Journey from corporate restructures to franchise owner

After a long period in corporate, a restructure led Suzanne Joliffe to a business of her own. Then, another corporate direction shift meant another big change from a successful licensed business and into a franchise (Bedshed) serving a totally different market!

Suzanne Bedshed Rutherford Franchise Journey Store Front With Team Franchise Buyer

Suzanne wanted to pursue a practical career in a field where she could help others. She joined NRMA Insurance in their claims department where she stayed for 23 years, leading a large team and supporting Australians through various natural disasters.

Suzanne said, “I discovered 2 things about myself in this time with NRMA. 

Firstly I had a strong desire to lead a team… and secondly I loved helping customers and going above and beyond to deliver an amazing customer experience.”

Corporate restructure leads to her own business 

Suzanne wanted to take her leadership skills and apply them to her own business. When NRMA restructured, she came across the opportunity to own a Telstra store. 

She and her husband John got the store licence and opened a new store in Salamander Bay, NSW in 2009. Passion led to success and they expanded their business with a second store in Raymond Terrace in 2012, becoming the local face for Telstra in Port Stephens for the next 10 years.

Suzanne Bedshed Rutherford Franchise Journey Franchise Buyer

Telstra tap gets turned-off

In February of 2021, Telstra announced it would be buying back all of its licensed stores. Not ones to be knocked down for long, Suzanne and John immediately began looking at other franchise opportunities.

“The name Bedshed kept appearing in our many searches and we felt this was a bit of an omen, so decided to investigate further”. 

In May 2021 they took a trip to Perth and met the Bedshed team. After learning about the operation of the business and the franchise model they made the exciting decision to buy in.

The Rutherford Bedshed store was born on Boxing Day, 2021. Rutherford was an ideal location, a gateway to the Hunter Valley that was booming with new housing development and young families.

According to Suzanne, “There were times we doubted we could meet our Boxing day opening, but with the amazing help of the Bedshed team, our own store team and our builder, we opened in time for the sales.”

The ‘4-Value’ model

Suzanne knew that with a small team, choosing the right people with a shared vision would be imperative to their success. 

She had established the Telstra business around a set of values they lived and breathed and so she transferred this model to her Bedshed business.

“4 values were always at the forefront of conversations:

  • Value our customers
  • Value each other
  • Value our jobs
  • Value knowledge and learning

I love the power of demonstration and in both of these industries this was a big advantage… It was just the size of the product that changed significantly!”

Suzanne Bedshed Rutherford Franchise Journey With Team Internal Store Franchise Buyer

Suzanne’s inspiration and advice 

Most of Suzanne’s business mentors come from the sporting world.

“A sporting leader whose simplistic approach to leadership and coaching is Craig Bellamy, coach of the Melbourne Storm. I often find myself watching his interviews with intrigue and admire the simplicity of his business model and the incredible success he has had as a coach.”

Suzanne says the biggest secret to success in any franchise journey is building a successful partnership. Working to fully understand and appreciate where the Franchisor is coming from and understanding how you fit in their view of business success is imperative.