King of the garden – Red letter day
King of the garden? Well, with all the buzz around the upcoming coronation, and the fact that our monarch loves all things gardening, you would probably think we are referencing King Charles.
However, we are actually talking about our very own King, Chris King! Chris runs his Ed’s business in Norwich (South). He has also just had his own very significant day. Chris has just celebrated his first anniversary of being an Ed’s business owner. Chris also loves all things gardening and was more than happy to share his experience of his first year at the helm of his Ed’s business. We caught up with Chris on a lovely, sunny spring day when he was ‘en plein air’ and he was quite amused by our regal analogies. He was also more than happy to have a quick chat. And so, here we have our very own King’s speech…
King of the garden – Chris King
“I can’t quite believe that a year has passed since I did my very first Ed’s gardening job. I remember it so well – a lot of excitement and a generous pinch of nervousness. However, I still visit that customer frequently so I must have done okay.”
(We would definitely agree with the ‘King of the garden’ title, if these stripes are anything to go by…)
Back to the very beginning
“I was a groundsman before I joined Ed’s. Certainly I really enjoyed many aspects of my job but I was ambitious and wanted to run my own show. Importantly, I loved the outdoors and knew quite a bit about lawns yet running my own business was a very different prospect. I also had guaranteed earnings and, whilst I knew that running any business would be a bit more unpredictable than that, the upside is substantially better too. I was comfortable with stepping out on my own but only if my risk were controlled.”
“When I asked myself the same question before I joined, my answer was ‘why on earth not?’ Ed’s gave me a sense of confidence right from the first point of contact. I felt reassured and in good hands. Of course they knew what it took to run a good garden franchise business as they had many business owners doing just that! Why should I be any different? I knew I had the right attitude to succeed. I just needed the right franchise to support me. The fit with Ed’s was excellent and the business model was second to none.”
Did you get off to a smooth start?
“I absolutely did. It couldn’t have run more smoothly. I found the joining process very thorough and it was good that there was no pressure to commit to anything. I think that it’s good that Ed’s commits to making sure that a potential new business owner is the right person for the franchise. They also make sure that Ed’s is the right business for the individual. I think that two way analysis is really important. The fit is right from the start, which makes everything more straightforward once you get started.”
The highs points and challenges?
” Oh I have had many highs. I love the ongoing thrill of building a business that is actually mine and that I can be proud of. That gives me a permanent high! I absolutely do work hard. However, I know that it is my family and me that directly benefit from that. When I was a groundsman I really enjoyed the content of my job. However, now I enjoy my job, the framework around it and all the opportunities it offers. It’s a completely different thing. There are lots of gardening jobs that I get a real kick from. I love the transformation of gardens. When you go in and the garden is a bit of a mess and you turn it around. Customers are so grateful for work well done and I thrive on my interactions with them.”
Any stand out high points?
“If I have to think about one specific high point, it would be when I reached my first anniversary. When you start with Ed’s you have a first year business plan that is a useful big picture yardstick when you are concentrating on the nuts and bolts of running your business. It was great to get to the end of my first year and realise that I was fully on track and really getting ahead with my business. I knew I loved doing it but that was the concrete proof that it was most definitely financially viable too.”
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
“Probably the unusually hot weather last summer. It was a bit of a challenge as I had hoped I would be mowing more but it was too hot for the grass to grow for a while. Even though on the face of it that was a challenge, it was so helpful to be able to draw on the experience of seasoned business owners and find out how they dealt with it within their own businesses. It all worked out just fine. Although the summer presented some challenge, autumn and winter were great and so busy. I was able to more than make up for the summer glitch. People assume gardening is seasonal and that demand is concentrated in spring and summer. The truth is that activities vary to some extent with the seasons but demand is there throughout the year. I was mowing until Christmas last year.”
Any hidden advantages or disadvantages?
“Yes, the flexibility of running an Ed’s business is fantastic. It is something that is talked about before you join but it didn’t really register with me until I started running my business. Whenever you need to take some time for personal reasons, you just can. No questions asked. Just support. That makes a world of difference to your life and you really can’t put a price on it. “
King of the garden – Conclusions?
” Ed’s has been the best career move for me by a country mile. First of all, I love what I do. Secondly, I love how the franchise supports and treats me. I also love the potential of my business. Finally, I love the fact that it didn’t cost a king’s ransom (sorry for the pun!) to join and my business wasn’t encumbered with heavy set-up costs. It all just fits together and works like clockwork for me. I would make the choice to join Ed’s again in a heartbeat.”
We thanked Chris for his honest and open reflections and let him get back to his public engagements. We wish him every success for his second year in the driving seat.