You’re the boss … Now what do you do?
You’re through operating in an unhealthy corporate environment where you feel unappreciated and uncomfortable. Or maybe you are a natural-born pioneer, perhaps a proud army veteran or a company executive who feels shackled by your desk while somebody else profits off of your hard work more than you do.
Whether you relate to these cases or have your own valid reasons for wanting to start your own business, franchising becomes an appealing option because you can be your own boss but also have the support and training from a company that will have your back.
A solid franchise system works to help hardworking people build something for themselves and their families without having to reinvent the wheel. Of course, you also will need to be committed to the tried and proven business model and the franchise system that has worked for others who came before you. Learning how to best manage your franchise business and applying those lessons is crucial to owning and operating a successful franchise.
Richard Hornberger is Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for the Philadelphia Region. Minuteman Press is the world’s largest and number one rated design, marketing and printing franchise, and Richard has a wealth of experience to share with prospective franchisees.
Rich offers these six tips for managing a franchise:
1. Follow the proven system. For those franchisees that came before you, it’s very likely to work for you too, if you follow the systems already set up.
2. Hire the best people and treat them right. Your most important resource is the staff. Create an environment in which great staff members can thrive and are invited to become problem solvers. Avoid micromanaging your staff.
3. Delegate to your employees. Franchisees can’t do everything there is to do within their businesses by themselves. That is why we hire employees. Delegation relieves some of the load from the franchisee and provides the employee a sense of importance and ownership in the operations of the business. This will help to develop loyalty from your staff and create a winning team environment.
4. Use what your franchisor gives you. Employ the programs and product offerings from the franchisor that are designed to market and build your business.
5. Manage your time efficiently. You should work with your team and do all the things you need to address today’s workflow but pay attention to the bigger picture. Attend to those important tasks and develop the presence of mind to know when to proceed to the next item if something is taking more time than expected. To avoid bottlenecking, if there is an item on your list taking an inordinate amount of time, move on to the next item and address / reassess later.
6. Acknowledge the fact that you will likely need franchise mentoring and assistance. Being humble and receptive to help and mentoring won’t simply minimize mistakes but may also save money, time and frustration.
International Minute Press franchisee Dan Haggerty (Pineville and Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina) presents his own take on what he considers to be 5 additional key tips for best managing a franchise business:
7. Give yourself a chance to work on your business without having to always work in the business. Throughout the life span of our business, my aim isn’t to be printing business cards. My goal as a manager is to be outside fulfilling our clients’ needs and making sure that they are receiving the best personalized service. I am to educate them by reviewing quotes and uncovering new opportunities. If I am stuck in my shop doing production work then I’m not using my tools or my time as the business owner wisely.
8. Managing the business includes managing the company culture. It’s your job to create a positive culture from the top down. Sure you have the ideal people and equipment. Identifying trends and taking advantage of them falls under this umbrella and thus does ensuring your team is sticking to a philosophy. For us, this means providing high quality products over relying on pricing alone. Think about yourself as an air traffic control. You’re watching all of the items departing the business and ensuring all of it is being handled correctly in accordance with high standards. You do all of this while keeping an eye on horizon for future growth.
9. Ensure you have the right group working in the proper roles. One common mistake business owners make is having the right people but not putting them in the right positions to succeed. Make sure your staff knows what’s expected of them and do not let them lose focus.
10. Have a road map for the next few months and even the next few years. As a manager, you need to get that vision of that you want to achieve at different stages of your business. For me, I see wide format printing, signs and banners, promotional products, screen printing and embroidery as logical growth areas. You need to have vision to take your organization to the next level. You cannot do this by simply resting on your laurels and sitting inside your center.
11. As the manager of your franchise business, remember that YOU are setting the tone. Going back to the concept of being part of a team, I like to be seen as active and focused and let my staff know that WE are growing a business together. You have to set that type of tone for your company so as to generate progress. You have to convey that in whatever you do and set the tone for what kind of franchise you are going to be in order to achieve the desired results.
Ultimately, a tremendous determining factor for franchise business success is how effectively you manage your franchise. It is important for the business owner to maximize the entire value of the franchise system by abiding by the established methods and honoring the brand you bought into. Any solid franchisor has your back and will support you. At the end of the day, however, helping yourself and managing your business effectively is a huge key to continued franchise success as well.