The life of a franchisee sounds cushy, doesn’t it? Instead of answering to an annoying boss, and working to make someone else rich, you’ll be sleeping later in the mornings, nipping off early to gym in the afternoons and still raking in the cash. Um, wrong! If you’re to run a successful franchise, you’ll need to change your work ethic and follow these ten good habits of successful franchisees…
Work extra hard
So many people think that having their own business means they’ll be able to work fewer hours. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a new franchisee, you’ll probably be pulling longer shifts than you were as a wage slave. To take your business from start-up to success, its best you get into the hard work habit early on. As a franchisee, you’ll be solely responsible for all aspects of your business – from the mundane (like ordering supplies, cleaning floors or managing staff) to the exciting (landing new clients and initiating marketing campaigns). But here’s where it gets good – the harder you work, the greater your rewards, both in terms of sales and personal satisfaction.
Work the system
As a franchisee, you’re your own boss…within reason. Unlike an independent business owner, who calls all the shots, you still have to report to your franchisor and toe the line. Many novice franchisees let enthusiasm get the better of them, suggesting changes to the franchise system or even implementing sweeping changes unilaterally. While dynamic franchisors should be open to constructive suggestions, remember the old adage: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Your franchisor has not only built up a successful franchise business, but knows the market and the industry inside out, so put some trust in the system. You’re more likely to get what you want if your franchisor is on your side.
Play for the team
Being a franchisee means being part of your franchise’s team – which essentially means that you care about seeing the team succeed more than you care about your own individual performance. Strong team players make for a strong team, says Marty Brounstein, author of Managing Teams for Dummies. Team players are:
- Committed, reliable and consistent
- Active participants, always eager to roll up their sleeves and pitch in
- Dynamic and flexible, willing to roll with the punches
- Solution-oriented in their approach to overcoming challenges
- Respectful and supportive of other team members.
Be open to change
They say change is inevitable, and never did this phrase ring truer than in the current economic climate. While many people dislike change – preferring the security of what they know – being able to adapt to change is one of the key characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs understand that, to remain relevant, they need to constantly reposition themselves. They know, too, that change can bring tremendous opportunities. So, while it’s good to be cautious, don’t be unafraid to embrace:
- Changes in your marketing and advertising campaigns
- Organisational changes to the franchise system
- Changes in the core direction of the franchise
- Changes in the franchise’s product line.
Ask for help when you need it
When embarking on a new business venture, we could all do with a little help here and there. The beauty of being a franchisee, rather than an independent business owner, is that you have the backup of your franchisor. So instead of stumbling on in the dark, ask. Here’s the sort of help that franchisees can expect to get from franchisors:
- Access to a franchise manual, setting out processes and procedures
- Initial training regarding the franchise business (systems and procedures), and on aspects of running your franchise business
- On-going franchise training regarding products, business and financial management, and promotions.
- Help with lease negotiations; client proposals and negotiating with suppliers.
Pay your taxes!
The till is ringing and you’re rubbing your hands in glee, thinking about the cash that’s burning a hole in your pocket. Before you spend all that dough, though, remember to save a portion for the taxman! Not paying taxes – whether personal income tax, company tax, or provisional tax – is an offence, and fines (or even jail terms) can apply for those who fail to pay.
Live within your means
This is a good rule of thumb for everyone, yet surprisingly few people follow this advice. Draw the smallest salary you can at the start, downscale your lifestyle and rather invest the cash you make back in the business – you’ll reap greater rewards down the line. Remember to separate your business affairs from your personal affairs and, under no circumstances, should you ever act on the temptation to siphon money from your business into your back pocket!
Network with other franchisees
No man is an island, so leverage other franchisees in your system for knowledge, support, advice and expertise. Give them a call and introduce yourself, or think about hosting a meet-and-greet for fellow franchisees.
Remember the franchisor!
Once you’re up and running, and thriving in your new entrepreneurial role, it can be easy to give yourself all the credit for your success. And once you start writing out royalty cheques to your franchisor, you may question why s/he should benefit from all your hard work, anyway. Here’s where you need to eat a large slice of humble pie. Your franchisor plays an important role in your success, and you need to acknowledge it graciously. Take some time to feel gratitude, and remember what it is you’re paying for – the franchise brand; the concept; support and training; the benefit of the franchisor’s experience and reputation, amongst other things.
Take a break
Last but not least, to be a highly effective franchisee, be sure to schedule yourself some downtime periodically. In the hectic world of franchising, it can easy to forget that you need rest and recuperation to function optimally. Be sure to incorporate a ‘gadget fast’ into your break – disengaging from computers and cell phones to allow your brain time to recover its creative faculties.
Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa