Daryn Dodge launched his Auditel franchise in 2001 and is the proud owner of a rewarding business. Daryn shares his career story in the latest blog from Auditel.
Daryn Dodge launched his Auditel franchise in 2001 and is the proud owner of a business which rewards him both personally and financially. Daryn has well and truly achieved his mission to take control of his own destiny. Able to regulate his work-life balance in a way which sees him make the most of his coastal lifestyle, Daryn revels in both the security and the flexibility his business affords.
His strategy for growth has seen him win and undertake work personally, as well as joint venture with fellow Auditel Consultants, following the ‘Generalist’ business pathway with Auditel whereby he manages most of his own clients and undertakes project management too, ‘joint-venturing’ certain projects with other Auditel franchisees (affiliates) where specialist sector or category knowledge and experience is required. Fees are shared in this way, allowing all affiliates to work closely and play to their own strengths whilst harnessing the expertise of others.
“I wanted to control my own destiny and I do. I’ve never felt more secure than I have done for the last 15 years. My work life balance is very important. Taking the dog for long walks on the beach and being able to play golf in the afternoon is as significant to me as making good money. My business affords me the opportunity to do both.”
Prior to joining Auditel, Daryn’s career spanned several industries and saw him delivering IT systems across the world. His roles culminated in a senior management position with BT before, finally, becoming the head of European Development for an American telecoms service provider. Frequent international travel and an uncertain market eventually led the logical, analytical businessman to an inevitable conclusion.
“I enjoyed the job, but I was sick of the travel. It was also apparent that the bottom was about to fall out of the market. I’d experienced redundancy once before and I didn’t want to fall victim to it again, so I decided it was time to take control. I felt the only way to do that was to start my own businesses. At that time, the biggest hurdle was getting the buy in of my then wife due to the fact that we had three young children and she was, understandably, concerned about the risks of going it alone. Franchising became the obvious choice because of the high success and low failure rates.”
Ever methodical, Daryn compiled checklists prior to investigating what opportunities were available. With a clear roadmap to follow, his preferred option soon became clear: “I made several lists, including niceties and necessities for my new business as well as personal objectives. I included things that I did want, as well as things that I didn’t. I then looked at franchises and completed the checklists for each one – that allowed the head to control the heart and not the other way around. I always knew that I wanted a white-collar franchise because I wanted to be able to use my skills and experiences. There were two that ticked all the important boxes and Auditel came out on top.”
Founded in 1994, the Auditel consultancy service was pioneered to help UK organisations make effective and informed procurement decisions. Auditel Affiliates work closely alongside FDs, CEOs and business owners throughout the UK as a trusted business advisor. Delivering new perspectives and insights for clients, they help to drive change and increase profitability, competitiveness and growth.
Whilst he knew that his background would serve him well as an initial starting point, Daryn planned to build his business through a combination of his own skill and utilising the collective knowledge and experience of the Auditel network. Something which he’d heard about and bought in to – but had a hard time fully believing until he witnessed it in action!
“I felt my background advantageous but my long-term plan was to build multiple revenue streams. I work across a wide range of categories and I’ve joint ventured where necessary to achieve that. In my first five years, I was expanding at such a rate that the majority of what I did was joint venture! Nowadays, what I enjoy most is client management – delighting them with service and outcomes. I pride myself on the fact that two thirds of my clients have been with me for more than 10 years.
“I was told about the benefits of the network before I joined – but I didn’t really believe it. I’ve been astonished at how supportive and collaborative the network is. I thought I would be competing with other Franchise Partners, but we don’t, and the wealth of knowledge you can leverage as a result is incredible. Auditel has a very unusual culture that I have never seen anywhere else. There’s a genuine ethos where everybody is eager to help. People give; you put into the network because you take out of it as well. I found it strange that people were willing to give up their time to help me when I first started but I realised that it’s because they got help when they came in and want to pay it back.”
For Daryn, ‘paying it back’ has included supporting new affiliates by being a mentor and even delivering a specialist workshop on client retention at the annual conference. Over the years, he has channelled his passion for business not only into his own franchise, but into the Auditel model too – helping to develop the brand’s Partnership Programme which he then piloted with a client. Something which now, in its maturity, directly benefits the entire network.
“Auditel has many benefits, and it’s true that they evolve over time as you grow your business. I personally have been able to relocate from East Anglia to Cornwall with no disruption to my clients or my income. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by how much freedom we have in the model. In fact, it’s something that I now discuss with people looking to join the network. Auditel is what I call a true entrepreneurial franchise – you get the training, the tools and the support to build a hugely successful business, and then it’s up to you to get out there and do it. You make the decisions, you have the autonomy and therefore, you get out what you put in.”
Thanks to a solid client base and well-earned reputation amongst his peers, Daryn now balances his time between running his business and supporting his local community – of which he has become a key member. A published Author and regular public speaker, Daryn uses his own inspirational story to raise money for charity.
“I’m actively involved with the Chamber of Commerce and as a volunteer Enterprise Advisor with my local school, Bodmin College. For the last 18 months I’ve been working with their SEN children too – it’s incredibly rewarding. In 2017 I wrote a book called ‘The road to hell via the A194’ which is a true story about how, after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I decided to turn my life around – and upside-down! – by signing up for the Great North Run. I use the money from the book sales to raise money for charity. Of course, all of this is made possible by the flexibility I have in my business.
“My plans for the future are more of the same! I’m 59 now but the thought of retiring just doesn’t sit well. Maybe in a few more years I might look to scale back to three or four days a week but that would simply be to enjoy more golf, more holidays and more walks with the dog on Bodmin Moor – all of which I happily do now!”
The Auditel network is made up of over 100 Franchise Partners – professionals who, like Daryn, come from all walks of life. One thing they do share, is the desire to control their own future and build profitable, scalable businesses with real longevity.
“The satisfaction I get from Auditel is multifaceted – my income, my lifestyle, my relationships with clients and fellow franchise partners. After 18 years I still love what I do and the opportunities it provides.”
To find out more about how Auditel can help you achieve the career you want, please click here to submit an enquiry to receive access to the ‘Auditel Franchise Candidate Portal’ to read a prospectus, watch an array of franchisee videos, and also to watch a ‘Discovery Webinar’.