These are the skills you must possess to ensure you get off on the right foot to then continue to build your business
Franchising is an enticing career opportunity for all types of entrepreneurs, regardless of their age and professional experience.
However, one of the first steps that needs to be considered prior to investing is whether you have the skills required to run a franchise.
Many people get excited about the idea of franchise ownership and are eager to find a lucrative franchise, such as cleaning, but not everyone will have the right attitude or resilience to succeed.
Not only do you need to be the type of person who can stick to someone else’s system, but you have to be able to manage, market and sell your service or product, as well as doing the other tasks required when running any small business.
While most cleaning franchises offer comprehensive training, there are a number of skills you must possess to ensure you get off on the right foot to then continue to build your business.
Whether you choose to be an owner-operator franchisee, where you become a cleaning operative, or a management franchisee, where you manage a team of cleaners, the key competencies required are still the same.
1. Communication skills
One of the most important skills you can have as a franchisee is the ability to communicate and interact with people.
Strong conversational and interpersonal skills play a key role in franchise success and are essential when building relationships with employees, customers, cleaning suppliers and your franchisor.
Business is about people and if you’re unable to communicate effectively you’re probably going to struggle. It’s equally important to be a good listener - to know when to talk and when to listen - so you can understand any issues and tackle them properly.
2. Time management
Time management improves the efficiency and effectiveness of any business, so franchisees should always work on developing, or improving, their time management skills.
There never seems to be enough time in the day to achieve everything, so you can’t afford to waste time with bad time management and inefficiency. Many small businesses and people struggle with this concept.
As a franchisee, you’re more than likely to have to manage your time between clients, employees and the local community, so the more you can stay organised and on top of everything the easier it will be.
The benefits of good time management practices are immeasurable and franchises that apply good time management are better positioned to consistently deliver their product, or service, on time.
3. Decision making
Decision making is a vital part of any business and is a must-have skill for anyone running a franchise.
Having the ability to make a quick, yet good, decision is imperative and can be critical to the success of your business.
All business decisions should be carefully considered and no matter what its perceived importance may be they should be made with the best intentions and the company’s best interests at heart. Any decision made is important, no matter how small it may be.
4. Openness to change
Having a readiness to accept changes in response to market shifts is imperative when running your own franchise and is a fundamental requirement if you want to progress your business.
Change comes hand in hand with open-mindedness and in business you need to be able to harness any changes that come your way, such as a change in roles and responsibilities as the business grows.
The cleaning sector has seen new challenges over the past year due to the pandemic, which has resulted in a change in consumer behaviour. So being able to adapt to a new way of working and developing new initiatives will become essential in this post-COVID era.
One example that has worked well for Poppies has been the ‘Clean and Sanitise’ two-step programme, which we introduced last May to ensure clients’ homes were serviced to a new standard, giving them confidence their home was a clean and safe place. This was a new idea that was well received by our clients and continues to be part of our service offering.
5. Understanding customer needs and motivations
Knowing and understanding customer need is at the centre of every successful franchise, particularly with domestic cleaning, as the service is tailored to a client’s lifestyle, home and preferences.
Once you have knowledge about your customers and what motivates them to employ a cleaning company, you can then use it to persuade existing and potential customers that using your cleaning services is beneficial and will give them back the time they need to spend on what’s really important to them.
Recognising and acknowledging your customer requirements will also allow you to give them a more positive experience in the service you’re delivering, which in turn builds brand loyalty - not to mention your profit margins.
The franchises that tend to fail are those that focus on their own ideas and assumptions without stopping to listen to their customers and see how relevant or effective they are.
6. Ability to follow a system
Franchising is about following an established system set out by the franchisor.
So if you have the ability to follow a system and are good at following processes, franchising could be the perfect fit for you and your chances of success will be much greater.
Being able to operate under an established brand with a tried and tested business model means much of the associated risk involved in new business ownership is alleviated.
Unfortunately, many franchisees try to change things or take a different approach, failing to remember what they have invested in - a proven business model that’s been tested over and over again. As the expression goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
If you possess good time management, decision making and strong communication skills, coupled with an openness to change, an ability to follow a system and understand your customers’ needs and motivations, then you have the right skill set to be a franchisee.
Your next step is to determine what type of franchise best suits your background and experience to offer you a proven model of success.
Chris Wootton is managing director of domestic cleaning franchise Poppies.