“By investing in an Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise, I’ve been able to enjoy watching my children grow up, earn a good income and build a legacy for my son to take over when I retire.”
Over the last 19 years, Brian Pinner has built his ERA business to be one of the most successful in the network. He is respected and valued by his colleagues, a recognised expert in his field, and as testament to all this, in 2014 was ranked second highest income performer out of more than 150 consultants.
Though far from at an end, the life-cycle of Brian’s business to date has been an evolution in goals and the personal meaning of success. From being the master of his own destiny and allowing him the freedom to spend quality time with his children right through to building a pension and even a legacy for his sons.
Brian’s confidence in his franchise and his undeniable success have been an inspiration to his son, Neil, who has not only become an ERA franchise partner himself, but joined his father and works side-by-side in what is now a family business with serious longevity.
Prior to joining ERA, Brian owned his own Photocopier business in Stourbridge. For ten years he built the business to a large going concern with a staff of over 25. However, when his young family came along, priorities changed and Brian knew he wanted to focus on a better work- life balance.
“I had two young children and my business was requiring me to work long hours which meant I was away from home for most of the week. The pressure of keeping things running and being responsible for the staff was starting to take its toll and I knew it was time for a bit of a lifestyle change. When I received an offer from a competitor to sell them my business I didn’t have to think too hard about my decision.”
Brian found the idea of franchising appealing and so he visited one of the large franchise shows for inspiration. It was there that, in Brian’s own words, ERA jumped out at him!
“ERA interested me for many reasons, the main ones being that I really liked the thought of working from home and addressing that work/life balance I’d been craving. I’d had loads of phone calls when I ran my own business from people telling me they could save me money on my overheads, so I knew there was a buoyant market – what I liked about ERA was that you weren’t limited to one cost centre, the range of services you could offer was vast. The people were friendly and I took an instant liking to them. There’s a lot to be said for gut instinct and feeling that you want to work with the people that you meet.”
ERA are world leaders in cost management and procurement consultancy. Associates are trained to offer strategic advice and practical methods which optimise supplier relationships and generate cash. Boasting the highest consulting revenue of any UK procurement franchise, ERA Franchise Partners have enjoyed an impressive increase in sales over the past five years.
“I didn’t want to start another business from scratch. I knew from experience what a challenge that could be and I definitely didn’t want to employ lots of people again. ERA has been a revelation in that sense – you have all this expertise and knowledge to draw on from within the network, more than 150 different specialists to be precise, but essentially you work from home and run your business to suit you. It’s the best of both worlds.”
ERA’s award-winning programme of training and support is designed to equip you with all the knowledge and confidence you need to successfully launch and run your business, whatever your skills or background. New Franchise Partners undertake a tailored five-week course consisting of classroom and hands-on learning at the ERA Academy.
“My initial training was good but it’s nothing compared to nowadays. My son, Neil, has just completed his training. The depth of the training course and tools available to new Franchise Partners is just out of this world. We did a lot of pioneering work back in the day and it’s certainly paid off. Processes have evolved to be incredibly efficient and effective and the tools and interconnecting IT systems we have are just brilliant. I could see that Neil was incredibly well prepared to join me from day one.”
When you join ERA, you join a network of over 150 consultants, each an expert in their own field. Access to this combined knowledge ensures that your business isn’t confined to one or two cost centres or even your own area of specialism. Our Franchise Partners work together to maximise opportunities for collaboration, expansion and guidance.
“In the early days most of the support came from the other consultants. Now there’s lots of support from group office – business development, IT, marketing… you name it! Each region meets every 4-6 weeks and that’s a great opportunity to share ideas and get some guidance from your peers if you need it. I have a review meeting next week to see how the business is going. The offer of support is always there – personally I’ve learnt what my business model looks like and I know what I need to do to succeed.”
Proving that he really does have the balance right, Brian makes the most of his down time by travelling with his wife, watching his sons play rugby and cricket and participating in his own favourite sporting activity – golf! He muses: “I actually think ERA is similar to rugby and cricket. Everyone has a lot of skills individually but it’s the team that makes it work.”
Brian is now content in the knowledge that the business he has built will not only continue to thrive, it will provide his son with the same balance of income and lifestyle that he himself has enjoyed for the last 19 years.
“I love this business. Our job is so varied. I work all across the UK with different clients who all have different requirements. I’m working with schools, charities and not-for-profit entities as well as corporate organisations – the clients appreciate what we do and it’s rewarding to see them improve. It’s a very satisfying to take a project through to completion, especially with the charities where you can really see you’re making a difference for them.”