Real Business:

After 26 years in the insurance industry, Phil Marshall had had enough so he launched his own Netstationers franchise in the South West and is on track to make £250,000 in his second year of operation.

It wasn’t a breeze, though. Marshall says one of the most challenging aspects of his new, entrepreneurial role was becoming a salesman. “I had no sales experience,” he says.

“In the early days, I think I wasted a lot of time. It probably took me six or seven months to come up with a plan and identify those people who were serious about entering into partnerships with us as opposed to people who wanted to leverage us to go back to their existing suppliers.”

Marshall picked Netstationers, an office supplies franchise, because of the training and support programme it offers. He says: “That personal development helped me sharpen the areas I lacked experience in.”