After ten years working in the not-for-profit sector, Garry and Isabel Hooper decided to pack up their old life for a new challenge running their own business. They wanted to be close to family, and were looking for work that would give them a flexible lifestyle and the chance to make a positive impact in their community. They discovered First Class Accounts and soon realised that owning their own franchise would tick all their boxes.
It’s been six months since they started their business, so we caught up with them to find out more about their journey.
What were you looking for before you started your franchise?
Garry: I did some studies in accountancy years ago, but life and work took a different turn so I didn’t use these skills. I’m a real maths guy, so I was looking for a job that would give me the chance to work with numbers. I also wanted work that would give us the flexibility to spend more time with the kids and care for my mum.
Izzy: For 10 years, I’d been working for someone else so I was looking for the chance to create something just for us. I also really like the idea of building up our business to something we can offer the kids a role in (if they’re interested of course!).
Why did you choose First Class Accounts?
In addition to their not-for-profit professional experience, the Hooper’s had also run a hospitality business and learned some valuable lessons as a result. This time, they wanted to make the right choices and get the support needed to improve their chances of success.
Izzy: We know that understanding your customers, getting your marketing right, having robust management systems, staying on top of the latest technology, and setting out your business goals are all crucial to success. First Class Accounts (FCA) were across all of this, had an established brand, and a model that works. So, when it came to running our franchise we could hit the ground running and start achieving our financial goals earlier.
Garry: While I considered other franchise options, they didn’t impress me as much. From the get go FCA were open and genuine. For example, they gave me the numbers of other franchisees so I could hear what the company was like from the horse’s mouth so to speak. Also, FCA head office pulled no punches about how hard the first 12 months would be — their honesty was really refreshing and reassuring.
What support did you get?
Like all new recruits, Garry and Izzy joined First Class Account’s intensive three-month training program designed to teach them the fundamentals of bookkeeping and how to build a thriving franchise business.
Garry: The Kick Start training program is fantastic! During those three months, we learned so much and got unlimited support. Today, we still get help and have a mentor within the company who will call us or visit us every month to answer our questions and see how we’re doing.
Izzy: I didn’t realise I had to become a marketer, but that’s the good thing about the FCA Kick Start program — it was broad and comprehensive. It also inspired us to start our own plan for the 3 months afterwards to help us keep on track – we call it our own ‘Kick On’ plan!
What’s next for the business?
Garry: Over the next 12 months we hope to grow by promoting the business and building on the relationships we’ve made in our new home to secure more clients. While it’s been a steep learning curve and we’re exceptionally busy, I’m enjoying the challenge of building our business and haven’t looked back since we opened the doors.
Izzy: Being a people person, I’ve really enjoyed visiting businesses in our area to spread the word about who we are and what our bookkeeping business offers. I’ve found that people in regional area seem to really value that personal approach, and I look forward to strengthening our existing relationships and making new ones. Both of us feel so motivated and optimistic right now. As a long as we remain focused on our business goals, the needs of our customers, and reach out for support when we need it then I think we’re headed towards a very bright future.
So, if you find yourself dreaming of being your own boss then get in touch here and find out how we can give you the training, support and systems to help make it happen. Tell us where you’re at in your own business journey below – we’d love to hear it!