It’s been a few days since the AFA Awards ceremony, where our Area Development franchisee, Ivanka Obreshkova, won a golden award for Franchisee of the Year. We are all thrilled and honoured to have such an incredible woman in our Fantastic Family!

After last year’s success, when she was shortlisted as a finalist in Inspirational Woman in Franchising 2020 category at the prestigious Nat West EWIF Awards, this year she once again proved that her business can thrive even in challenging times.

Read the inspirational story on how Ivanka triumphed against all odds and how she’s inspiring others to make their dream come true in the interview below.

Firstly, congratulations on the award! How does it feel to be recognised by such an influential organisation?

Thank you so much! The whole franchise team at Fantastic Services compliments me on my achievement and that means a lot! However, what melts my heart is my team saying ‘she’s good’ ­– that’s when I know I’ve made a difference. This recognition is not just for me. I owe this award to them. I am so grateful for the hard work and dedication they all have put in this wild year.

What was your background before joining Fantastic Services?

I and my business partner, who is also my partner in life, used to run a small restaurant but we always felt like something’s missing. It just wasn’t the right thing for us. 

In 2016, a friend of ours told us about Fantastic Services and we considered changing the industry we operate in. And finally, after doing deep research, we did it! We became part of the Fantastic Family. For good.

Tell us about your journey with the Fantastic franchise?

Back in the early days, we had two cars and a team of five people delivering regular cleaning services. I was working on-site together with the rest of the team and we quickly became the highest-rated service providers of Fantastic Services. That’s why I truly believe and keep saying that high quality is the key to success! 

I can tell you all the sob stories for the last four years, but the most important thing is that from a team of five, we currently have over 50 people, operating full time. Nine of them are working franchisees who manage their own teams, seven of which have started as my employees. What’s always been important to me is to motivate and inspire my employees to never stop dreaming and work hard toward achieving their dreams.

How did you become an Area Development franchisee?

We live in Oxford. By the time we were working franchisees, most of the job requests we were receiving were in London and we had to travel a lot. We’ve always wanted to develop a local business in Oxford and the areas nearby. 

One day, we received a call from Anton Skarlatov, the co-founder and CEO of Fantastic Services. He explained about their new Area Development opportunity and we decided to grab it right away. We received the exclusive rights for Oxfordshire while still getting support from the Fantastic team. Now, we enjoy more flexibility and freedom by managing our business and developing the area. 

What obstacles have you faced during the last five years?

I wouldn’t call them obstacles but rather key challenges. And the list is long. What’s more important is that every challenge gave me a lesson, shaping my personality and improving my business. 

2020 is a great example of that. After the first COVID-19 outbreak, we saw a significant drop in the number of bookings. We felt absolutely responsible for our team and their families. There was no chance of leaving them without a job. With the support of Fantastic Services and their newly-developed Antiviral Sanitisation, we saved the business by supporting our employees as well as many homes, businesses and institutions in the area of Oxfordshire. 

What is the support you receive from Fantastic Services?

Where should I start? 

Their custom-built technology is one of the greatest benefits. The CRM system handles everything from customer booking to invoicing. It automates the whole working process from the lead generation on the Fantastic Services website, through scheduling and communication between technicians and customers. 

Another very positive aspect of being a franchisee in Fantastic Services is marketing support. We build a marketing plan together and their huge marketing team is executing it perfectly. They handle everything from social media to radio ads and leaflets. 

What’s more, they help me with the recruitment process and the training of my franchisees and technicians. The best part is that whenever I need help with anything related to my business I just give them a call and they would do everything they can to support me.

What strategy do you follow to compete with others?

As I said, stellar customer service is key. Showing up on time and delivering the highest quality of service are two vital parts of our business. We have various competitors, but most of them are small companies. Having a partner with a big name and a great reputation is what makes us stronger than the rest. So, I would say that our strategy is partnering with Fantastic Services. 

Where do you see yourself and your business in the coming years?

I see my business continuing to grow. 2020 showed us that we cannot predict the future. What we can do though is adapting to the current situation in the best way possible. We need to be agile and quickly adjust to the fast-changing industry. We have to work on innovative methods of delivering services and implement new strategies and marketing campaigns in order to stay competitive. 

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Posted in Fantastic Family