Tag Archives: best practice

Recruit SMART, Grow SMARTER

One of the (many) things I do harp on about to new prospective franchisors is: be specific and very clear about what a good franchisee looks like and then go out and with the precision aim of an assassin….find them, bring them on board and LOOK after them.

Franchisee recruitment is not dissimilar to normal business staff recruitment. You need to be incredibly mindful of the ‘job’ at hand, what the skills are that are needed to carry out that ‘role’ successfully and most of all…look for what the career growth path would be for that individual. The extra element that you want to perhaps plan for in recruiting for franchisees is cultivating a ‘perfect’ franchisee who will end up with the operational, hands-on experience that might well be useful to you in 5 to 10 years time.

What do I mean by this? Well, if you are smart (and I hope that you are) – you are setting up a franchise with two views:  1) To Grow and 2) To Exit. By recruiting some golden nugget type franchisees who have the special ‘putty’ to become fantastic, you will be sowing the opportunity for having a managing director, operational manager or even a team of super-staff who will add value and a glow to the business…making it even more attractive to a buyer. Having a team that doesn’t purely hinge on you or your operational knowledge makes a business very sellable.

Bear in mind, these individuals would not remain as franchisees should they start to work for the franchisor – so you will need to think about what you can offer them that will make the career move from business ownership more enticing. Some suggestions on what to offer them:

(a) Taylored package that is heavily incentivised by their results and input (commission %; target incentives like holidays; etc)

(b) Good company benefits (which are rare to find, especially in the UK, and will therefore be very attractive!)

(c) Small shareholding in the business (relative to their role of course)

(d) Input into how the business grows going forward (i.e. make them an integral part of the executive team)

I’m sure there are many more elements you could incorporate into  a package to tempt an existing franchisee into your franchisor fold, all I’m saying is – bear this in mind right from the beginning. Imagine having a team of strong franchisees who (at any point) you will love to be your right hand man/woman? Now compare this picture to merely having the recruitment criteria mindset that anyone with a pulse will be accepted to become a franchisee! (My fury over this point is enough to write a whole post just on this!)

So, what’s my message? When you are planning who you are going to have as part of your network: think long and hard about where you want to be in 5 to 10 years time and how much value you can add by recruiting the right people. By being SMART in your recruitment tactics, you will be growing your business in a much more planned and efficient way (i.e.SMARTER growth!)

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Develop a Standalone Business Model

With my background in franchising, it’s quite natural for me to look at just about every business and wonder what the ‘model’ is behind it. What I mean by this is – what do the cogs look like; what do they do and what results do they generate. I have to look at businesses in a structural way, because that is why franchising is a successful growth or exit model: it’s about finding a winning formula, sticking to it and repeating it over and over.

A trap that most business owners fall into very early on is in trying to do everything themselves for one of two reasons: 1. fear of losing control or 2. not trusting that anyone else can do the job properly. The biggest learning for a business owner to latch on to is to build a business that does not depend on him/her.

Even if you have not franchised your business, you should be following the principles – starting with removing yourself from your business. This is your first step to creating a Standalone Business Model.

Do you want to be frazzled for most of your business life because you can’t walk away for a few weeks? No? Then ask yourself some of these questions which will help you to make a good start to identifying what you can automate in your business:

What are you doing right now that can be delegated?

Make a list of what you do today – everything, down to filing, reading emails, opening post, stamping something etc. Bear in mind processing of enquiries, sales meetings, staff management etc. This will lead you on to the next question…

How much of your business is outsourced right now?

You may already have done an exercise this year to see what you could streamline and where you could save on overheads and staff time. If you have – make a list of what these things were and also look at what you have experienced since actually outsourcing those things (benefits/payoffs). What else are you doing that could be outsourced?

What do you do every day that is repetitive behaviour?

The way to find out what works and what doesn’t is to look at which actions or activities bear which fruits. So, what are you doing that actually doesn’t contribute anything directly to your bottom line? How can you change this and create an action or activity that turns it around and does add to your bottom line?

You may also have certain activities that you HAVE to do, which DO bring in direct business and/or sales – and these need to be repeated and actioned more! This will form a part of working out what your winning formula is.

What are you doing in one area of your business that you can easily replicate elsewhere?

You have some areas in your business that are running really well and very smoothly. Ask yourself what you are doing right in those areas and find a way to replicate the process or structure that you are using there on another area.

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If you can answer these questions in your business, you will be ahead of the game in formulating what business model you are working with and be in a better position to establish how to develop it to be less dependent on you…even if you have to put some things in place that will only create a Standalone Model in a year’s time.

Be smart. Review your model frequently to ensure business longevity and more importantly…your sanity.

