“My franchise has changed my life. I make great money, love what I do and as a direct result of the business, my husband and I have been able to pursue our hobby of property development.
The flexibility I’ve gained means that I can work around the needs of our disabled son whilst building a legacy that will ensure that he has a support system in place for the rest of his life.”
Lorraine Gannon has been running her Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) franchise since 2011. After just five years she is one of the network’s top performing franchisees and was recently voted ‘Consultant of the Year’ by her fellow franchisees for her contribution to the network; as an expert, a mentor for new franchisees, a valued colleague and friend.
“I can’t even believe it’s been five years, it’s just flown by. They do say time flies when you’re having fun! I confess I still feel like a newbie some days. But that’s the beauty of the network, you’re never alone and everyone is always pleased to offer advice and support. It’s what being part of a franchise is all about really.”
Prior to becoming an ERA franchisee, Lorraine had an impressive career as a qualified accountant. Her 18 years’ experience spanned both corporate and public sectors as well as a period of being co-owner and financial director of a chain of hotels and restaurants. Sadly, like so many others, Lorraine grew to dread the daily grind and became frustrated and demotivated by endless office politics.
“I’d worked in corporate all my life by the end I hated it! I was probably one of the few people who was glad when I was made redundant. After that I went into the public sector as Chief Accountant in a government animal health agency. But I wound up being miserable there. Red tape, office politics and a seemingly constant change of management and structure. You never knew where you were from one day to the next.
“The last straw for me was being promoted one Friday. Sounds great you might think but I went home and celebrated, as you would expect. Only to find that the following Monday morning the Financial Director had changed again and my promotion was reversed. It was heartbreaking and infuriating.”
Lorraine and her husband have two young children, Charlotte and Ben. Ben suffers from a disability and as a result, needs extra care and supervision. As he gets older, the level of care required and the support he will need will only increase. It was this fact, alongside Lorraine’s desire to escape a job in which she felt frustrated and unfulfilled, that led her to think about being in business for herself.
“I realised that living with Ben’s disability was going to get harder. Moving to a secondary school that was further away meant travel and timings to consider. As he gets older there are more appointments to attend and things generally become more complicated. My husband is a police officer so has very little flexibility. It was obvious really that something would have to change. It was at that point I realised it might be an opportunity to do something that would benefit us all.”
Having already had previous business ownership experience, Lorraine knew that to start a business from scratch would be very difficult. During her research she found franchising as a route to ownership and realised that with a proven model and support team, a franchised business was much more likely to be a success.
“It would have been the most obvious thing to do but I didn’t want to run my own accountancy business because I don’t like Tax. I knew I wanted something with a corporate focus because that’s the environment and audience I was used to dealing with. I found franchising and started looking at white collar opportunities.
“ERA was a perfect fit for me. The consultancy angle ticked all the boxes. What attracted me most though was their approach to growth. They made it very clear that they are already an established network so they look to grow franchisee’s businesses rather than the number of franchisees. So they become more profitable by growing the income of franchisees. That’s very special.”
ERA is the UK and Ireland’s leading procurement franchise. Our franchisees are expertly trained to enable organisations to save money and boost business performance through effective procurement, improved supplier management and smarter spending habits.
ERA’s award-winning program of training and support is designed 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.
“I got my first client one week after I completed the training because I followed the model to the letter! The ongoing support is great, there’s so many ways to answer any questions you have! Depending on where I have a challenge I go to new business workshops or I chat to other people in the network for new angles on marketing. Your franchisor can’t do everything for you but they certainly try to make sure you have all the tools and support possible!”
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.
“I’ve been most surprised to discover that I’m good at things like sales and marketing when I’m from a number crunching background. It’s been a real revelation for me. I thought I would be a project specialist but I’m full time sales now and loving it!”
Being part of the ERA network is about more than just being in business with the best, as Lorraine found out in 2014: “A personal highlight of being part of the ERA family for me was when the head office team approached me to ask if they could do something for my son. I was a bit overwhelmed to be honest. There’s always something you can buy for a disabled child, the equipment is very expensive. People got together and did a charity bike-ride from Edinburgh to Southampton to raise money. It was really humbling. I was so touched that they did it. As a result we were able to buy an off-road wheelchair for Ben that can go on the beach. It’s amazing.”
With her initial goals well and truly smashed, Lorraine has her sights set on building a business that will act as both pension-pot and legacy for her children.
“I would never go back to working for someone. I love being able to implement my own strategy and grow. I always wanted that direct relationship between how much effort I put in versus how much I earn. And now I have it!