With Wimbledon and Euro 2012 out of the way and the Olympics only a week away, 2012 is a real sport focused year in the UK! Even if you are not a sports fan, its hard not be enthused and inspired by the Olympic torch as it tours the country, or the dedication and determination of those sports professionals bidding to make their mark in the history books.
For the many of us sat watching from our TV at home, we might simply watch a famous runner competing for his country, a tenis player hitting a ball back and forth or a footballer running for 90 minutes around a grass pitch. But what we often don’t see is the sweat and tears, the years of grueling discipline and dedication that was required to be physically fit enough, fast enough or skilled enough to compete at the highest of levels. The sheer scale and years of commitment that it takes for a person to achieve their ultimate dream never fails to impress me; whether it be to hold aloft that prized cup with your teamates or stand alone with a gold medal around your neck having proven yourself to be the best of the best.
There is much we can learn in business from the dedication of these individuals. How many times must they have felt like throwing in the towel because despite giving their all they didn’t make the cut? But many push on, training harder, failure simply strengthening their resolve that they will prevail.
It reminds me of Winston Churchill’s famous quote:-
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Commitment, dedication and the resolve to fight failure and win, are some of the most key characteristics when it comes to a successful business. Ask any successful entrepreneur and most will tell you that there was a good deal of heartache and pain along the way; their success is only down to working exceedingly hard, and that they kept pushing to find the business formula that worked even in the face of failures.
Whether you are an entrepreneur starting your own business from sctrach, or whether you are considering a franchise business with the advantages that a proven business forumla, training and support provide, hard work, commitment and enthusiasm will be essential elements if you want your business to be a success.
Franchisee satisfaction is not just a fluffy way of making franchise owners happier; it positively impacts every aspect of your business:
- Engaged workers generate 43% more revenue (Hay Group)
- 9 of 10 of the key barriers to successful change are people related (PWC)
- Satisfied franchisees will refer new prospective franchisees and will speak highly of you when they are completing their due diligence
- Most franchisees (or their teams) are responsible for delivering great customer service. If they’re not satisfied you cannot expect your customers to be!
Improving Franchisee Satisfaction
Like most key performance indicators, the first step in improving franchisee satisfaction is measuring it. If often pays to have an independent company with specialist expertise to coordinate this for you, especially so you can reassure franchisees that their individual responses will be anonymous. This way they’ll answer honestly so you receive a true picture of what’s working well and areas for improvement. By aligning your business plan to what your franchise network really needs (rather than those franchisees who shout the loudest) you’ll better prioritise your resources.
Once you’ve developed your action plan, clear, consistent and authentic communication to key, especially helping your franchisees to understand that the action you’re taking is a direct result of their feedback. Over time even the most cynical franchisees can become advocates as you deliver on your promises.
TaxAssist Accountants Case Study
With such a large network, it would be easy to listen to franchisees that shout the loudest, so TaxAssist wanted to gather structured and anonymous feedback. In October 2011, it participated in the inaugural Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark programme. In total, 107 of its franchisees completed the online survey and the results were overwhelmingly positive.
David Paulson, Franchise Recruitment Manager, commented, “The Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark has helped us to align our business plan to really focus on what our franchisees need. Smith & Henderson understand the unique relationships in franchising and the anonymous nature meant we could identify the common issues our network is facing – some of these were supplier related, some resourcing and others additional training. We will focus on these, developing an even stronger network.”
Developing a Franchise Recruitment Advantage
TaxAssist is using its franchisee satisfaction results, such as the proportion of franchisees that would recommend it, to differentiate its franchise from the competition and build trust with prospective franchisees. David commented, “The independently verified results have given us immense pride and we have incorporated these into our prospectus and Discovery Day presentations.” In November 2011, TaxAssist was recognised for providing the ‘Best Training & Support’ in the inaugural Best Franchise Awards – what makes these awards unique is they are based exclusively on franchisee feedback.
Preferential Banking Terms from Lloyds TSB
Lloyds TSB is the Official Sponsor of the 2012 Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark programme and The Best Franchise Awards. Lloyds TSB will review and potentially offer preferential banking terms to franchisors that choose to share their Franchise Satisfaction Benchmark results with the bank because these can reduce its risk and demonstrate the franchise system’s long term sustainability.
For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 0207 1833 224 or visit www.franchisebenchmark.co.uk
Franchisors need franchisees to be successful; they have experience in their business and know what makes a good franchisee. Good franchisors have taken time to develop a recruitment process to help you determine if you can be successful within their system. Like the franchise relationship this process needs to be open and honest. The recruitment process is important to both franchisor and franchisee and is designed to minimise the risk of opening an unsuccessful business.
You are entering a franchise to be able to benefit from the franchisors experience knowledge and training. This should include their experience in helping you decide if you have the right qualities to be a success in their business.
A Franchise Application
The majority of franchisors will ask you to complete various forms and possibly a profiling test. The information is required to help the franchisor assess your strengths and security. If you over state your position you can’t rely on their advice.
A Franchise Interview
Like Oscar Pet Foods most franchisors will include one or more interviews in their process, these interviews are not like job interviews and rely on both parties being honest about their needs and objectives. Don’t be tempted to over sell yourself to be approved. Be honest with your potential franchisor, it is in their interest to approve you if they really believe you can be successful. However it is in your interest to allow the franchisor to know everything they need to be able to use their experience to advise you on your chances of success and to be able to tell you if they believe you won’t succeed.
A Long Relationship
If the system works and after an open and honest exchange of information you are approved, your chances of success are greatly improved and you will have the foundation for a long and successful relationship with whichever franchise system you chose.
Simon Bartholomew is currently a member of the management team of Oscar Pet Foods and has worked in the franchise industry for 30 year. Simon is also currently the Regional Chairman (Northern Region) for the BFA.