An Edinburgh businesswoman who overcame a life-threatening accident to grow a £1 million turnover business has been shortlisted for a national award.
Fran Maclean is one of three finalists in the ‘Older Business’ category of the 2015 bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards after being nominated for her successful chain of Pitman Training centres.
Maclean, who now oversees six Pitman Training franchises across Edinburgh and Glasgow, joined the company in 1987 when typewriters were the main piece of equipment.
She’s since become an early adopter of technological advances and has embraced e-testing, online learning and digital marketing.
Maclean, who now employs 17 staff, has also pioneered a number of Pitman Training initiatives including payment plans for students and flexible diploma courses.
Her training centre was the first to host exams – a venture which now accounts for 10% of Pitman business nationally.
Maclean’s business has a projected annual turnover for 2015/16 of more than £1million and a projected profit of over £140,000.
But it hasn’t all been plain sailing.
Maclean fell 40ft down a cliff while on holiday in the Canary Islands in 2012 and suffered 10 broken bones, as well as a punctured lung and damaged spleen.
She says her first thought after the fall was ‘how will the business continue?’
“After I had my accident, I was lying in the trauma ward. I had just watched the Paralympics a couple of months previously and had been amazed by their courage and achievements,” says Maclean.
“This gave me inspiration to accept my misfortune and to work hard at recuperation to achieve the most positive outcome that I could.
“It was a slow process but, after three years, I have gradually managed to get back to doing everything I had previously done, ie work, cycling, golf, and even windsurfing.
“You always have to look on the bright side of life, and good things have come out of my accident. Business-wise, it has meant that others in the company have had to get on with taking more responsibility and not relying on me so much, as they were somewhat thrown in at the deep end when I was absent from work.
“Personally, I have learnt Spanish while doing my physio (which I still do on a daily basis) and I now appreciate even the simplest things in life much more.
“Pitman is a brand which has been trusted for generations. Believing in our system of training and loving what I do makes my passion shine through to potentials customers.
“It has been important to have an open mind to developments and changes and to adapt to these and not to get stuck in a rut. I always listen to my prospective customers and strive to satisfy their requirements through adapting our offering for them as best I can whether this is through innovation or explanation.”
The bfa (British Franchise Association) awards have been designed to showcase diversity and excellence in the franchise sector and encourage businesses of all sizes and sectors to demonstrate their outstanding achievements.
The winners will be announced at a black tie dinner on October 1 at the Town Hall, Birmingham.