As a new recruit of five months, Gareth shares his views and experiences on his progress so far as part of the ERA team. He comments on what first attracted him to ERA, the training provided and the support available thereafter.
“ERA appealed as a business that allowed me to achieve results based on my own performance but at the same time – unlike 99% of small businesses – allowed me to draw upon the experiences and networks of more than 100 other associates with varied backgrounds and skills, through whom I could grow my own business, and through my experience I could help grow theirs. This is what first attracted me to join the ERA team,” Gareth comments.
“The most important benefit of the training was the contact with associates and support team members who excel at what they do, they brought direct and relevant experience and examples of behavior directly into perspective. It gave me a real opportunity to understand what activities and efforts were needed to be successful within ERA.
“Every single day of training helped me hone the skills I had brought with me (or hadn't brought with me!) into the ERA business and each day and activity was beneficial to my development as a new ERA associate.
“Whilst operating on my own within my ERA business, I know that there's a support team through head office I can call on any time for guidance or advice and other franchisees who have direct experience and advice to give as an associate, as well as the many other associates and experts we were introduced to over the 5 weeks residential training in Southampton who have all played a part as 'ad-hoc' or unofficial mentors in their own way since I completed my initial training.
“One of the great things about being a part of ERA is being able to define the direction and path that my business should follow to be successful and having the tools and guidance to know how to successfully progress along that path.
“I was surprised at how easy it is as an expert in a particular category - with the relevant determination, drive and thoroughness - to market yourself quickly and with success across the network to develop a range of associates who know who you are and provide you with relevant business opportunities for that specialty. Likewise, having a range of experts who are knowledgeable, ready and willing to contribute to delivering successful projects with my own clients is a really valuable way to continually impress and prove our value to clients and by doing so, improve the revenue earning potential.
“Being self-employed has really forced me to create a focus in everything I do and define priorities in a way that will take the business forwards.
“It has made me more keenly aware that the success of your business is directly related to the dedication, focus and quality of everything you put into it. Taking your eye off the ball in any way leaves you open to missing an opportunity or not being able to achieve your goals or objectives. If you don't work hard to make your business a success when you are self-employed, don't expect it to be one and don't blame anybody else if it isn't.
“Simply put, the Head Office team provides direct and relevant experiences in the areas that are vital to run a successful ERA business. Every single member of the HO team has skills that compliment the rest of that team. Whenever I pick up the phone to seek advice on a particular aspect of business planning, sales, marketing or a project-related matter, I feel confident that the person I talk to will be able to provide me with insights and suggestions that will benefit me specifically in that area in a way that without that contact I wouldn't do as well by myself. Separately, and In a very reassuring way, each member of the team is always ready to make what I can only describe as 'positive internal referrals' around the network to promote concepts, habits or activities that associates that they have had contact with are doing, sharing positive experiences to benefit others.
“On the income side, I'm remunerated for the success I bring to engagements, either through my own work or through the successes of others I introduce to those engagements. Results are directly related to the quality of work that I or my JV partners bring to those profit enhancement programmes.
“On the cost-side, the remuneration of people who work for me on those engagements is paid for out of the savings those people make the client. All my marketing costs (internally or externally) are almost directly measurable against sales success giving great predictability of costs to achieve success. Because it is a virtual organisation, my JV partners are not a cost to my business but play a very direct role in the successes of it.
“The intangible benefits are phenomenal. Whilst there is a wide range of quality of associates in the network, at the very top of the pile there are some real cases of people who drive this organisation forwards - the top performing associates and the head office team to name but 2 groups.
“In the immediate term it's JV prospect meetings in London on Monday, Sheffield on Tuesday, then a project kickoff at one of my own clients in Halifax on Wednesday with two very experienced associates, a regional meeting on Thursday and a prospect meeting in Blackburn on Friday! In my previous career my week would never have looked so varied, or sometimes quite so hectic!
“In the short-medium term - solely based on the experience I have so far - there is definitely the potential to achieve my immediate- and medium-term financial and work-life goals.
“For the long-term, whilst I would not be so confident as to predict at this stage that I can definitely achieve my long-term goals for my business in ERA, I have already come into contact with associates who in one way or another are demonstrating the characteristics of the associate I aspire to be like as part of my longer term business plan and objectives.” Gareth concludes.
“One of the great things about being a part of ERA is being able to define the direction and path that my business should follow to be successful and having the tools and guidance to know how to successfully progress along that path.”