An Interview with Steve Wanstall, it'seeze Stevenage franchisee
Steve Wanstall is one of our new franchisees at it'seeze. He'll be operating in the Stevenage territory. In January, Steve made the trip to the Torquay head office to undergo his training week, during which he sat down with Social Media Executive, Aidan, to discuss his journey to becoming an it'seeze franchisee. 
Steve Wanstall, it'seeze Stevenage, sat at a table in an office with two members of it'seeze staff

 What initially drew you to it'seeze as a franchise opportunity? 

Fantastic question. In all fairness, initially, I engaged with it’seeze over 10 years ago. I've been interested in the franchise concept of working for yourself but not by yourself. I actually bought a franchise probably 25 years ago in selling commercial property, but it was a bit of a mistake because the training wasn't very good, there were no people, there was no support and it didn't work.  
I still love the franchise concept, what was more important for me was to work with doing something I really would potentially enjoy doing, and secondly, working with great people, and hopefully having a great product which delivers great outcomes for customers of web design, it appealed to my creative side.  
I'm not a technical person, but I would say I am a creative thinker, so I love that creative process. I love what a company's brand vision and their philosophy is and what gives them a competitive edge and the daylight between what they do and what the competitors do. So, I engaged initially with the business a long time ago and more recently went through the process.  
The discovery process was done online because of COVID. My area wasn't available and literally that was it. It was game over. My area's not available. I had to take another area that I didn't live in because you could only operate in a geographic area. It made sense to work in my geographic area. And the opportunity came in 2024 to take on my region and the conversation started up and the discovery day won me over.  
I came down [to head office] and I spoke to one of the other existing franchisees about his experience and he said exactly the same. So, my research kind of led me here. It ticked the boxes from a product proposition, the type of work and everything else. I had a great day with the key people at it'seeze and I was sold and that was it. It really, for me, ultimately comes down to people. 
Steve Wanstall, it'seeze Stevenage, sat at a table with a laptop

 How will your previous experience help you be a success at it'seeze? 

Another great question. So, my success has been in the financial services space and not everything has been successful because you can't get everything right every time. But I for example worked with a business that was on its knees and was launching a new proposition in the financial services space the Chief Executive brought me in, and what I needed to do was work out where the business did have a competitive edge, where it differentiated, what the target audience needed to look like, because we were very small, there was only 20 staff, and we were up against firms like LV in our product space and arena. So, what I had to do was work out a strategy that enabled me to find high yield activity. Every bit of my time was focused on doing stuff that would generate results and it didn't always go right. From that, I launched financial services products that won awards.  
I guess a point I'm getting to, I think with what I've done historically, my ability to go out and win business was based on the fact that I like talking to people, I like understanding their business and what excites them in their business, what their vision is, how they differentiate, what they want to do to differentiate. I've had websites done for me before and I've overseen websites being done when I've worked in a company and I've often provided copy and ideas, which I love. So, I think because I love that creative process and I enjoy meeting people that do have a passion about their business and what makes them tick. I have had success in converting that into business, which has then gone on to win awards. So, the process and the creative stuff is great, but you've still got to win the business.  
A lot of people go through a big process, a sales process, and at the end, maybe don't achieve what the outcome is that they want to see. Because they've never actually said, will you buy this from me? Ultimately I think it really comes down to the fact that if you genuinely are interested in that, the people, the person, the company you're talking to, it will come across and people like that and that's, you know, if it's not genuine it comes across that you're just there to make money, I think some people work like that and some people will buy from people like that, but it's not my style and I think that if I can bring that to this arena, that might help. 

 So, you're really looking forward to getting to know the client, their business and helping out the people in your local area? 

Absolutely. Yeah. It's about seeing what excites people and what makes them tick and not all businesses are necessarily like that. Not all business leaders are like that. It just becomes a day-to-day thing and they just go through the motions. I'm just naturally interested in people, their brand, their vision, the big idea, what's next, where they could go. Everyone's got a different journey. 
People often say to me, you've asked me something that no one's ever asked me. And I'm like, I can't believe no one has ever asked you that. Because to me that's the biggest thing, you know, why haven't you done this? Have you ever thought about doing it this way? And it's like, no one's ever said that! So, yeah, I think I have a different approach. It won't appeal to everyone because we're all different. 
Steve Wanstall, it'seeze Stevenage, sat at a table in an office with two members of it'seeze staff

 What other support have you received from it'seeze, potentially the first time you spoke to us 10 years ago to recently now you've come for a discovery day and spoken to Alex? 

