The key to running a successful franchise is all about having the right outlook and following some straightforward steps, says Card Connection’s Robina Every.
Choosing the right franchisor
Part of it comes down to choosing an established company with a proven track record and a good reputation. It is also important that it belongs to the British Franchise Association and run its business in accordance with the best practices laid down in the BFA “Ethics to Franchising” guide. However, once you have chosen the right company what do you need to do on a day to day basis to achieve success?
Maintain a good working relationship with your franchisor
Communication should work both ways, to and from your franchisor. Communication should be regular and any advice given acted upon. Whatever issue you may be encountering, you can guarantee, someone somewhere has already faced a similar situation and your franchisor will be able to assist you. Use your franchisor’s experience rather than learn the hard way! That is why you have joined a franchise and not gone out on your own.
Monitor cash flow
Keep referring back to your business plan and review the situation in relation to your forecasts and projections. Believe the figures (they don’t lie) and use them to make informed decisions about your business. It is important not to underestimate the working capital that is required to run the business day-to-day while it is growing. Problems with cashflow can be mistaken for poor profitability especially in the early days, but careful planning and monitoring will prevent unpleasant surprises.
Market your business
There are a lot of myths about marketing. The plain fact is there is no-one better to market your business than yourself. Use the passion you have for your product or service to talk to people face-to-face. Enthusiasm is contagious and you will be more successful. However, remember to monitor the results of any marketing activity. You do not want to waste your money in the future if a campaign has not returned your investment.
Good time management is critical
Time is now hard currency and you need to spend it wisely. Discipline, planning and flexibility are the keys to success when it comes to time management. It is too easy to become distracted when you are working for yourself with no one to report to. Time spent planning and preparing saves time in the long run and will increase your efficiency. Be flexible and regularly challenge every task associated with running your business.
Keep up to date with paperwork
Little and often is the key. Do not attempt to do all your paperwork for the month in one day. Not only does this become a terrible chore but by the end of the day you are more likely to be tired and make mistakes. In addition, where possible invest in IT and increase your computer skills so that you can make full use of the accounts systems available. Of course, don’t forget to back up your system on a regular basis.
Recognise your strengths and weaknesses
It is important you recognise your own strengths and weaknesses. Use them to your advantage. If you are dreadful at managing one aspect of your business employ someone to manage it for you. Your time will be better and more productively spent on working with the elements of running your franchise that you are good at and enjoy.
The responsibility of running the business is down to you and that includes the responsibility for rewarding yourself when things go well. Set yourself a goal and when you achieve it be sure to congratulate yourself. You would do it for an employee so why not do it for yourself?
The chances are you made the decision to take on a franchise because you wanted to enjoy what you are doing more than you were previously. Yes, it does require hard work, commitment, determination and tenacity but don’t lose sight of the reason you started. Enjoy your business, go out, enjoy overcoming the challenges and above all don’t lose your sense of humour. Have fun!