Nathan Bilijam, Wijnand Wieling and brothers Stijn and Jesse Zwart bought their InXpress franchise in Friesland, the Netherlands, in June 2018. Here, Nathan tells us their story so far and why buying a business with friends doesn’t have to mean mixing business with pleasure!
“It was Jesse who brought the idea of buying a joint franchise to myself and Stijn. A friend of ours owned an InXpress franchise, but he had become ill and needed to step away from it. Jessee didn’t want to buy this on his own, and we agreed it was a great opportunity for us all, so we took over the franchise in June 2018. Wijnand was travelling at the time, but bought into this later on.
All four of us had always had an ambition to run our own businesses but we also know how hard it is to start from nothing. With a franchise, you get the support and training you need to make a success of your business, with a proven model. That is not to say that it’s easy – the first few months in particular were tough as we needed to build up our customer base – but after a few months, we started to see the results of our lead generation activities and the future possibiltiies.
At the moment, we are all doing everything within the business, as it’s important that we all have knowledge of this and the processes. In the future though, we plan to designate specific roles to each of us, depending on what we are best at and what we enjoy the most. That is the beauty of having your own business! Personally, I love the contact with customers, so I am likely to work on the service side.
Already, we are reaping the benefits of being business owners. We all still work part time in the jobs were doing before buying into the franchise, but even now there is more freedom to use our time as we see fit. Day-to-day life is more relaxed compared to being employed full time, and the fact that we can work from anywhere with just a phone and a laptop brings flexibility to our lives that wasn’t previously there.
Our long term goal is to buy a second InXpress franchise and for us to all be earning a high residual income all so that we can start working full time across the two businesses.
Starting a business together as friends is not always advisable – the old saying says that you shouldn’t mix business with pleasure – but whilst we had some early challenges, we have been able to keep the business and our friendship separate! The future looks bright”.