Yeah, in terms of the support from the business, I think that was really useful for me. The discovery day was fantastic because you're actually talking to the heart, this is the heart of the business and this is where all the real work's done you know. Operationally everything you do down here is key so I've always championed that within a business and always supported and made sure that I don't do something that's going to have a knock-on effect and cause problems operationally.  
Coming down to the head office on a discovery day was really important because I kind of get the feeling that I don't think I'm going to upset too many people and be too demanding, but I actually feel that the people here, the team here, are genuinely interested in, there's something different within this organisation that I don't see, or very rarely see, where everyone within the organisation that I've touched in some way really seems to care about the people in the business. So that's a real rare thing. 
Discovery Day gave me that foundation that, you know, I feel like I'm working with people that are actually interested in my results, what I do, how I do it, as opposed to what I've experienced previously in the business arena and a franchise. Obviously, Alex [Brook, Franchise Development Manager] has been key to this process all the way through because we went through this process post COVID and we've kept in touch. Really useful for me has been the time that Steve [Axtell, it'seeze Northampton] has given me and afforded me his time because that's really useful and I think that's something I will kind of expand on. You have to respect experience; respect expertise and he's got that, he's shown what can be done and the way that he's doing it kind of aligns with some of my thinking as well. So that was really useful to speak to people that has gone through this process and are achieving what they want.  
For me, this is a lifestyle thing as well. So, it's important that at this time in my life, I have, you know, I've got a mum who I've looked after for almost 10 years and tried to sort of fit my work in around it and that's had problems with my work. And being in an environment where I can say, you know, actually I can go and do what I need to do to help my dear mum is really important to me and I haven't got that kind of company overlooking me saying like, you know, you should be doing this at this point. That comfort that I've got from the conversations with the team have been really useful. 
Steve Wanstall, it'seeze Stevenage, sat at a table in an office with a member of it'seeze staff

 What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about joining it'seeze as a franchisee? 

I would say... Obviously do your research. First and foremost, if you're talking to someone who's specifically looking for a franchise opportunity and it’seeze might be one of the ones they're looking at. Or you're talking to someone who's looking to start a business and the conversation might be “rather than setting up your own website business, why don't you use or work with it’seeze” because they've got an existing model and a lot of the operational stuff gets taken away. So, I think my advice for someone considering this particular franchise would be do your research. I think it's important to have some sort of passion in the creative process and the outcomes of the business. So, I think you need to decide whether this is a space that you want to be in. Are you moving from something where the difference is quite a shock? Having said that, I've seen franchisees that have come from something completely different and absolutely love it! So, it isn't necessarily the case. But do your research. Engage with Alex and you know, get yourself down on a discovery day as quickly as you can because I know that Steve mentioned this, he put it off for about a year, I think, before he came down. 
Steve Wanstall, it'seeze Stevenage, sat at a table in a boardroom

 What excites you most about being part of it'seeze? 

Well, I mean, what excites me most without any doubt is the opportunity to be part of a creative process for other businesses. I actually get bored very quickly. So, where I've done stuff before, I've had my own business before, I love the creative process and doing the website, the business cards, the branding and everything else. Then I'm looking for the next thing to do and then the next thing to do. So, the thing that I'm really looking forward to with this particular franchise is simply the fact that I can go into different businesses and potentially make some difference and make some impact on what they do and how they look at what their brand vision is, how they want their website to look and how that's going to evolve and what's going to differentiate it and give it the competitive edge. There's a range of opportunity here to get involved with lots of different businesses and different people in that space. I think that's the main thing.  
The second thing would be the fact that I want something now where I can do things more on my own in terms. And I need that sort of space. You're creative so you want that freedom down here. I am a thinker and I've always said take out an amount of time each day just in a quiet place and just think. I've got stuff written down, loads of ideas. I just enjoy that kind of creative process. Most people that know me will say that in that sort of space, I do look at things very differently. I don't know why. The challenge is always going to be doing the day-to-day stuff, which is why the franchise appeals to me, because I've got the operational backup and the support of head office. 
For more information:  
Call Alex on 01803 401 060 or 07588 903464 
Alternatively, contact us via the form below. 
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