Do you possess these 5 Habits of Successful Franchisors

When good practice is rewarded with success it becomes habit. The Franchisor asks five top franchise brands to share their 'franchising success habits'.

Brian Lewis, Cash Generator Founder

Many franchisors, particularly when they first start recruiting franchisees and cash flow is critical while enthusiasm is high, can be tempted to award their franchises to anyone who has the money to invest. This approach is rarely correct - you could meet 100 people tomorrow morning with the cash and the chances are that the vast majority of them will be unsuitable to make a success of your franchise. They might not have the right instincts, communication skills, drive or courage to take on the challenge of building a business.

Therefore it is important to never rush into signing up a new franchisee. Even if your cash flows are challenging, you must ensure you make the decision on recruitment for the benefit of the franchisee and your own company in equal measure. The one factor I always look for in a franchisee is courage and determination, because not everything goes right from the start in any business and the franchisee will always have to put in hard work early on.

Sean Cragg, Caremark Franchise Manager

We voluntarily encourage franchisee prospects to visit our 'competitors' in the franchise sector. This shows our true belief in our own business and franchise opportunity - we are confident that we are the best in our field and that the top calibre of franchisees will come on board with us, so we don't have any worries about our prospects visiting our competitors.

This confidence is derived from having a genuine desire to see the franchisees succeed for their sake primarily... after all our success comes only from theirs. Therefore we want all our franchisee candidates to gain an understanding of our market and our competitors - this is important particularly in the franchise arena because the people coming in will usually come from a completely different background. In fact, it also benefits our franchisees who can then launch their business armed with intimate knowledge of how their competitors operate!

Jenny Rope, Totally Dynamic Marketing Manager

We have created value for our franchisees by developing a strong link with our key supplier Avery Dennison - who provide the most proven vehicle wrapping system in the world. By establishing a relationship over 15 years and being able to demonstrate to them that we are the best at what we do, this year Totally Dynamic was named as the exclusive UK representative of the Avery Dennison European Partner network for vehicle wrapping. This means that our franchisees are part of an elite group of vehicle wrappers in Europe, and our close relationship with Avery provides the opportunity to test new products first before anybody else in the UK.

Aside from regular training updates conducted at our head office facility in Norwich, our franchisees are also invited to a special training update every year at Avery Dennison's wonderful training facility in the Netherlands. This training is funded by Avery Dennison, and Totally Dynamic covers travel and accommodation costs, so it costs our franchisees nothing to share in the latest techniques developed across Europe every year. This is making a difference to our business because it keeps us at the forefront of our market - for example we have recently participated in filming a documentary about our service for the Discovery Channel, which is scheduled to be aired in the New Year.

Andy Goodson, Northwood Founder

Recruiting franchisees is all about building relationships with people - when someone buys a franchise from you it's not just about your brand and products - it's also about the team who run the franchise. When we invite a prospective franchisee to visit our head office, I personally spend the day with them explaining the business opportunity in detail. That way they get to meet me and my team so that they can make an informed decision about the business opportunity and the people they will be working with.

Of course there is a qualification period before that, and getting the right calibre candidates in is the most important thing you do as a franchisor. I send each franchisee candidate a questionnaire to ensure I have the right calibre prospective franchisee before meeting them, but the qualification process actually starts from the very first contact. For example, we don't use gimmicks at franchise exhibitions to attract people to our stand, we are only looking for people who are serious about buying a business, not people who are there to enter silly competitions.

Matthew O'Neil, Snack-in-the-Box Sales Director

At Snack-in-the-Box we feel that first and foremost the business has to work for the franchisee, so we really focus on giving our franchisees full support, not only during the Head Office training and launch period but also in the field on an ongoing basis. The key to this is strong 'handholding' support for the first 12 weeks, followed by a complete audit and business review of the franchisee's business at months three, six and 12.

Each franchisee has an assigned Franchise Manager who stays in regular weekly contact in the early stages of the launch. Where possible, this will be the person who comes to know their business intimately through performing the audits and business reviews. The Franchise Manager will go through the franchisee's business with a fine-toothed comb, including auditing their bank records, product purchases, VAT returns etc, in order to help the franchisee to keep their business moving in the right direction.

This intensive commitment to supporting the franchisee in the early stages of their business is factored into the franchise package. Essentially, we reinvest the franchise fee back into the franchisee, by means of a comprehensive launch and support programme and look to make our money over the term of the contract by way of a management services fee. We refer to our ongoing fees as "management services fees" rather a royalty, as a royalties infer ongoing payment for a service that was only provided once - a bit like the Spice Girls receiving money for songs they sang 10 years ago. We feel it is important to treat the ongoing payments made by the franchisee as a fee paid for the support that the franchisee receives from the franchisor on an ongoing basis throughout the term of the franchise agreement and on into renewal.

The Franchisor