There are five characteristics all first class franchisees possess, according to Carl Reader
There’s a truth well acknowledged in the business world that a good team can make or break a business. Franchising is no exception to this. But what makes a good franchisee?
Every franchise and territory is different, so there are many things that are difficult to say universally. But there are certain characteristics most franchisors look for in a good franchisee.
Positive franchisor/franchisee relationships are key, so if you can get these attributes nailed, you’re well on the way to a successful business partnership.
A good business team doesn’t necessarily mean a stereotypically ‘salesy’ character, nor particular experiences or skill sets. But there are some common features a franchisor will always look for when recruiting a franchisee.
Some of the expected aptitudes that help someone fit - and succeed - within the franchisor/ franchisee relationship are:
Being upfront and clear
Significant levels of trust and confidence is in place from both sides with a franchise partnership. Therefore, if there are any signs of dishonesty, the relationship is going to be impacted.
In my experience, dishonesty within a franchise on either side is the biggest root cause of disputes in franchise agreements. If you’re upfront, straightforward and honest with your franchisor, this will serve you well as a franchisee - and vice versa.
Embracing the brand in its entirety
One of the main things a franchisor is looking for is a franchisee who’s willing to follow the operations manual.
There’s no doubt that positive innovation and new ideas should be welcomed and encouraged by most franchisors. However, bear in mind that this will need to be balanced, as franchisors want franchisees who are happy to follow their business model, not those who are looking to create their own. If you’re not interested in following the proven business model, franchising probably isn’t for you.
Franchisors need their franchisees to be compliant with their system and to be great advocates for it. Ensuring brand protection is key, so understand and believe in the company vision and values and make sure they’re clear in everything you do.
Remember, you are in a network and what you do can affect the brand for other franchisees and clients.
Toeing the line
Linking with compliance above, avoid making radical changes to your business.
Strategic and any major changes should come from the franchisor, which has developed its business and been proven to be successful in the past. The franchisor has a responsibility to engage with the network and get feedback on its future direction. However, the franchisor has trusted you with its business model and name and most would ask that you don’t take risks with it.
Working positively and taking action
Nobody ever said business was easy. Just because you have an operations manual doesn’t mean you have the answer to everything or that things will magically happen around you.
The manual and head office should support and guide you, but the main factor affecting your franchise’s success is you. Use the systems in place and support available, but also make sure you motivate yourself, be proactive and take action.
Have a positive outlook, be a team player and be enthusiastic.
Polishing your people skills
Business revolves around people. It doesn’t matter whether your franchise is business to business, business to consumer or anything else, all interactions are human to human. Therefore, people skills are vital for all interactions.
People build relationships with people, not businesses, so polish your communication skills and interact as positively as possible. Key stakeholders inside and outside the franchise, such as staff, suppliers and customers, need to be dealt with in an appropriate way. You don’t have to be a social guru, but you need to be able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations.
These simple aptitudes are desirable in most franchisees. They don’t necessarily fit with the stereotypical view of entrepreneurship, particularly the ‘wheeler dealer’ characters, but they’re key elements most franchisors are looking for.
If a franchisor understands its business and network well, it shouldn’t be rocket science to know if someone is right for the franchise or not.
I don’t know a single franchisor who selects their franchisees based on a CV and a list of skills. Many recruit mainly based on who the person is and whether they would be a good fit for the network.