Smart Franchisors: Interview with the End in Mind

Having just finished writing an e -book for people looking to invest in a franchise, I found many things were coming up for me on the franchisor front and I definitely thought it warranted a post on it.

Providing advice and guidance to prospective investors is a really interesting one for me, because I can share some stories and insights to people whose toes curl up when they hear about what can happen if you don’t go into an interview with a franchisor with your eyes wide open and your feet bolted firmly on the ground.

So, my top tips for franchisors when they are interviewing prospective franchisees are:

1.  Be Consciously Respectful

The amount of times I hear of boltchy, arrogant franchisors who admit people into their ‘domain’ and ‘grant’ the person the time of day…man, I could write a book just on that! Of course these people are (generally) in the minority….but bad behaviour travels just as fast as bad news. Stop it in its tracks. Do you how much it takes for that person to be sitting in front of you? Be kind enough to acknowledge that its a big step this person is taking, and that it probably took a lot of courage to be sitting in front of you.

2. Be Aware of Franchise ‘Ignorance’

The franchisor is pretty clear about what the franchising model entails and means in practice, but most prospective franchisees haven’t got a clue. Be mindful of this when going through the proposition with the interviewee…or at the very least give some background to the franchise business model to give the person some kind of frame of reference to compare your discussion to. I use the example of a Head Honcho with Indians vs. Cowboys.

Head Honcho with Indians  = Indians are replicas of the main ‘dude’ so to speak (hence:  Honcho)…and although they carry out the ‘work’ as they are directed to do, they don’t create the ‘system’ or way in which they carry out the work (that is engrained into them as being a part of the Honcho’s crowd) [Franchisor with Franchisees]

Cowboys = generally are a gang of individuals finding their way in the world, guns blaring and behavioural antics alter with how long they have been in the gang. So, they have no real ‘quickstart’ to a system they need to follow..to actually achieve anything quickly. [Self-employed finding their way on their own.]

3. Clearly Articulate How You Make Your Money

I educate prospective franchisees to ask this question and be clear on how the franchisor makes his profit. Why? Because they really need to work out that the revenue structure works for BOTH sides. A franchisee never wants to find a franchise where it seems ‘cheap’, ‘easy money’ and there’s no real responsibility to the franchisor for growth or performance criteria.  A franchisor needs to be profitably in this for the long term and be able to provide all of the support and resource frameworks promised to the franchisee. Please acknowledge the importance of this when interviewing a prospective franchisee – also…this will nip any conflict in the bud early on. As you will know…in a franchisee lifecycle – you will get to the ‘teenage’ phase where they will start to question your value and how much they pay you!

4. Never Slam the Competition

Please please please! As most best practice business professionals will tell you – this is a sure fire way of undermining your position and making you look like Iddy the Idiot. A more professional take would be to actually provide the interviewee with a list of who the competitors are and invite them to investigate those offerings as well. Perhaps it would also be good to highlight ever so politely the differences between them and yourself. (1) This gives the interviewee a heads up on who else is in the market and (2) Gives you an opportunity to be look helpful but at the same time (3) Highlight where your offering fills the gap.

5. Pack in the Punch

When I advise prospective franchisors at the planning stage to ‘pack in the punch’ in the offering – make sure you REALLY do. Franchising is very competitive and if you haven’t put together something that really takes away all of the aches and pains for a start-up business, this is where you will lose out in signing up more franchisees. Yes its important to have  market share, an edge and a compelling brand…BUT…a prospective business owner is looking for a wholesome package that will help in all aspects of setting up a business. So, how can you put more into your offering to put you ahead of the rest of the crowd? You will notice the difference in the interview: a prospective franchisee will just light up when you work through all the avenues you have covered. Basically…he will have made his decision then and there…and it won’t take that much more to get a YES.

6. Remember that Interviewee’s are Interviewing You too

Yes, there is the major element that the person you are interviewing has to meet your strict entry criteria and profile – but don’t forget the tender aspect of you meeting their standards and expectations. You, as the franchisor, are also being interviewed (however subtle that might be). So, even if you did approve of their application….they need to approve yours to be their franchisor!

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All I’m really trying to say I guess is that SMART franchisors recognise the opportunity to really shine and engage a prospective franchisee in the initial interview – but my 2cents worth of wisdom is that you need to be emotionally and professionally intelligent about how you conduct yourself and present the offering in that interview. If it goes badly, you will find that your enquiries start to dwindle (bad news travels fast as I said) and won’t have a second chance to clean up your mess!

So…Interview with the End in Mind. The ‘End’ being bringing on board a franchisee who respects you and has chosen your franchise because of your great offering and professional handling of him during the whole interview process.