From British Army to an Army of Pets
Our latest ‘recruit’ (aka franchise business owner) is Dan, who opens his branch of We Love Pets in Swansea.
Dan served our country for 10 years in the British army from the age of 20, leaving when he was 30 in 2014, so as he gets ready to open we held him down to answer some questions:
Being in the army often means a lot of your time is spent around others. Was leaving that kind of environment difficult?
Yes, I found it hard for a long time. You’re never isolated whilst you’re ‘in’. There’s always plenty of like minded people around to do things with and as hard as we worked, we also played hard too.
Where did you work when you left the army?
I got a job with Network Rail over in Norfolk, but transferred over to Cardiff after the first year, so have experienced being ‘employed’, which is very very different to being in the Army.
I’ve spent a long time towards the bottom of the ladder during my working life and therefore worked under many people. I’ve had bad bosses and good. The thing I have always thought is that if I ever was in a position of authority I’d treat my workers fair and expect only what I’d expect for myself. It makes a huge difference if you can work “with” your boss as opposed to “for”. Well, that’s what’s worked for me in the past. If you see your boss working with and for you, you’ll put in that much more effort.
My dad once gave me some advice regarding this in my earlier years. Respect is always better than fear. I aim to mould myself by those words going forward as a business owner and as a manager to staff when I recruit.
Will you have anyone helping you in the business, or are you doing it alone?
I’ve had the full support of my family in the run up to the launch and will have ongoing support when / if needed, and of course the team at We Love Pets Head Office. But ultimately, I’m going it alone. I know the discipline learnt through my time in the army will be a huge asset to making this a success.
What about the funding, did you have savings, family members or did you take out a loan?
I approached Bizbritain for a loan and they’ve covered my initial franchise fee.
What was your biggest fear before opening?
Initially, it was around the pace at which work comes in. But that’s such a generic answer. I’d say my fear ties in with the previous answer. Not having anyone to answer to will be very strange for me for a while I would imagine.
Can you remember the questions you were burning to ask when you met Jo and Ryan to find out more about a We Love Pets franchise?
I had loads. I wanted to start off on the right foot with our meeting so I had pages of questions! But as Ryan introduced himself and the business, I soon found most of them to be answered! What a waste of paper!
Was there a defining moment when you thought “Yes, I’m doing this”?
I’d say it was when I met up with Ryan and Jo. I instantly clicked with them both. The support I’ve had from them, plus the wider team has been something I haven’t been used to in a working environment for some time. I guess that’s one of the elements that make We Love Pets such a success.
Also, when my loan got approved!
And what are you most excited about?
I’m looking forward to making lots of money! No scrap that one! Ultimately, it’s going to be a great feeling starting it all in line with the vision I have and the freedom to run it in the way I would like.
The success of this rests on my shoulders and no one else. It’s a lot of responsibility and I’m looking forward to experiencing both the highs and lows of being in this position. I have a life long love for animals and “We Love Pets” enables me to incorporate this into my working life, whilst enabling a means to maintain a good standard of living.
We have Zephyr (8) who is a Deerhound Lurcher and Foci who is our Colli/Lurcher and the lady of the house. Always poised and proper! She is 9. We lost Fizz, who was also a Deerhound Lurcher just recently, we loved him very much, so it was a very sad time. And finally, Millie (6), the walking fluff ball! Possibly the most laid back cat you’ll ever meet!
And now I get to add to my family of animals by enjoying everyone else’s pets! I can’t wait to get started.
If you’re in the Swansea area get in touch with Dan today to find out more.