Lasha Laski came to the UK from the Republic of Georgia in 2003, looking for change and to achieve something great. Lasha soon realised that having his own business was the achievement he sought, and he now owns an InXpress franchise in Southampton, UK. Here he tells us his fantastic story – from coming to the UK knowing only one person, to now owning one of the top 20 franchises in the global network.
I arrived in the UK on 17 July 2003 with a plan to decide what to do with my life! I had no family here, just one friend, so it was a daunting time. I quickly found work in the property management industry and although it wasn’t my dream job, it helped me to save and it made me realise that I wanted to have my own business rather than run someone else’s.
In 2008, having been in various other job roles, I started researching the franchise industry and I was introduced to the InXpress business model. Straightaway, it felt like a good fit for me and I liked the concept and the people and I believed in the vision of the owners. I managed to pay for the franchise using the savings I had built up since arriving in the UK and then I borrowed the rest. I put everything into the business!
In February 2009 my franchise was active, and I immediately attended the week long InXpress Boot Camp. I distinctly remember coming back from this training programme and feeling scared and apprehensive about the reality of running my franchise – I had no sales or industry experience – but I realised I just needed to throw myself into the business.
The early days were tough, but I learnt as much as I could and had mentoring from other franchisees. I could see that they were doing well by following the model, so I just needed to do the same. I hired a telemarketer and started to build up my customer base. My wife Barbara – who I had started the business with – managed the customer service so that I could focus on sales.
Two years after I bought my franchise, I was able to hire a sales rep, Lee Thompson who still works with me and is now a very good friend. The team now consists of four full time customer service representatives plus Lee and Eric Chapman who helps with sales management and running the business. Barbara only works part time when help is needed. I still work in the business and, thankfully, can mostly work remotely from our homes in either the Czech Republic (where Barbara is from) or the Republic of Georgia.
Owning an InXpress franchise has enabled me to have more free time to spend with my wife and young children, whilst giving us the financial means to fulfil our dreams – such as building our own house. Not only has it changed my life financially though, it has also helped me to create some great friendships and memories with the team.