Richard Swayne from Dartford started his own franchise with Snap-on, the premium tools manufacturer and retailer which has a network of almost 400 franchisees, in January 2014.
After just 10 months Swayne had already paid off the loan he took out from Snap-on to start his business, and by the end of his first year, had smashed company records.
This saw Swayne becoming the top Snap-on franchisee in the UK for sales last year which was followed by a further 20% rise in sales last year.
So what’s the secret of his success? He said: “Knowledge. You can never have enough knowledge, I’m constantly learning.
“Listen to your customers, learn about your customers, what makes them tick and the products they need. Matching your products to your customer, that’s what it’s all about.
“Snap-on have got a fantastic programme, learning how to sell, managing a business; if you follow the programme, it works. The key is knowledge. You can never know too much.”
When it comes to being a young entrepreneur, Richard sees his age as an advantage. He explains: “If anything it’s helped me. Because I’m younger I get on with the 18-40 year olds a lot better. The things we’re talking about, socially and so on, we’re on a similar level.
“And I think they kind of look up to me. ‘He’s doing well, I want to be part of that, let’s get on board.’ When you start posting on Facebook, they’re engaging with that.”
According to the latest research by the British Franchise Association (the bfa), one in five (19%) franchisees who launched their own business in the last two years were under 30 years old.
“There is little doubt that franchising provides a proven and reliable business platform for young people to launch their own business,” explains Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa.
“As a model which offers support and guidance every step of the way, franchising is ideally suited to younger entrepreneurs who may not necessarily have previous business experience.
“Age is no barrier when someone is hungry, determined and willing to work hard, especially when all the tools are already in place for them to succeed.
“In fact, many of the skills young people bring to the table, such as social media knowledge which some older franchisees may not have, mean in some ways they are even better equipped to succeed.”
Swayne is a real success story for franchising, a sector which is worth over £15bn to the UK economy and employs over 621,000 people.
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