Anthony Round, business development manager at Papa John’s, reveals what it takes to become an outstanding franchisee
The whole franchising industry is built on the idea that most franchisees don’t require any specific industry experience.
Full training is provided and franchisees follow a tried and tested model. This consistency over time helps ensure people build good franchised businesses to support them and their families.
However, inevitably some franchisees are more successful than others. Sometimes it’s down to the territory or area they operate in, but more often than not it comes down to an individual’s approach - those all important traits of drive and determination, plus a few other qualities, which can be as varied as a Papa John’s menu.
In theory, training, effort and simply ‘following the manual’ should be all that’s needed to develop the majority of franchised businesses. However, to become an outstanding franchisee requires a few added ingredients.
Historically, the business landscape is littered with stories of rags to riches entrepreneurs, many from diverse backgrounds. So although it may have some influence, refreshingly these days, a person’s personal circumstances are not necessarily a barrier to success.
Whatever product or service you sell, at the end of the day, it’s the personality of the person that makes a business work.
There’s no doubt some of the best performing franchisees are particularly ambitious, dynamic and charismatic individuals. However, there are other more introspective franchisees also doing very well too.
These are people who work closely with their franchisor, ask for help when they need it, follow advice and have taken the time to build good and trusting relationships with their extended team.
Beyond an acute business sense, one common trait we generally see in successful franchisees is excellent communication skills. The ability to liaise, explain, train and motivate are all key attributes when it comes to running a franchise. The fact is, ‘people people’ are successful in business the world over.
In addition to great communications skills, working well in a team is also important, regardless of the industry you’re in. Relationships with suppliers, customers and partners will all need to be forged and maintained, as people are the lifeblood of any organisation.
The ability to overcome challenges is also high on the wish list for potentially successful franchisees, as when it comes to starting out in any new business there will inevitably be the odd hurdle to negotiate.
Adopting a ‘can do’ attitude and the tenacity of a terrier can enable people to keep going when times are tough. By seeing the bigger picture and keeping the future in mind, motivation is maintained and long-term goals are delivered.
Being a franchisee involves hard work and commitment. However, becoming an outstanding franchisee requires the need to think in broader terms, to be business minded and yet be able to give back and wholeheartedly support the community that helped you build your franchise from the outset.
According to Anthony Round, outstanding franchisees are those who are not just successful, but take their businesses to a whole new level. They always have that ‘something extra’.
These individuals work within a franchised system, yet think outside the box at the same time. They always seem to put their people at the heart of what they do and are in it for the long haul.
An excellent example of outstanding work is two of Papa John’s franchisees from Scotland. In 2016 Zulfiqar Haidar, who runs five Papa John’s stores in Scotland with his brother Iftikhar, were selected from hundreds of franchisees as the company’s International Franchisees of the Year for their sales performance, growth and community contribution.
In 2015 they won the Papa John’s Marketing Award, which recognised innovation in marketing through a contribution to charity via a fundraising for schools scheme.
Zulfiqar joined Papa John’s 16 years ago, as the franchise offered a chance for his whole family to become involved in a business.
At the time Papa John’s was in its infancy in the UK, but over the years Zulfiqar and his family grew with the company and now employ more than 150 local people across their outlets in Glasgow and Paisley.
Zulfiqar says: “For us, our journey has been as much about the team of people we work with as it has growing a successful and thriving franchised operation. We were always keen to bring lots of new jobs to the local community.
“We work with our local job centre to help bring the long-term unemployed back into work. We train new recruits and offer them a future by creating a win-win situation. All we require is enthusiasm and in return offer extensive one-to-one training in-store, backed up by Papa John’s online training programme.
“We always promote from within, so with the right dedication and effort any member of staff can make their mark and have the chance to work their way to the top.”
Many of Zulfiqar and Iftikhar’s staff have worked for them for more than 10 years.
“Staff come from all walks of life,” Zulfiqar says. “Often they join, then continue to work for us while at college and some come back when they’ve graduated. Some fall in love - we have had two marriages and one couple has had a baby.
“Our business is the livelihood of our people and we respect and support that in any way we can. For example, we’ve recently purchased several houses that provide accommodation at a low, not-for-profit rental for some of our employees to ensure they have long-term security.
“Ensuring we look after our big Papa John’s family is motivating for staff and reflects on overall store performance, which in turn means we can put something back.
“Our latest initiative is the Papa John’s Glasgow foundation, where we aim to donate £8,000 per year to develop an organisation that helps other charities streamline the process of obtaining funding for local causes.
“We also encourage and support our staff if they wish to volunteer and get involved.”
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