Feb 10, 2017

When Keith McGregor was made redundant in late 2014, the fear of facing similar circumstances again turned this once solid 9-5er into a passionate business owner. Keith visited the UK’s largest franchise show in February 2015 and just one year later his redundancy nightmare is a distant memory.

As a qualified accountant, Keith spent a number or years working for the Finance Director of a large corporation. Unfortunately, as happens all too often, disaster struck when the company was forced to relocate and Keith had no choice but to take redundancy.

“I dedicated a large part of my career to my employer and you feel secure don’t you? But due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, I ultimately had the rug pulled out from under my feet when the company was required to relocate. I don’t bear a grudge but I’ll never forget how it felt hearing the word ‘redundancy’. You just don’t expect it. Everything can feel like it’s about to come crashing down on you in that moment.”

In the months that followed, Keith started his own small finance consultancy. Utilising his existing skills to supplement his redundancy pay-out whilst he searched for a new job. Despite his best efforts, nothing suitable arose and Keith’s growing desire to take control of his professional future began to take over. A conversation with a close friend over dinner gave Keith his ‘light-bulb’ moment and set him on the path to becoming a franchise owner.

“A friend of mine suggested I go along to The Franchise Show at Excel in London and I thought ‘that’s a great idea!’. I had no intention of buying anything. I had my own consultancy which admittedly wasn’t doing much at all so I was thinking of expanding that. I actually went to the show to look for ideas for things that I could do myself and add to the services I was already offering.”

“I went along to the show in February of 2015. The Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) stand really caught my attention. It ticked all the boxes on the surface in terms of being white-collar, consultancy style and somewhere I could put my existing skills to good use. Not only that but there were plenty of other people there chatting away so I thought, ‘this must be something worth looking at’. I met Matt O’Neil, the head of franchise recruitment, and one of the existing franchise partners, Ian Arundel. The more we talked the more I became convinced this was something I could not only do, but do really well.”

ERA is the UK and Ireland’s leading procurement franchise. Their franchise partners are expertly trained to enable organisations to save money and boost business performance through effective procurement, improved supplier management and smarter spending habits. Boasting the highest consulting revenue of any UK procurement franchise, their franchise partners have enjoyed an impressive 64% increase in sales over the past 5 years.

After the show, Keith attended a Discovery Day with other like-minded professionals who were also interested in the opportunity. After some careful due diligence which included speaking to several existing franchise partners, business planning and market validation, Keith was confident that he was making the right decision. In May 2015 Keith signed his Franchise Agreement and officially joined the ERA family. Next step: training!

“The training was absolutely fantastic. I really can’t rate it highly enough. We had 5 weeks of training. Weeks 1, 3 and 5 in Head Office at the ERA Academy and weeks 2 and 4 at home in the office putting our learning into practice on dummy accounts and some true-to-life scenarios. It was the perfect mix of classroom and on-the-job training.

“The best thing is, once you complete training, you still have the full backing and support of the Academy and the support team. Not to mention the entire ERA network. I would say I actually get most of the information and assistance that I need out of the network! We all work together because we understand that collectively, we’re incredibly powerful and if each of us succeed, then we all benefit.

“To be honest that was the main reason that I joined, because of the people that I spoke to during my due diligence. I was inspired, encouraged and spurred on by them. These were the type of people I wanted to work with and in the end, the type of business owner I wanted to be!”

It’s not all work, work, work. Keith’s home life remains as busy as his professional life! Even whilst building his new business he is able to enjoy one of his favourite pastimes of travelling and plays the occasional game of football. Married with 4 children, it was crucial from day one to Keith that he protect not just his own future but theirs too.

“Providing a stable and secure future for my wife and children is, and has always been, a top priority. It was a real driver for me when considering my options after the redundancy. My two eldest are at university and the younger two are still at home with us. I wanted the control back, to be able to steer us 

financially where I wanted us to go without relying on an employer to make the right decisions or wait for the right promotion or job to come up.”

Looking to the future, Keith intends to make the most of his exciting new career and understands that the hard work and time dedicated now, will be rewarded many times over in the years that follow.

“My goal is to grow my client base by working full time to generate as much income as I can. Then, at my 10 year renewal point, re-sign my agreement and look to wind down a little to really enjoy the fruits of my labour. Within the first six months I was ahead of targets both in terms of clients and financials. If you follow the ERA system you can’t go wrong, it just works!”

If you’d like to take control of your professional future like Keith, then you can visit The Franchise Show on 19th & 20th February at ExCel, London 10am-5pm. Register for your free tickets: