Enjoy the process of cultivating a rewarding franchise opportunity
It has been highly praised as an intelligent selection for motivated professionals who have had enough of the risk associated with the unstable job market. It has provided, in some cases, a brilliant business model that has allowed many thousands of people, with no prior experience, to own and successfully build their own businesses. It, of course, is franchising.
Franchising works on a simple, but effective level. Someone, usually a visionary, comes up with an idea for a service or a product, brings it to life and cultivates a business. In time, it becomes clear that the system proves to work and can be replicated and the visionary seeks investors to make that expansion happen. This time, however, the investors not only put their money into the business, they get the chance to run it, too, as franchise owners.
Owning your own franchise business can be the beginning of a fantastic personal and professional experience, which can also be quite lucrative if the franchisor is well-established and the franchisee applies old-fashioned blood, sweat and tears.
Here are four tips for running a franchise effectively:
1. Select your franchisor wisely: There isn’t much point in continuing the discussion without this first, critical step. While being part of an early franchise experiment is commendable and fads are exciting when they are hot, it is far wiser to select a long-established corporation with a proven track record that makes you feel success and profit are distinct possibilities with what you will be bringing to the mix in terms of effort. Consider your personal inclinations, what excites you among the countless business opportunities and meet with officers of corporations that make it to your “short list”. At that point, it is time to challenge the quality of the franchisors’ reputations by personally visiting and speaking with their own franchisees to see if they are happy with their support and with the effects their choice has had on their lives on a broad scale.
2. Value and keep a mutually beneficial relationship with your franchisor: Open communication should work both ways in this most crucial relationship if you wish to have the best chance at running a franchise effectively. You will encounter all sorts of scenarios and some might be troubling, but guess what? If your franchisor is the kind that is worth your investment, you will be able to reach out to local support representatives and may discover that another franchisor (or many in the past) have encountered the same scenario. The great thing about leaning on your franchisor for assistance is that they come to help armed with knowledge experience gained over time (as well as trial and error). This allows you to find solutions that can move you forward. This is the fundamental reason why you chose to become a franchise owner in the first place, so you can command your own decisions in business but with the full-backing of a franchisor who can sweep in with technical assistance and invaluable advice based on experience.
3. Managing time well is worth money: How you spend your time is related to how you spend (or save) your money. You must learn to budget your time by implementing plans for business operation that take your franchisor’s recommendation into consideration but work well for you because it is your daily operations that must be governed. If you are a first-time business owner, be warned that distractions can accumulate when you are your own boss with no one outranking you to keep things in line. Proper planning and preparation for the days and weeks ahead applied with daily discipline will save precious time and help you run your franchise efficiently.
4. Review your business plan and crunch the numbers: Speaking of managing money, staying on top of your cash means reviewing your business plan and making sure it aligns with your projections. You must also be flexible and conservative as you go forward in business. Numbers are absolute. They do not lie, so make decisions based on carefully tracked figures and do not underestimate what it costs to run the daily operation, especially in the early days of growth. Minimize stress by establishing a money-management plan that works well for you from the beginning, but be flexible and take advice from your franchisor.
Tania Ackerman, owner of Minuteman Press in Condell Park, Australia, stresses the importance of establishing systems of organization that will keep daily stress to a minimum and avoid unnecessary surprises that may cause you some problems. She is straightforward, advising, “Being organised is my number one tip to help you run a most efficient franchise. If you are not organised you cannot run your business efficiently on any level. Keeping lists of things to do, having an active calendar and keeping a clean workspace are the ways I keep on top of being organised. This allows me to keep a clear head and makes me feel confident that every job is being attended to in a timely manner. I am also more confident that my tasks for the day are being completed.”
Jeff Robey, Florida Regional Vice-President for Minuteman Press International, stresses hiring a strong TEAM and implementing PERSONALIZED CUSTOMER SERVICE: “Have a good team in place and make sure they have the same commitment to the business’ success as you do. Make sure customer service is the top priority of everyone in the business.”
There are so many assumptions about marketing, but the truth is effective marketing is the cornerstone of running an effective franchise and there is no one better to lead the campaign than you, with appropriate guidance from marketing specialists – namely your franchisor. This is the time to direct your enthusiasm about your business into as many viable channels as possible. Talk to people about your products and services and you will soon find that your excitement about your brand is transferable -or as the saying goes – enthusiasm is contagious (and lucrative).
Your franchisor gives you a huge bonus when it comes to developing a winning integrated marketing strategy, so do not hesitate to use the marketing tools and strategies that their experts have developed and honed to be effective over time. Stay in touch with fellow franchise owners and attend corporate conferences if they are offered. You have a distinct advantage over your competition when you follow the advice offered by your franchisor, so waste no time applying their wisdom to your marketing efforts. Also, be sure to get the most for your efforts by monitoring results and adjusting efforts accordingly.
Stephen Edman, owner of Minuteman Press in Bellaire, Texas shares insights on how his successful franchise runs most effectively. He points to hiring and treating well the best staff and tending to personalized customer service, for starters. “Find and hire the best employees, then take care of them like gold. Teach and show them what their expectations are and how they can make more money. If they realize the customer pays them and that I don’t, they will excel in producing top notch quality product and service. Then we all make money.
Here are 4 more tips from Stephen Edman for running a smooth Minuteman Press franchise operation:
1. “Keep your presence in your market area. Hire a marketing specialist and teach them what you do as an owner and expect nothing less. Advertise monthly with consistent themes and branding showcasing the products and services you provide. Add a little fun to your message! It can and will open up doors. As an owner, stay in involved with your client base while marketing and delivering your customers printed projects.
2. Always drop something off with your business name and contact info when visiting clients. The more they see your marketing material, the more they will be your customer.
3. Always stay on top of new technology and equipment. For instance, we still have and do offset printing work but we have 3 digital presses with all the new bells and whistles, plus wide format printers and plotters, new and old bindery equipment. The bottom line is keep your equipment up to date and maintained. Your customer will know the difference.
4. Keep it FUN!”
Minuteman Press franchise owner Stephen Edman has a point about FUN. Striking out into business ownership and making a lot of money is always on the minds of entrepreneurial leaders, BUT you also need to enjoy what you are doing every day. In fact, the chance to become your own boss, once secured, should be something you have more fun doing than whatever you did while working for someone else. After all, you broke free from the possibility of a corporate layoff and from the instability of the job market so you could create a lifestyle that has the chance to offer more satisfaction on many levels. It should be celebrated that every day there are opportunities to engage with clients of all kinds, while you nurture your investment and help it grow.
Channel Your Determination and Enjoy the Process
Operating any business, even a franchise, is definitely hard work and you must channel determination, tenacity and be absolutely committed to tending to your customer base and managing your entire operation. However, do not lose touch with some of the exciting reasons for engaging all of these professional challenges. Enjoy the process of building your own business, take on each situation with pride and enjoy every victory, no matter how “small”. Your good humor and positive energy will only translate to healthier interactions with your employees, clients and the wider community.
Be wise, take the advice offered from your franchisor and combine it with your greatest effort, but take time to enjoy running your franchise and you will be more likely to prosper.
Minuteman Press is a business service franchise that is rated #1 in category by Entrepreneur for 12 years in a row and 24 times overall, including 2016.
Learn more about Minuteman Press franchise opportunities at www.minutemanpressfranchise.com.