To be a successful franchisee, you don’t necessarily need to have industry-specific experience. Instead, a general set of business skills and hard work can drive your franchise’s success. Additionally, many franchisors will provide initial and ongoing training to their franchisees to teach industry and brand-specific skills. The following is an outline of some of the fundamental business skills you’ll need to have to make your franchise flourish.
Getting your franchise up and running is more than a full time job. For the first few years you’re going to be working hard to get everything in place. And even though you already have the policies, branding and procedures from your franchisor, you’ve still got a lot of work to do.
A good franchisee has ideas about how to get everything organized, but also has the follow-through to make it happen. Keep a highly organized schedule with your meetings and deadlines, and stick with it.
A good businessperson is a great communicator. As a franchisee, you will be required to not only communicate with your employees and customers, but also with your franchise head office, providing feedback, input and status updates. Can you keep the lines of communication open and ensure that the right information is going to the people who need it? Effective communication goes a long way in keeping your franchise operating smoothly and avoiding issues brought about by lack of understanding or misinformation.
People Skills/Customer Service
A large part of being successful lies in building strong relationships with customers. Are you approachable and friendly? Can you make customer satisfaction your top priority? When there’s an issue, can you work hard to resolve it so that your customer is totally satisfied, finding the best solution—not necessarily the one that is easiest for you? Customers appreciate and remember when a business goes above and beyond to make sure that they are happy and their needs are met.
HR and Payroll
Interviewing, selecting, and then hiring high-quality staff is critical. You need to be able to deal with issues that arise and follow the HR polices laid out for you by corporate headquarters. Once you have recruited quality staff – and completed the necessary background and reference checks – you need to be able to manage them in such a way that you retain them, saving yourself the time and the money of having to go through the recruitment process all over again. Part of this is ensuring that you have a solid payroll system in place so that you can pay your employees the correct amount on time.
Administration and Book Keeping
It’s important to sweat the small stuff and keep all the details of running a business organized. Staying on top of all the administrative tasks involved with running a business that come up along the way – from ordering office supplies to tracking and anticipating product demands based on sales – is a constant balancing act. Everything needs to be monitored, including payables and receivables, as well as how much you’re putting out in operational costs. A part of your mind needs to be constantly thinking about how you can save money in your day-to-day operations and cut out extra expenses. A successful franchisee will keep track of things like sales tax, payroll, employee benefits, and taxes with great attention to detail.
Getting started and operating your own franchise location takes more than a passion for your industry, or a desire to be your own boss: it takes business skills. But don’t forget that you don’t have to have every single skill in your arsenal. You’ll have training from your franchise’s head office, and you can keep yourself informed about the latest industry trends. You can also hire experts, accountants or an HR manager, for example, to help you and you can learn along the way.
Adapted from an article originally published in the November/December 2015 issue of FranchiseCanada. Check out our current issue FranchiseCanada, on newsstands now, or you can order your subscription by calling 1-800-665-4232 ext. 224.