Over the last 10 years, Harsha Patel and her husband Pritesh have built their Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise into a highly profitable and rewarding business. For two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 their business ranked as one of the top performing out of more than 150 consultants. The couple have three full time members of staff and, having just renewed their 10 year franchise agreement, have no plans to slow down their growth!
For Harsha, success isn’t just about profits. One of the most important aspects of their thriving business is the flexibility and time it allows her to spend with her children: “I’m thankful for being able to work from home and be around for my kids. It’s allowed me to have flexibility and retain the bond that so often is lost when a choice has to be made between career and family life.”
The couple launched their franchise in 2006 with Pritesh as full-time consultant. It was planned that Harsha would join the business four to five years later. However, thanks to rapid growth and continued success, Harsha came into the business just two years later after the birth of their second child.
“It was always the plan that we would run the business together when it called for it but it actually only took two years to get to that point. We took on our first employee in 2009 and quickly realised the benefits of the extra resource! Today we have three full time members of staff and that has enabled Pritesh and I to work to our strengths to grow the business more effectively whilst maintaining the flexibility we originally craved.”
Prior to owning their franchise, Harsha spent eight years working in the mortgage industry after graduating from university with a BA Honours degree. Like many others before him, Pritesh knew in his heart that he wanted to do something for himself and build a future for his family. He had already heard of the ERA brand whilst studying at university and so, the couple visited a franchise exhibition to learn more about the opportunity.
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.
“We first met with ERA when we visited a franchise exhibition. I think what we liked about them most was that they didn’t just try to push the franchise on us, they helped us to understand how franchising worked and what it entailed. We built a bond of trust relatively quickly.
“We both liked the business model and could see very quickly that with our combined skills and the ERA processes already in place, this was something we could do. Pritesh and I went to a Discovery Day together, did our research together…everything. We went into every aspect of business ownership as a couple from day one.”
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.
“We’ve reached a point now where we’re more or less self-sufficient but we have a nice balance and Head Office are always there for any support if we do need them. They fully support your expansion and growth as well as nurturing you after your launch. The rest of the network have been supportive too, you can always rely on other franchise partners for advice and guidance if you need it.
“I guess in a nutshell, ERA provide all the tools to help you get ahead. There’s ongoing business development for anyone that wants it plus regional meetings, conferences and workshops and business coaching.”
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.
As would be expected, the couple are both well respected and recognised as experts within the ERA network. In 2015 Pritesh was nominated by his peers for ERA’s prestigious internal award, ‘Consultant’s Consultant of the Year’ for his contribution to the network and supporting his fellow Franchise Partners. When it comes to plans for the future, for Harsha and Pritesh the sky is the limit! But one thing’s for certain, they feel confident that their future is with ERA.
“We’ve just renewed our 10 year agreement. It was a no-brainer! We really want to keep the momentum and sustain the business growth and really there’s no reason we can’t do that. We plan to diversify and extend our reach even further.
“We’ve perfected our model now and we understand how both of our skill sets can best benefit the business. Pritesh is 100% client facing and I handle all the business administration. My role is to keep all the plates spinning… We make a good team!”