One year on in business, we catch up with Screen Rescue Stevenage franchisee, Keith Harrison

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Following the country’s first lockdown back in March 2020, franchisee, Keith Harrison snapped up his onboarding date the moment lockdown lifted on 13th July and began his training at the Screen Rescue head office in Suffolk. Two weeks later, Screen Rescue Stevenage opened its trading doors on 27th July 2021 winning new clients on day one. We ask Keith how he is doing one year on…

Q1: How do you feel one year on running your own franchise business?

KH: I’m still very excited, I honestly love going to work on a Monday! I’m pleased I bought a franchise and didn’t go it alone where you get no help or support and no backup. With Screen Rescue I’ve found Amanda and Jaime and the head office team are always there to provide support and assistance whenever I need it.

Q2: What has been your best achievement in the past year?

KH: To have built and grown my business to where it is now, despite Covid and the lockdowns. That was difficult. But, with the help of both franchisors I’ve achieved so many milestones along the way, from winning my first client, to seeing my business breaking even and then making profit.

Q3: Tell us how the lockdowns affected you and your business.

KH: Free from lockdown, our business operations are proactive – we follow a well-trodden franchise business model. We’re strategic in our targeted prospecting of new clients and we proactively visit all our existing client sectors. In short, we make it happen!

During lockdowns we were able to pivot the business and respond directly to the needs of our clients. In our dealerships sectors, for example, we became a response unit to their repair requirements. Our Rapid Response repairs service guarantees we’ll be there same day, within the hour and as both franchisors predicted, I was able to support my dealership clients for their click and collect repair requirements in this way. In the essential services, delivery and haulage sectors, there were no real changes, it was business as usual.

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Q4: This franchise promises to build a substantial repeat business client base. One year on, how is this coming along?

KH: It’s coming along very well. I’m not from a salesy background, I was a taxi driver, but I now have over 80 clients and 80% of them provide me with lucrative repeat business. I’ll continue growing my business and although it’s hard work, there is huge potential. It will all be worth it when I reach expansion stage and grow my team.

Q5: What difference are your services making to your clients in your community?

KH: Part of my role is to educate my clients so they can see the benefit of saving money with windscreen repairs rather than paying for windscreen replacements they don’t need. They are more than happy to make huge savings and there are some very proud moments when my clients pull me aside and tell me how honourable I am; how I deliver exactly what I promised them.  I feel very valued by them.

Q6: How have the franchisors and their support systems helped you – have they delivered what they promised?

KH: Yes, both franchisors are always there to help, no matter what my question, or situation, or what I feel I need. Day or night they know what to do and have the answers. In fact, during December’s lockdown I remember feeling very low, I was finding lockdown isolating and missed visiting my clients; making it happen. Jaime recognised I had lost my mojo. He invited me to head office and for three days we covered refresher training, it was the ‘booster jab’ I needed to get my mind and spirit back on form.

Q7: What have you learnt most in the past 12 months?

KH: I’ve learned so much. Mainly to be a lot more patient, because growing a substantial business doesn’t happen overnight – I’m building a client base that gives me repeat business, which leads to scalability. We don’t carry out ‘one hit wonder’ repairs like other franchises do. In fact, we’re the opposite. We’re building solid business relationships that last and I’m even picking up referral business, so I know I’m doing something right!

Q8: How have you developed as a as businessman?

KH: First, I’ve accepted running your own business takes time and considerable effort. But I’ve grown as a businessman too. I’ll be honest in the early days I didn’t realise the value in my Management Information. Now I appreciate the electronic reports I get are the best in the industry. I have a firm grip on my expenses, book-keeping and paperwork and full transparency of my payments, client development numbers, revenue streams and business margin mix.

Q9: How has your business performance compared to your business plan for Y1?

KH: If it had been a normal trading year, I would have smashed all my business targets. My year end saw me shy of my business plan turnover target by just 5%, which I’m happy with. Considering the first 12 months were hampered by lockdowns achieving 94.3% for my turnover target is not a bad result. I do feel very lucky. I know there are plenty of other businesses across the UK that suffered far more than me.

Q10: What goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 months?   

KH: I am on a mission. With the franchise support I get; I want to expand my business as quickly as possible and take on employees.  I want to grow into other territories too and even have my eye on a couple of available sister territories.

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