For Diana Wilson, moving to business ownership wasn’t easy – she worked for the same company for 14 years before deciding to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. She then bought Bebrite, a cleaning franchise that quickly made her one of its most successful operators. Bebrite is a large cleaning franchise with 190 franchises in NSW, ACT and QLD. The company provides regular and one-off cleaning for offices, carpets, and windows, and also makes environmentally friendly cleaning products. Diana and her husband, Jay, both had corporate positions. He was a corporate consultant and she worked as an Environment Manager at Blackmores. It was by default that they became involved in the franchising business after Jay was investigating franchises as part of his due diligence. He knew nothing about franchising, so he made some enquiries into a number of different franchisors and found one looking to expand in NSW and QLD. Jay and Diana decided they would run the franchise as a sideline, but it quickly became obvious that it could become very successful.
“We left our corporate jobs to concentrate on the business. We were given the brand name and little else. There was no presence or advertising or franchisees when we started. We built it from scratch!”
Since taking over operations of the business in 1995, the two have managed to sell over 420 franchises and they continue to be successful today. Diana’s favourite aspect of running the business is the people whom she can connect and share stories with. Over the years, she has heard many heartwarming stories from people from different countries who have not been able to work in their chosen industries or professions when they immigrated to Australia.
“People are my passion and the business of people is a passionate business. You have to love people, you have to engage with people, and you need people to place their trust in you. People need to know you will deliver the goods, and that your franchise is safe and secure and can produce the work.”
Before beginning her successful franchise, Diana wishes she received advice and support with finance (including budgeting), marketing, and the Internet. She highly recommends gaining skills and knowledge in those areas, and especially notes that the Internet and social media, and selling and marketing will help those starting their own business or franchise.
Diana Wilson’s advice for starting up a business:
- Capitalise sufficiently.
- Be prepared to work very hard.
- Understand budgets, cost of sales, and return on investment.