“I want to be No. 1 and reach a six-figure turnover“
Simon and Caroline Hanna have been running their Plan-it Cards franchise in North Yorkshire since 2014. Having been made redundant, Simon and his wife were looking for a new opportunity that would provide a more secure future for their family.
‘’Caroline and I have been in greetings cards for over 30 years at various managerial levels, including owning our retail business. I have been heavily involved in franchising, and have recently attained the British Franchise Association qfp Franchising qualification in the process.‘’ explained Simon. ‘’Though there is never an easy time to be made redundant, we knew that our next step would be to do something together. We had no additional responsibilities to deal with as our two grown up kids, have now left home. I considered several options but felt that the Plan-it Cards model and nature of the business best suited both my own and my wife, Caroline’s, existing skills.’’
“Although not the biggest player in the market, Plan-it Cards personal touch and commitment to making their franchisee’s businesses work really impressed Caroline and myself. I knew that what they did not know about greetings cards wasn’t worth knowing.’’
“More importantly, I knew from doing our research on the territory that I was buying that we could add extra value to the existing business. Eight years on I have been very pleased with the outcome and have a real asset to sell on – when the time is right!”
Although Simon and Caroline already had previous experience in sales, they still found that they benefitted from the training and support on offer at Plan-it Cards. All franchisees undertake two weeks of training to learn how the Plan-it Cards model works and the ins and outs of the business.
“Good luck or judgement? I’m a great believer that you make your own luck, I work very hard, and the rewards are there.”
“We follow the Plan-it Cards system – all our customers receive a monthly visit. In the beginning our day started early, and we visited roughly 8-10 retailers every day. Each store receives a full merchandising visit, with each retailer getting a fresh display of cards every visit, so that their regular customers are always seeing something new from Plan-it Cards.”
“We invoice each customer every visit only for what they sell, and for most of my customers they pay me there and then, making our business very much a cash orientated one. The final task of my day is to return the stock back on to the warehouse shelves and prepare packs for the eight to ten calls we do the next day.”
“When you enjoy working for yourself there are never enough hours in the day. Some of my retailers are very demanding but I believe I’m an integral part of their team.”
Things never stand still at retail, and Simon makes a point of discussing on-going plans early with his key retailers, talking through each season, analysing their figures, trying things out and helping them to promote their businesses which in turn helps the business.
Simon and Caroline have now grown their business to a size that they now start their day with a short briefing with the team, discussing targets, issues, and opportunities. “We all have our own individual objectives for the day with Sally, Jayne and Caroline focused on managing our existing customer’s needs whilst looking to increase the breadth and depth of the business we do with them. We have, in the last two years, moved the business from our home to a rented office and storage facility (twice) and have achieved in 2020 our best year’s sales figures.”
Any advice on others looking to follow in their footsteps? “Don’t underestimate the time it could take you to establish your business and make sure you’ve got living costs put aside.” Although they have made a success of their business so far, Simon is still looking to achieve even more and help more people share their rewards and benefit from the Plan-it Cards business.
“My future plans are two-fold; I am currently number two in the league table, and I want to be number 1 I also want to get the business to a six-figure turnover before the end of my existing franchise agreement in 2 years.”
“If we hit that then I might go and live on a beach somewhere!”
Footnote: Simon is now the Franchise Director of Plan-it Cards responsible for franchisee training and support whilst still running the territory.