Expense Reduction Analysts (ERA) has been helping UK businesses save money since 1992. Its network of 150 franchised advisors works closely with organisations that turnover between £5million and £100million, reducing bills in more than 130 areas of business expenditure. It's no surprise then that, at a time when every finance director is under pressure to cut costs and boost profits, ERA's specialist procurement services are experiencing such high demand. In fact, by reducing operating costs for over 2,000 clients since 2008, including prestigious names such as Harrow School and Aston Villa football club, as well as designer Paul Smith and the Royal Academy of Dance, ERA Franchise Partners' revenues have grown 64 percent in five years.
Last year's record turnover of £11.3million maintained ERA's organic year-on-year growth. It was also the first step in the company's strategic five-year plan to increase group revenues to £25million and deliver each Franchise Partner an average income of £160,000 by 2016. An ambitious target, but one that ERA's head of recruitment, Matt O'Neil, says is on track thanks to further investment in marketing and support, and a deliberate cap on new Franchise Partners.
“Since announcing our five-year plan, ERA has set aside more than £400,000 each year to fund an award-winning marketing team employed to generate new business,” says Matt. “They've already been instrumental in helping us become the trusted alliance partner of the British Retail Consortium, as well as using PR campaigns to raise our profile and get in front of key decision makers within our target market.
“We've overhauled our entire training programme too, developing the ERA Training Academy to help new Franchise Partners win more contracts early on. Those new recruits are carefully selected from the best candidates, and we won't take on any more when we reach 200.”
He adds: “ERA already has the highest consultancy revenues of any cost-reduction franchise in the UK, but has 25% fewer Partners than our closest competitor. By capping our numbers and enhancing support, we'll realise our growth ambitions and create more wealth for all our Partners.”
ERA is able to provide expert advice in more than 130 areas of procurement. Typically these savings are shared on a 50/50 basis with clients, generating substantial returns for Franchise Partners. Last year's top earner, Keith Copestake, made more than £440,000 and he's not alone in enjoying a high six-figure income.
ERA is recruiting just 15 new franchise partners this year to join its network of 150 Associates in the UK and Ireland. While candidates don't need procurement experience, they should consider themselves 'white collar' professionals. The company runs free discovery days every month at its head offices in Southampton for parties seriously interested in an ERA consultancy of their own.