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Cardiff & Swansea

Franchisee Case Studies

Transferable skills create franchisee success

Simon Hanna had just been made redundant, but he and his wife Caroline knew they wanted to continue to work where they lived in North Yorkshire.

‘’Caroline and I have been in greetings cards for over 30 years at various managerial levels, including owning our retail business. For the last five years I have been heavily involved in franchising, and have recently attained my qfp Franchising qualification in the process.‘’ explained Simon.

‘’Though there is never an easy time to be made redundant, we knew that our next step would be to do something together. We had no additional responsibilities to deal with as our two grown up kids, Becky and James, have now left home. Looking around at various opportunities, I heard through my business contacts about a local opportunity at Plan-it Cards and met them at one of the industry trade shows.

We particularly liked the product so we investigated further. I initially had a lot of questions through my qfp franchise training, even though Plan-it Cards was already a well-established brand. Having conducted a real in-depth interview, I was pleased with how their business system held together. In addition, I also took the opportunity to speak to a number of existing franchisees.

Although not the biggest player in the market, their personal touch and commitment to making their franchisee’s businesses work really impressed Caroline and myself. With 70+ years’ greeting card experience between the two principals who run Plan-it Cards, I knew that what they did not know about greetings cards wasn’t worth knowing.

More importantly, I knew from doing our research on the territory I was buying that we could add extra value to the business. Three years on I have been very pleased with the outcome and have a real asset to sell on – when the time is right!

Good luck or judgement? I’m a great believer that you make your own luck, I work very hard and the rewards are there.

We follow the Plan-it Cards system - all our customers receive a monthly visit. Our day starts early and we visit roughly 8-10 retailers every day. Each store receives a full merchandising visit, with each retailer getting a fresh display of cards every visit, so that their regular customers are always seeing something new from Plan-it Cards.

We invoice each customer every visit only for what they sell, and for the majority of my customers they pay me there and then, making our business very much a cash orientated one.

The final task of my day is to return the stock back on to the warehouse shelves and prepare packs for the eight to ten calls we do the next day.

When you enjoy working for yourself there are never enough hours in the day. Some of my retailers are very demanding but I believe I’m an integral part of their team. Things never stand still at retail and I like to discuss my on-going plans with the retailers, talking through each season, analysing their figures, trying things out and helping them to promote their businesses which in turn helps me.

We have, in the last six months, moved the business from our home to a rented office and storage facility and have just achieved our best ever monthly sales figures. We have also taken on a part time merchandiser so we can continue to grow the business and carry on offering the level of personal service our shops benefit from.‘’

Simon & Caroline Hanna, Plan-it Cards Yorkshire North, East & Central Area Franchisees


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