These are the five characteristics of a great franchisee, according to Lex Baker, franchise management and development director for Wall Street English
As a leading franchise business, Wall Street English knows a thing or two about the right stuff - the secret ingredient that makes a great franchisee.
This is driven partly by its experience gained over 30 years in the marketplace, but partly because of the commercial imperative all franchise businesses face - getting the best people in place to run their businesses.
This is absolutely vital, since franchising is not for everybody. Finding the right franchise opportunity is a huge decision for both sides and with all that experience we know it’s vital to get people with the right stuff. If you get it wrong, it can be a costly mistake for everyone.
We’re growing really fast right now. Last year we helped our franchisees open 18 new centres in eight countries around the world and with that pace and scale of development within a growing market, where one in four of the world’s population is currently learning English, it’s vital we find the right people to partner with to ensure mutual success.
We’ve spent a lot of time looking at what we think are the most valuable characteristics for a successful franchisee and we’ve boiled it down into a handy list of the five things we look for to make sure we both get off to a great start:
Great franchisees are both reliable and dependable. The best are independent thinkers, so while they rely on the franchisor to provide a strong framework and robust support system, their entrepreneurial instincts often kick in.
They simply don’t have the time or experience to spend months and years developing their own business/ brand, but once they start operating they can be trusted to apply a combination of independent thought and reliability to execute the brand properly.
While franchisees must follow the rules, that doesn’t mean they can’t be risk takers. That’s the nature of business and good franchisees will work closely with the franchisor to help guide them towards mutual success.
The good news is that the franchisor can offer advice and guidance based on its own experience. But ultimately the franchisor needs to make the right decisions based on all the facts and its own circumstances.
A strong work ethic and willingness to learn
Our best franchisees never stop learning. They learn from their own experience, from their employees, their colleagues and their peers. It is this restless spirit that enables them to get better.
They also listen and learn from customers, so that their business can be both successful and profitable. In our area, specific industry experience is not necessarily required - a good franchisor will take you on a journey and ensure you have all the tools you need to make it a success.
But ultimately it’s up to you and it requires hard work, constant attention and lots of dedication. The more effort you put in, the more likely you are to succeed with your right partner.
A great communicator
Talking and communicating is an important skill for a successful franchisee. Before making such an important decision, talk it over with all your stakeholders, discuss it with your family and make sure everyone is behind you on this journey.
Regular, honest communication with your staff will also pay dividends and help you to maintain their loyalty and trust. It’s the same with customers. Honesty and openness is vital and you need to make them part of your franchise family, which will pay off as they share their good experiences with others.
Also remember to communicate externally. Talk with other franchisees who have had their own unique experiences. Learn, network and stay ahead of the market.
Humility - The courage to ask for help
Franchises are normally team efforts. Just because you own it, doesn’t mean you have to do everything.
Build a good team around you and don’t be afraid to delegate. You might be the boss, but that means you have to lead your team, not do their work. Take the daily pressure off if you can and hand that responsibility to others. They will thank you for your trust and you can concentrate on the important things - like growing your business.
And don’t be shy to ask for help. That’s what your franchise support team are there for - to be constantly on hand to offer support, guidance and share their experience.
Remember, that’s what you paid for. These are the things we value most when we’re looking for a franchisee. Of course, these are not the only skills required and when you’re a business like ours with international opportunities and huge growth opportunities there will be other strengths and weaknesses that are potentially equally valuable.
We put a lot of effort up front in making sure we’re getting the right kind of person involved and if we sign them up and they get it right the rewards can be great for everyone, with some of our franchise opportunities offering ongoing profits of up to 35 per cent.