I really can’t believe where the time has gone! It was October 10th 2010 when the Extra Help website first went live and we started taking on clients in Milton Keynes. Sarah and I had been working behind the scenes for four months beforehand, planning and setting up the business …
The idea for Extra Help started over a glass of wine! No surprise to those of you who know Sarah and I well.
As I said the time has flown by, I now live in Plymouth after moving to Saltash, Cornwall originally in September 2010. I then set up the East Cornwall franchise in January 2011, closely followed by the Plymouth franchise later that year.
In May 2013 Louise Pen-Collings joined our team to help run the Plymouth franchise, Louise has been a godsend and is now our Franchisee Manager. Looking after our franchisees all over the country. Louise has been nominated and runner up twice within the last year for Employee of the Year awards, she definitely a winner in our eyes and does a fantastic job.
Samantha Smith and Lauren Grant recently joined us, Lauren in Milton Keynes and Samantha in Plymouth.
“During those four years it hasn’t all been plain sailing!”
We have had more than our fair share of heartache and problems to deal with. Sarah had two small children when we set up the business and I was a single parent with three children to support. George, Sarah’s youngest at the time developed a digestive condition which hospitalised him on a few occasions, thankfully during this time we found our first franchisee, who took over the Milton Keynes franchise, leaving Sarah time to care for George.
In 2012 I lost both of my parents, my dad passed away unexpectedly after a five week stay in hospital closely followed by my mum six weeks later. I’m an only child and was so thankful at the time to have a great business partner and fantastic business model which allows me to work when I was able.
The tough times didn’t end there, in Dec 2013 Demi Rose was born, Sarah’s sixth child. To say it was a difficult pregnancy would be an understatement. Sarah really didn’t know for most of her pregnancy whether Demi would be alive or seriously disabled when she was born. Thankfully she was fine apart from a cleft lip and pallet.
Obviously this was hard for Sarah and her partner Tony, throwing up lots of new challenges. To date Demi has had two operations and is a happy, gorgeous, smiley little girl.
“Through all these challenges we’ve kept the business running smoothly, we are very lucky our franchisees and employees share our passion and pride for Extra Help!”
As a company we are approved by Which? Trusted Traders and lots of our franchisees are now approved with their local buy with confidence and support with confidence schemes. We were semi-finalist in the Venus awards for Devon and I am very proud to be runner up in the Plymouth Herald ‘entrepreneur of the year award.’ A great year to date.
The business is thriving, more franchisees in the pipeline and we are all looking forward to the next four years!
Until next time …