Before starting his Sandler franchise in 2007, Andy worked as a strategy consultant for Accenture, selling and delivering high-profile consulting projects to blue chip companies. He was ruthlessly thorough in researching his new challenge, looking at dozens of franchises, shortlisting 15 to research further and then visiting six different businesses before investing in a Sandler franchise.
That’s led to a journey from corporate life to a wonderful work/life balance, personal and financial success, international awards – and a surfboard never being far away! These are his thoughts on years 5 – 8 as a Sandler franchisee…
I spent 10 years in the corporate world before a lucky break took my career to Australia where I discovered my greatest passion to date – surfing. Intertwined with my job as a sales and marketing director, I spent two years travelling the east and south coasts surfing. I felt like I was 15 years old again, waking before dawn to surf before work!
On returning to the UK, I set up Sandler Training South West. I threw myself head-first into the business, working a 15-hour day trying to get off to a fast start – before I realised I had lost my work/life balance and it was affecting my performance.
The tipping point for me came when I visited the US to meet a couple of highly successful Sandler franchisees. I saw how a really efficient business consultancy operates and the infrastructure needed to make it work. I was able to take a lot of that back to my own business and as a result my revenue took off from £65k in year two, to £150k in year three, and has kept growing ever since.
I have spent the last five years trying to get the work/life balance right, while successfully growing my business. Richard Branson once said “Enjoyment at works starts and ends in the same place as everything else; in good health.” Be clear on your business goals but also on your health and family goals…then develop the personal effectiveness to achieve them all.
Franchising has changed my life. Not only do I run a solid, profitable business, I love what I do and it facilitates a lifestyle that most can only dream about – living in a stunning location down in Cornwall, waking up to views of the ocean every day and indulging my passion for surfing.
And that is why I chose to take on a Sandler Training franchise, because I knew it could provide me with all of the above – and it has. It’s hard to believe that only 6 years ago, I packed up my car in Clapham, London and drove to Cornwall with only enough money for a few nights in a surf lodge!
The support from the UK and globally is fantastic, and is instilled throughout Sandler Training. Everyone’s willing to work for each other. Sandler provides you with the freedom, tools and support to run your own successful business. You can run the franchise how you want it to be run. You can work as much as you want, or as little, so the rewards are what you want them to be.
For me, I like to go that extra mile. I position myself as a coach, friend and a trusted advisor. I provide clients with unlimited one-to-one coaching and help them with family life, fitness and personal confidence. I even take my clients and their children out for surf lessons!
Support is key to a successful franchise business, and Sandler has it in abundance.
When it comes to the best aspects of being a Sandler franchisee, of course achieving a strong revenue stream is a fantastic reward, and improving my revenue is vital, but for me it’s about more than financial success; growing my business means that I’m now helping more local businesses which in turn is increasing our contribution to the local economy.
Small business drives the Cornwall and Devon economy and these business owners are the people that I help and whose businesses are thriving. I am also a volunteer on the Young Enterprise scheme with a local school. It’s great to be able to give something back into the community.
I enjoy my work but I also enjoy the outdoor life and pursuits that living in the south-west offers me, so I don’t want to be working all hours and weekends. It’s within my control to maintain a work/life balance that suits me.
Sandler has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, both financially and personally.
Milestones: International awards recognition
An amazing year for me which resulted in a global award thanks to the performance of my business. In March 2016 I was presented with the Pinnacle Award at Sandler’s international Client Summit in Orlando, the first UK franchisee to receive the coveted accolade.
It was thanks to some outstanding results at the end of 2015; I billed in excess of £270K, which annualises to over £800K, in a quarter that included the festive season and taking my family on a two-week Christmas holiday! I was so chuffed to have reached this level within my first 10 years.
My success has been built through a mix of local and global contracts, a number of which involved collaborations with other Sandler partners to implement the contracts I secured. One contract with a large multinational organisation involves many other UK franchisees delivering training in their areas, all to the same high standards that I deliver locally.
It's amazing what’s possible in this business thanks to the incredible material we have at Sandler and the constant support from the network. I could never have imagined this level of business would be possible – and all from my rural base down in Devon.
The best part is that I pick up my toddler from nursery in the afternoon and we go and play in the park! I feel very lucky to have both the money and the lifestyle.