Ian Hinton, West Midlands

Name:

Ian Hinton

Territory:

West Midlands

Established:

2001

‘’There is something very special when you grow an account to the extent that the owner depends upon your service’’

Ian Hinton, a previous Plan-it Cards Franchisee of the Year and recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Achievement award is the perfect example of the opportunities available to someone who is ambitious and hardworking within the network.

‘’I was devastated to be made redundant from a senior director position in the local newspaper industry. I doubt if anyone anywhere enjoyed a job more than I enjoyed this one.

Ian purchased his original franchise covering his Walsall/ Wolverhampton area. This was swiftly followed by adding additional territories and today he looks after more than 250 outlets and is kept very busy. Establishing a blueprint for success, Ian views his high levels of customer service and proactivity as the cornerstone to his successful growth.

“There’s something very special about growing your own business, and I still get a huge buzz out of seeing my sales grow monthly. Some of my customers have been with me from the very start. I have accounts that sold a few cards a month in the early days and are now some of my largest accounts.”

Ian sees the benefits in the regular new products developed by Plan-it Cards. “New designs are the lifeblood of our business. Plan-it Cards bring out new designs regularly, so this maintains interest in our displays so that there are always opportunities to expand.

A normal day sees Ian leaving home at 7.30am to head for the office. He does all his own merchandising and therefore the first task of the day is to prepare packs for the ten to fifteen calls he does each day. Though many Plan-it Cards franchisees are based at home Ian rents a small office. He explains “I was never comfortable working from home. The culture I am used to is very much office based and I have been happier since replicating it within my own business.”

Ian and Jonathan attending a recent Costcutter national trade show

Like many franchisees though Ian uses a small van to carry out his daily business. “The Display Stands we have available are much easier to transport and it does help greatly when you are looking to develop accounts. I can also do more calls in a day.”

“I have developed some very large accounts with several displays up to two metres in length with hundreds of designs displayed. There is something very special when you grow an account to the extent that the owner depends upon your service, and of course it’s always nice at the end of the month to present a large invoice! Most of my new business is now coming from referrals from existing retailers. This is getting harder as they are not enough hours in the day.”

“There is no doubt times are challenging and retailers are looking for a reliable service. I believe I offer them a first-class service with no initial outlay from themselves. We just have to get that message out there!.”

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