Michael Sheene – Bright & Beautiful Newbury
After 30 years of building a successful career in sales, Mike Sheene decided to fulfil a lifelong ambition of becoming his own boss. He took over an existing Bright & Beautiful location in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. “I had been thinking about retiring from sales for some time since I always felt that selling was very much a young person’s game. To grow a business for myself and particularly to have created something tangible that I could pass on to someone else really appealed to me, which is why I decided to start my own business.
“While I knew I had the financial acumen to make my business a success, I felt that joining a franchise would be the smarter decision as I would be supported by a team of experts to help supplement those skills that I was lacking, such as marketing, HR etc.”
Mike began extensively researching different franchises and, after meeting Bright & Beautiful founder Rachel Ray and managing director Sue Moore at a franchising show, Mike was sold on starting his own Bright & Beautiful business. “I was so affected by Sue and Rachel’s level of professionalism and their clear passion for the business, that I felt I was surely onto a winner. Many of the other online companies I looked into weren’t long-term sustainable, whereas I’d always felt that housekeeping was never an industry that could ever be overtaken by online companies and would always be in demand.”
Since investing, Mike has enjoyed a steady stream of growth, having doubled his workforce to almost 30 trusted professional housekeepers and, most recently, Mike has begun expanding his business into Marlborough with plans in place to move into a second premises in the coming years. While Mike is very pleased with the results he has seen in such a short time frame, what he enjoys most about owning a Bright & Beautiful franchise is helping his local community.
“It’s so fulfilling to see the impact we have on our client’s daily lives and how we help to make their day to day that bit easier. I also loved seeing the team grow and helping members of staff develop their confidence.”
While Mike thoroughly enjoys being a business owner, there have certainly been challenges along the way. He states that his biggest challenge was the initial start-up of the business. “Without a doubt, the first 12 weeks were the hardest. Having to learn on your feet while feeling totally overwhelmed was stressful to say the least. Luckily, I had plenty of support, not just from friends and family but also from the entire Bright & Beautiful support team who were always there to guide me through the tough settling in stage.
“I would argue that the volume of support you receive from head office is the greatest part of joining a franchise organisation. Neighbourly, in particular, are a very proactive franchisor and are always eager to provide tactical support when needed with genuine warmth. Additionally, there is a strong support network among the franchisee community; having someone to share your concerns and successes with is such a comfort.”
Running his own business has certainly been an eye-opening experience for Mike and has allowed him to learn a lot about himself. “I’ve really felt myself grow since becoming a business owner and feel a stronger sense of personal worth; through all the hurdles I’ve have to overcome and all the tough periods I’ve had to endure, I know that ultimately I will be successful on whatever I set my mind to. I’ve also learnt the true meaning of teamwork – far more so that when I was in sales – and how valuable teamwork is to maintain a happy work environment and keeping the business running smoothly.”
Mike advises that anyone looking into starting a franchise should do plenty of due diligence. “Make sure you thoroughly investigate the franchise you are looking into and scour the market. Try to meet the other franchisees – if the franchisor does not actively encourage you to meet its franchisees or even tries to distract you from doing so, this should be a massive red flag and a clear indicator that this is not a franchise you want to invest in.”