Winson George has been a franchisee in Australia since 2012, having moved to the country from Saudi Arabia, in 1999, where he had previously worked as Country Manager for Saudi Arabia for Trans World Airlines Inc. As Winson explains here, moving to a new country and starting a franchise was a huge leap of faith and the road has been rocky along the way, but it has certainly paid off!
"After arriving in Australia on 6 April 1999, I became immersed in the world of UPS. There I honed my skills and experience of the courier industry. Along the way I earned several accolades, including a mention in the ‘Hall of UPS World Champions’ 2008. It was at UPS, that I met and worked with Jason Hand, who many years later, was the catalyst for me buying an InXpress Franchise."
Jason introduced InXpress to me in early 2011 as he was now a franchisee (#102) , successfully running his business alongside his beautiful wife Wendy. I spent a week in their offices, learning how they ran their franchise in sunny Brisbane. On my return to Melbourne, I crunched the financial numbers and came up with only half the money required to buy my own franchise – and even that money was coming from my mortgage withdrawal facility!
Deciding to be bold, with half the money I needed, I approached the franchisor, who after considering my courier background and my enthusiasm, agreed to a repayment plan which would enable me to have full ownership in one years’ time. Unfortunately, this was not to be! Despite being the Class Champion at Boot Camp in February 2012, selling a little-known InXpress to the Melbourne market was not easy. There were weeks, months and years when I had not earned enough from the business to make ends meet. I could not stick to my repayment plan and didn’t have enough to pay the bills. My wife Elizabeth’s salary was used to pay the mortgage. Things became even harder, when Lindsay Birley, CEO Asia Pacific joined the business and, rightfully, wanted to see growth in my business and full repayment of the balance I owed. The situation was desperate. Four years as a franchisee and there was nothing, I felt proud about. I was on the verge of giving up.
I was reading a self-help book about running a business though, and it said that the make or break point, will come in the fifth year. If after that, you cannot see growth and profit, then you might as well ditch the whole thing and look elsewhere. I decided to give it another year.
It was during this time, that I started to understand the true value of InXpress, and why customers want to do business with us. Customer Service, which had always been the backbone of service industries, had now become a costly and unprofitable (i.e. no commercial value) department to run in many organisations, who have substituted it with Artificial Intelligence and outsourcing. Customers had to make several calls to several entities, all whilst getting more frustrated because they could never seem to get the right answers. I realized that my customers stayed with me because of the level of service I offered and because I had become their go-to person for freight related questions, as well as building strong relationships with them which meant I had become extended members of their teams. This changed my attitude towards them which in turn changed the conversations I started to have with them that became more relationship than business oriented. As the trust factor grew, business grew too.
In 2018, I walked away with three awards at the InXpress Hobart Annual Convention in Tasmania, including an award for joining the $250K Club.
Stepping out with faith and boldness is a precursor to great things. Add in, the attitude of wanting to help other businesses grow and that makes it even greater. May this tale of a leap of faith, encourage those who will read this tiny story”.