Paul Lawson sees an opportunity too good to miss with Countrywide Signs..
Having worked in the city and then run his own mortgage broker business, Paul Lawson had decided to take early retirement aged 52 to spend time with his family and enjoy his hobbies. However, when he offered to help a friend run his Countrywide Signs franchise for a short period, he discover a business he couldn't resist getting more involved in.
"When my friend's wife became ill I offered to help run his Countrywide Signs business while he looked after her," Paul explains. "I really enjoyed the challenge and liked the business model, so I was quick to accept when the opportunity arose to become a franchise owner in my own right operating in Stevenage. At the time I wasn't necessarily looking to invest in a franchise, or any business, but the opportunity was too good to miss."
Paul bought an underdeveloped part of an established territory, which was being sold by the existing franchise owner due to ill health. This meant he had the benefit of buying an established and well-run business, but also the opportunity to generate new opportunities.
He says: "I really enjoy business development, so taking on an area with huge potential was a challenge I relished. So far my hard work is paying off as I doubled turnover in the first three months. It really helps to be part of a nationwide network as many of the people I'm meeting know of Countrywide Signs and the technology behind the service is a real selling point."
Although he doesn't live directly in his territory, Paul enjoys the commute and with a mobile internet in his van, he's able to keep up to date with requested jobs on the move. He also finds he can plan his day so that he doesn't have to go to the territory all day, every day so he can make the hours fit around his family and lifestyle, whilst still keeping his commitments to the agents.
"We have a 12 year old son as well as enjoying many pursuits including sailing and skiing. I also coach rugby and my wife is a netball coach, so the flexibility of the business was appealing," Paul explains. "By the middle of next year I plan to take on someone else and then grow the team progressively after that."
Paul says: "We're excited to be developing the Countrywide Signs business in Stevenage and so far have been warmly received by the local estate agents and surveying companies. One of the reasons for this is the Countrywide Signs innovative online system, which makes it easy for clients (mainly Estate Agents and Letting Agents), to keep track of the status of their sign boards and notify us of any sign erection requests and changes of status. One of the many benefits I have found of being associated with a larger organisation rather than operating by myself"
- Interview - 2014.