Manoj Patel has 25 years in IT behind him; he originally trained as a computer programmer on IBM mini computers, moving through the ranks, over the years, leaving an IT Managers job in 1995 to become an independent IT consultant and forming his my own IT consulting business in 1999.
His IT consulting business is still a going concern but it is a much smaller operation than it used to be, and his intention is to let it wind down over the next 12 / 18 months and then close it down when the last of his existing contracts are completed.
Manoj had always had a keen interest in franchising and the franchise business concept and had experienced something similar in 1999 when he signed a reseller agreement with Oracle Inc. to market their ERP software to the SMB marketplace in the UK. His company was one of only 7 resellers appointed in the UK, and, even now, is the only one still in business after almost 13 years.
Having abandoned paid employment nearly 20 years ago early on in his IT career Manoj knew he could never go back to being an employee, as he says “I just enjoy my freedom too much.”
Over the last 10 years Manoj Patel has built up an impressive property portfolio, but he had always had a keen interest in the franchise industry, seeing that it held great potential as well as a variety of opportunities.
As he was already active in the property lettings world, when he considered changing the path he was on, and entering the franchise community, a property based business seemed the natural thing to do.
Manoj takes up the story: “I investigated all the major competitors, and while I admit it is not the normal decision making criteria I employ, I actually liked the people involved in Redstones more than any of the others I met so selecting the Redstones franchsie over the rest was the easy bit! I had seen their emergence in the market, they were a new brand that had obvious national appeal – I felt that buying into a proven, vibrant, franchise model would give me the additional specialist training and support I would need to run my own lettings business. Redstones have some very special USP’s which I found interesting and the ability to own a Regional Master Franchise (RMF) with Redstones was a very compelling opportunity indeed”
Husband and Wife team Manoj and Bhavna Patel took the plunge and opened their Warrington based Redstones franchise in March 2012, having financed the project from their existing IT business.
Manoj continues: “We thoroughly enjoyed the 2 weeks on-site training it was an eye opener to actually see what goes on behind the scenes in a lettings business. Only time will tell if the training was sufficient to allow the business to grow rapidly, but so far, so good!!”
The couple know that there will be challenges to face in the coming months but as Manoj says: “I can’t really comment on the challenges ahead as we’ve only just started, however I am currently in the process of acquiring a local letting agent with around 200 properties under management, this will certainly enable us to hit the ground running, and give us the basis to grow rapidly to 400 to 500 managed properties over the next 24 to 48 months.”
Manoj has great plans for the future including bringing both his sons, 24 year old Mitesh and 21 year old Krishan into the business and expanding in others areas in the North West.
Asked whether he would recommend a franchise to anyone else he says: “Franchising is not an easy option, you have still got to understand the business end of things – finance, marketing, sales, etc.. and only you can make or break the business, that said, the franchise model gives you the support, processes and a proven model to enable you to get there”