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Market Focus


Leanne takes care of the running of the shops and I tend to be more hands on with the stairlifts and engineering.


Ableworld James and Leanne Studdart


James and Leanne found themselves at a crossroads after they were both offered redundancy. After looking at their options, they decided to go into business together, and Ableworld offered an attractive package with ongoing support.


What strengths do each of you bring to the business? JS: I tend to go into something straight away, whereas Leanne is more level headed and keeps me grounded.


How do you fit work around family life? JS: It’s always difficult balancing your work and family life especially when you are starting your own business, but having Ableworld head office to help is such a benefit. We have recently decided to use their accounting service as it was taking too much of our own time, which means that we can concentrate on other things. You can also have a manager for a week which allowed us to have break away from the business to help recharge our batteries.


What did you do prior to franchising? JS: I was in direct sales for six years and prior to that I was manufacturing medical furniture. Leanne worked for the local college in the hairdressing department and prior to that she ran her own salon for around 10 years.


How have you found working together so far? JS: It’s been challenging and we have a rule not to bring anything home with us. We have found that customers like that we are a couple and they feel that they are part


of the journey with us. Leanne often gets comments from customers saying they don’t know how she puts up with me!


What strengths do each of you bring to the business? JS: Leanne is more organised and has a lot of empathy with customers due to her previous jobs. Whereas I tend to be more hands on, whether that is fitting stairlifts or talking directly with the customers about their own needs and how we can help them improve the quality of lives.


Are there any disadvantages to working with your spouse? JS: I can’t think of anything really as we don’t often spend that much time in work together. We both have our own jobs to do within the business so when we do spend time together we have our own stories to tell.


What kind of support have you received from the franchisor? JS: We have used a wide range of services that Ableworld offers. These services include store support, accounting, staff training and engineer support. It has taken the stress off our backs and allowed us focus on other things.


What attracted you to franchising? What transferable skills did you have? MJ: We definitely wanted to have a convenience store as we both have a good understanding of how they work – thanks to my father-in-law. But after seeing the Subway franchise at the National Convenience Show we wanted to explore the possibilities of having both. Luckily for us Urmston Post Office is a large space and has easily accommodated both a Subway store and a convenience store, alongside the post office.


Why did you choose this sector? Why a Subway franchise? MJ: We were drawn to Subway as its brand image is so strong and it has such a high awareness amongst consumers.


What kind of training and support have you received from the franchisor? MJ: Our field consultant was outstanding; they made a plan of how the Subway store would look and talked us through each stage of the process so that everything went smoothly. The field consultant also arranged for us to visit other local Subway franchisees so we could get a good first- hand understanding of what it was like to


60 | BusinessFranchise.com | June 2016


be a Subway franchisee.


I then attended the two-week Subway franchisee training at Subway UK and Ireland headquarters in Cambridge. The course was amazing, I learnt exactly how to run a Subway store and let me say that there’s a lot more to it than making sandwiches.


What are your plans for the future? MJ: We really want our store to be a hub of the community, like the Post Office always was. We’re planning to have coffee mornings, as well as events focussing on families to help make this happen.


Would you recommend a management opportunity like the Subway brand to others seeking to run a franchise? And what advice would you offer? MJ: Absolutely! Although this is only our first Subway store we’ve caught the ‘retail bug’ and will definitely be looking for new opportunities in the future. You need to really know the area – inside out and back to front. And you must do your research. The time I spent with the other local franchisees gave me an insight into Subway franchising that I would not have got elsewhere. Perhaps most importantly,


Subway Mohammed and


Raeesah Jassat


The husband-and-wife franchisee team are from Urmston in Manchester. Before opening their first Subway franchise last year, Mohammed was a marketing manager for an online women’s clothing store and Raeesah was a marketing graduate.


you must be ready to work hard – you will only get out of your business what you put in.


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