Having been made redundant from a 20 year career during lockdown, Matt Strutt used the opportunity to re-evaluate his life. He found InXpress would soon enable him to achieve his new goals. His only regret? Not being one of the 99 franchisees who discovered the franchise before him.
Like many people, the unforeseen impact of this year took Matt Strutt by surprise. But it ended up becoming a pivotal moment in his career. “When I graduated from university, I went straight into work, initially at Gatwick, before moving to a large American brand,” he says. “I loved working with people, specifically in a Customer Services role. But, I also learned some valuable lessons on my climb up the ladder. Lessons which enhanced the business degree I’d attained. I learned from the bottom up: frontline services and back office operations; before becoming Director of Operations for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and EMEA Head of Sales Development, back down in West Sussex.”
Then, in the spring of 2020, the company took a hit because of the Global Covid-19 pandemic. “It was a painful time,” the father of four explains. “I’d spent most of my career on the corporate treadmill and, as a result, had sacrificed so much over the years – like moving my family up to Scotland, and back down to Sussex. So, although it was a difficult time, the redundancy forced me to take a long, hard look at what I really wanted. I’d always wanted to run my own business: I liked the freedom I perceived being my own boss would give me, and knew I wasn’t prepared to become just another employee. The redundancy, in this respect, gave me a kick in the right direction.”
Quite a few people, dream of running their own business. But only a handful are able to actually put these dream into action. “I never had the bottle to step out on my own,” Matt continues. “And in all honesty, knowing it takes two or three attempts before anyone is really successful, I didn’t have time to do this. I recognised within franchising, I’d have the best of both worlds: Running my own business, with the support of people who knew what was involved. The only thing I had to do, was find the right brand to suit me, and my family.” Which is when Matt came across InXpress.
InXpress supports customers with reliable shipping solutions. Having established relationships with trusted courier partners, over the last 21 years, they offer a fully scalable model you can grow at your own pace. “InXpress stood out to me as a respectable brand with a clear identity. My wife, Gemma, read some of the reviews online, because this is something we will grow together. Even though she also runs her own business, she’ll support me with marketing and some of the customer calls we both excel at. We could see the network was authentically thriving, and people genuinely enjoyed their businesses; it wasn’t just empty marketing spiel. I identified with InXpress, knowing we would be providing SMEs with a genuine solution for reliable shipping. Plus, it sat well with my previous experience and love of delivering a customer-centric service. I really do wish I’d been brave enough to find InXpress, earlier. I’m already jealous of the other 99 franchisees.”
Becoming the 100th franchisee to join InXpress, Matt felt confident he’d made the right choice. “InXpress provides a very successful formula, great training, and – importantly for me – the ongoing support to help me achieve my goals. I’ve led big teams; I like having people around me who know what they’re talking about. InXpress has people who definitely know what they’re doing, and I have been genuinely surprised by the kindness and willingness of the network, to share their knowledge and time with me. I’ve even been paired with one of the established franchise owners, Mark Fry, to mentor me. His experiences mirrored mine, and I can see myself in him, so I can relate to what he’s achieved.”
Perhaps because of his previous experiences, Matt is under no illusions he has work to do, if he’s to reach the goals he has set out for InXpress Gatwick, and for his personal future. “I’m super confident in the business model,” he says. “The only thing I am unsure of, is how long it will take me to hit my targets! I have options on the table, which I didn’t have before. I can inspire one of my children, if they want to, to take over the business in the future. I can now flex my time, to enjoy some of the hobbies I am passionate about, like sea-fishing or supporting my local football team. I can provide employment through my business. And I can, essentially, exceed the expectations of my both myself, and my family.”
Although he is starting his new business from his home office, using his two dogs as a sounding board, Matt has already identified clear goals he is working towards over the next two to five years. With the support of his mentor, Mark, his business coach, and the InXpress Support Team, Matt is determined, with Gemma beside him, to be a great example for the next 100 franchisees.