me that my choice of business allowed me to fit it around my family commitments”


“I knew the Plan-it Cards range of greetings cards from helping Graham occasionally with his business in the Croydon territory, when the Brighton franchise became available, I met up with the Plan-it Cards team for interviews. I had a pretty good idea from Graham how it worked but Plan-it Cards filled in all the gaps of exactly how the franchise worked. It was one of the most important decisions of my life so I did my research about other greeting card franchises available, but it was the Plan-it Cards range of product and the potential growth within the territory that made the choice easier to make.”


Colin, outlines the daily tasks of running his business: “I do all of the merchandising. It’s important that I interact with my customers, build relationships and get to know them and their needs. It’s the most important aspect of what I do. I visit the shops and organise stock to a pre-planned display making sure the product is all up-to-date with new designs. I also manage the shop’s seasonal requirements like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas, as well as some of the minor promotional events like Thank You Teacher. This allows me to give the product in each store a distinctive feel for the time of year.”


Colin also has part-time help to manage the essential back office administration that is involved in any lively business – managing the accounts, stock planning and reordering. This allows him the time to focus ‘out in the field’ and develop new business.


A typical day for Colin can involve making up to 6-8 calls a day – depending on the size of the displays and which part of his territory he is in – to deliver and merchandise greetings cards, gift wrap and gift bags. Because greetings cards are a convenience product the type of stores visited vary from independent shops, newsagents, farm shops and supermarkets.


He says: “I now have a core base of around 100 shops double the number from when I bought the franchise. Having an initial number of shops certainly helped provide income from day one. From the start I have been opening new shops every month as well as developing and building up relationships with my existing customers to make sure their displays meet the demands of their customers. I make sure that all my shops are merchandised on a monthly basis and as my business has grown it is important that I am organised, particularly with regards to effective route planning and having the right designs available at the right time to service the shops.


I really enjoy what I do. Being my own boss is something that I’ve always wanted. It is hard work but I am in charge. There is something satisfying in knowing that I am in control of my own time. And the good thing moving forward is that there is a still a great deal of growth potential in my area.”


Colin Jakes, Plan-it Cards Brighton Area Franchisee


 

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