If your definition of success is becoming filthy rich, opening up a franchise business could get you there. Or it may not. Making big bucks in the franchise world isn’t a sure thing. It takes skill and hard work, but for the willing it can pay off.
As the story goes, although franchising can provide a proven business model with instant brand awareness, it doesn’t always guarantee wealth.
For that kind of success, business owners need a franchise that’s in demand with consumers, they need strong people skills, and let’s not forget the hours of learning everything about the company.
Tough but not impossible
To get your franchise laughing all the way to the bank, the first order of business is to put in the work – obviously. The trick is to work smart, so here are three keys to striking franchise gold.
1. Cultivate your interpersonal skills
Not everyone is cut out to be a franchisee. The best and most successful tend to have a keen work ethic and stellar people skills.
But even if you’re lacking in these departments, with a little practice and a lot of patience, you can improve. Here are a few tips:
- Lead by example. Do whatever it takes to get the job done – willingly and with an enthusiastic attitude – and employees will often follow suit.
- Put people first – employees and customers. This creates loyalty, value and trust.
- Seek and follow advice. Take advantage of best practice used by other franchisees rather than reinventing the wheel for common challenges.
2. Find the right franchise
There are franchises in 17 sectors in South Africa, and they come in all shapes and sizes. To find the best fit for you, think through these steps:
- What exactly do you want to accomplish in your business? Do these goals line up with your personal strengths and weaknesses? And, do you have the financial resources to make it happen?
- Go through the disclosure document with a fine-toothed comb. In addition to earnings claims and financial statements, consider any legal action or bankruptcy information.
- Talk to existing franchisees. Do they have a track record of excellence and success? Do their earnings match the franchisor’s claims? How has the franchisor managed disputes? And, are they satisfied with their investment?
- Assess values and culture. Does the franchise have the same values and priorities as you? Spend time at head office with franchise employees and officers.
3. Follow the rules
Every great franchise has a tested and proven system of operations. To get the most out of the system you need to do the following:
- Put in the time. Take advantage of every training opportunity – it can pay huge dividends in the form of happy customers.
- Practice, practice, practice. Execute the franchisor’s systems to the letter if possible. Then, review and evaluate your performance regularly to ensure those best practices become the standard.
- Don’t innovate too much. Resist the urge to ‘improve’ the system by making changes. This temptation reduces the chance for a new franchisee to succeed and should be left for the more experienced franchisees.
- Help others. Take time to provide assistance to other franchisees once you’re running successfully. Networking and developing healthy inter-franchisee relationships can lead to new tools or strategies in your own business, or you could land a good staff referral.