Appetite For Success
When large national chains scuppered his successful sandwich firm in Liverpool, Tony Williams and his business partner Rob Carter had to consider a new direction. Still hungry for success, Tony started his first Countrywide Signs franchise in Merseyside in 2006. They now also run territories in The Wirral, Cornwall, Warrington and North Wales.
Supported by Head Office every step of the way, the operation quickly grew from one to three vans in as many years – and the new territories followed shortly after. They now have 13 vans and 15 personnel operating from multiple industrial units.
Proven business builder Tony had first been impressed by the Countrywide Signs model when he attended the Franchise Show. “It just felt right,” he says, “there seemed to be a good understanding of the business they were in and the support new starters would require. They also took you seriously as an individual and that was very important.”
“It was crucial at the start we fully understood all aspects of the business, so we knew what to safely delegate and the skills we’d need from those joining the business,” says Tony.
“We planned our growth so it was self-financing at each step, growing steadily rather than by borrowing. We had the confidence to keep expanding, and soon understood how to train and support additional staff, and organise stock and vehicles - ensuring we stayed in control,” Tony adds.
Tony is particularly impressed with the encouragement they get from Head Office, plus the ability to share thoughts and concerns with the other franchisees, learning from the experience of what’s working elsewhere. And with four children to care for and 400 invoices to send out on a monthly basis, Tony is also grateful of his wife Elaine’s help with the company administration.
From Merseyside to the seaside – Tony Williams & Rob Carter expand their territory...
Tony Williams & Rob Carter, Countrywide’s Merseyside business owners, are expanding their reach after taking on a second territory that will be operated by Tony's brother-in-law Robert Dooley.
After some great success with the Merseyside territory that they launched together in 2006, Tony & Rob have taken on the Cornwall territory and are keen to use all the expertise they have acquired over the years to quickly grow this new business in the South West.
Tony and Robert have already begun their pre-launch strategy, spending time promoting the Countrywide service at local agents in the region, carrying out site visits and leaflet drops. And the response has been better than they could have hoped.
In just a short space of time, they have had a number of invitations to make full presentations and pitch the Countrywide proposition to agents, and have already made a number of presentations – with over 14 agents all in a position to sign up.
“The response in Cornwall has been overwhelming,” says Tony. “We’ve found a great demand for what Countrywide has to offer – one of our potential clients owns 17 branches. The challenge for me is to make sure we don’t take on too much, too soon. I want to grow the business at a speed Robert and I are comfortable with so we can offer the service levels that are expected of the Countrywide name.”
To achieve this, Tony & Rob intend to expand the new territory in stages to ensure service levels are maintained. Looking further ahead, he and Rob have plans for a second van and operator to support Robert – something they achieved with their Liverpool territory a year after launching.
All signs point to Tony and Rob being just as successful in their new territory, supporting Robert in his day to day managing of the territory.
“If you’re motivated, determined and prepared to follow the business model, as well as work outside in all weathers at all times of year,” says Tony, “and are prepared to work on developing good general business skills, a Countrywide Signs franchise can provide a fantastic life.”