A recent survey, conducted on behalf of the BFA in conjunction
with Natwest, revealed that the franchising industry in the UK
is stronger than ever. It now contributes £15.1 billion
to the UK economy every year – an increase of 46% over the past 10
years and an increase of 10% since 2013.
However, this is by no means an industry where you can sit on
your laurels. With more people joining the franchising industry
every year, you need to ensure that you choose the right business
for you and you have the right mentality to succeed.
With over ten years’ experience running a successful
franchise, here are a few of the tricks I have learned that have
helped me to develop a business worthy of recognition.
Join an exciting industry
Choosing the right industry to join when researching possible
franchises can be extremely difficult, even overwhelming –
especially if you have spent your entire career in a specific
environment. Do not fear, all of the best franchisors will offer
you the training that you need to properly understand the industry
you have chosen to enter, but most importantly, the industry needs
to excite you!
After your discovery day, ask to visit some existing
franchisees to see what a day in their life looks like; what
support they receive, their projections for the future and what the
industry feels like. This should give you a feel for whether it is
the business for you.
Your happiness as owner of the business will have a ripple
effect on the rest of the team who work for you. So choosing an
industry that not only interests you, but makes you happy and this
will encourage your employees to share your passion.
A happy team = happy clients
Richard Branson famously said:
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take
care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Giving employees the tools to improve their jobs and skills,
as well as showing them that they are valued members of the team
through encouragement and praise, will give them a reason to stay
with you. Plus, happy employees will automatically spread this to
your clients through excellent customer service.
Great employees will support you in your business decisions
and will tell you when you are making a questionable decision.
Keeping the entire team in the loop and trusting others with
responsibilities will allow you to focus on the crucial things and
your employees will take care of the rest.
As your business grows and your team expands, you need to be
increasingly aware of employment law and best practices with
regards to HR. Well-established franchisors will have plenty of
experience to draw upon and some will even have an HR expert on
board to help you in any way that they can.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
This is important for all aspects of work and life really. If
you take the time to get it right from the start, the end result
will follow. We have adopted a saying at Signs Express which is,
“measure twice, cut once,” a perfect motto to follow in every
aspect of your business life, no matter the industry.
Preparing a business and preparing yourself are two completely
different things; you need to be ready to work hard, put in the
long hours and hit a few speed bumps along the way, especially at
the start. With the right preparation and the support from HQ, the
strain of starting up a business can be reduced.
Go the extra mile
It might seem a bit cliché but every client is of equal
importance, regardless of how big or small the job is.
Every client deserves to have the knowledge that they’ve come
to the right place. This experience should be portrayed by the team
from start to finish and keeping the client up-to-date throughout
the whole buying process is a must. This level of feedback and
information to the client goes a long way to help gain repeat
business and confidence in the brand.
Indeed, some of our largest orders have come around as a
result of one small job!
You are not alone
The benefit of being a part of a franchise is that you have a
whole pool of knowledge and experience from other franchisees and
the franchisor in order to handle national, larger and more complex
projects. We found this especially useful in the early years when
we lacked experience.
Being a part of a well-established franchise will also allow
you to seem bigger than just one branch, which helps to quote for
work and to complete multiple national works for big blue-chip
Work on facts, not assumptions
Don’t assume business is going to come to you because you have
taken on a franchise. Being part of a franchise can help, but
ultimately it is your business and you will always be responsible
for its development and growth. Ask yourself if you are willing to
work long hours and make tough decisions to establish your business
and to ensure that it thrives.