What are the common characteristics of successful franchise business owners? Let’s take a look…
With hearts full of promise and determination to strike out on their own, far away from the looming possibility of corporate downsizing and subsequent layoffs, hopeful entrepreneurs embark on a quest to start their own businesses. More frequently than ever before, it seems, rather than being stifled by typical obstacles such as lack of experience, limited start-up capital and the absence of an experienced brand name to bolster credibility, these bold leaders turn to franchising. As franchise ownership becomes an increasingly welcome way to create and nurture one’s own business, it is time to take a look at the characteristics of successful franchise owners so that the decision you might make to join their ranks is well-rounded. If you wish to determine if you have “the chops” to break out into business ownership through franchising, you must examine both the challenges and the bonuses coming your way.
Are you “Goal-Minded”?
Pete Scaglione, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President in Texas, has seen success enough times to notice a pattern of common characteristics among the strongest personalities making the most of the franchise opportunities within his region. In Pete’s words, “It seems many of the same traits make successful owners. First realizing working ON your business instead working IN it. I always tell my owners if they want a job, get a job. If you want a successful business, you must work on the business. Many owners who apply themselves in areas of leadership without micro management and basically trust the employees to accomplish the tasks at hand do very well. This allows the owners the freedom to do the important things that need to be done such as marketing, networking and actively being involved with surrounding businesses. To sum it up, goal minded people with persistence and a positive outlook no matter how many attempts they’ve made, they stay the course.”
Let’s get down to business with a list of 4 characteristics you may need to run a successful franchise:
1. Interpersonal Skills: From your staff to your clients, you will be dealing with people and it helps to be at home and fluid in your interactions. You will want to collect dynamic, hard-working employees as you start out, so you want to be honest and decide if YOU would want YOU as a manager? Reflect upon your work history and all the positive and negative experiences you had with bosses. Isolate the positive ones and realize how important it is to have a strong, personable manager to drive productivity and, ultimately, develop loyalty. Consciously apply the age-old concept of treating other people as you would wish to be treated while setting expectations for performance in order to maximize your relationship with your staff. The value of loyal employees cannot be overstated. They are your front line representation of your business.
DELL found only an 8% overlap between the company’s Twitter followers and those of its employees.
2. True Leadership: You not only need self-motivation to start a business and see that it grows, during both sunny and rainy weather, but you also need to motivate your team and that requires you to unleash your entrepreneurial spirit with traits such as perseverance, confidence and a thick-skin because when challenges come, you must navigate them with solutions first (not chaos) and instruct your staff to follow suit. Your team and your clients are watching, and actually, they are rooting for you to take the wheel like a champ.
As a franchise owner, you must know when it is time to lean on your franchisor, particularly if you have done your research and aligned with one that provides reliable local support. As a leader, you must have the inclination towards personal accountability, the humility to receive feedback and assistance, but ultimately the wisdom to take whatever the situation is, consider the feedback, use the assistance and realize that the decisions are yours because it is your franchise. Embrace the role of being boss.
“69% of business leaders say it’s important to have a mentor.” –Grant Thornton’s View Newsletter. A fortunate fact of franchising is that you can have a powerful mentor to be found in your franchisor IF you properly understand and utilize that relationship.
3. Dedication to Customer Service: Personalized customer service is easily one of your most powerful marketing tools. Break out from day one and strive for 100 percent customer retention! Why not? That mindset, borne from confidence, will help keep you focused and inspire your entire team. Think about the fantastic impact your business can have on your community and let that become a belief and a goal that will permeate your business culture. Breeding loyalty in your customer base as well as your employees by committing to excellent customer service every day will have an expansive effect that could bring in new customers as positive word spreads and referrals start to roll in.
“Successful franchisees look at the big picture but also pay attention to the little things. They make their customers feel valued and they live up to their commitments to their customers.” – Bob Heimbuch, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for Washington DC/Maryland/Virginia and Pittsburgh Regions
4. Steadfast dedication to the model: You’re a boss and as such have a healthy instinct to have the final say on major decisions. You are also likely to be a freethinker, but it would be a self-sabotaging ripoff to stray from the franchise model that has been developed and honed based on results years before you signed your agreement. So if you are tempted to try a revolutionary marketing approach that you think is better than that provided by your franchisor, pick up the phone and call your local support representative and he or she will remind you that a gift you gave yourself by franchising is a system of operations that works best when you add your proverbial blood, sweat and tears, not a sharp left turn into something contrary and unproven. Discipline and laser-like focus on your business by sticking to the franchise model can maximize your chances to build a prosperous venture for yourself.
Bob Ylinen, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President reflects upon the importance of sticking to the franchise system of operations and can say that he has seen greater success among franchise owners who do exactly that. Bob explains, “Successful franchise owners tend to be people who are looking for financial security and a better quality of life. They want to know that the opportunity they are pursuing is sustainable and not subject to trends in the economy.
You must be willing to accept advice and follow the franchise recipe – not that you can’t be entrepreneurial, as that entrepreneurial spirit is a crucial thing to bring into the mix, but you must know that sticking to the franchise business model will increase your chances of success.”
Understand that the franchisor is a friendly (and invaluable) force
Central to the success of your franchise, should you be fortunate enough to find and capitalize on a prime opportunity, is understanding the role that your franchisor is going to play for you as you run your business. As the franchisor is undeniably invested in the brand, they become equally invested in your success, but can only do so as much as you align yourself with the system, training and support they provide. Your franchisor wants to support your efforts and you should take full advantage of the perks of your investment by engaging fully what should be comprehensive training, local support, marketing strategy and everything connected to the necessary resources they will provide so you can add elbow grease and see that your own franchise takes off and continues to develop.
Always remember that sticking to the guidelines and practices provided to you by your franchisor is wise and will serve to increase your chances for meaningful business growth. Franchise owners who find themselves struggling frequently misunderstand the purpose of the rules that govern the operation of smoothly running franchises within their system, instead engaging in a fruitless power-struggle of sorts which has no basis in the reality of true franchising. The furthest thing from the agenda of a trustworthy franchisor is to have any kind of discouraging or negative effect on the functioning practice of their franchisees. Franchisors that have established longevity and an enviable track record have done so by respecting the individual skill sets of their franchisees and want nothing more than to be present as a source of continual support and guidance, providing tools that their owners can use to create a professional reality that matches (or exceeds) their expectations.
“Any reputable franchisor should have their owners’ best interests in mind when giving advice because the truth is, the better the franchise owners do, the better the franchisor does as well.” – Nick Titus, VP Marketing, Minuteman Press International
Darin Waite, owner of Minuteman Press in The Woodlands, TX, acknowledges that successful franchise ownership encompasses many skills and lots of focused energy. He chooses to highlight his top two characteristics for successful franchise ownership based on his experience with his own business growth as he tends to his customer base and enjoys the positive benefits of client relationships that have been well-nurtured. His is an example of personalized customer service done well. Also, he and his staff have the skills to back it all up thanks to top-notch training and support from his franchisor, Minuteman Press International.
Darin’s “Top 2” winning characteristics for franchise success are actually virtues that should never be taken for granted:
Active Listening: I think what makes an owner successful is their ability to listen to a customer. I find that when listening first, you are able to identify the needs of a customer. If you start out by telling the customer everything you can and or can’t do for them, you may miss an opportunity to find a solution to what they are asking for or improve upon what they are currently doing.
Consistent Honesty: Always be honest with the customer and meet the job completion deadline and quality expectations. Don’t just do the job, do the job RIGHT. Keep in contact with them if there are challenges that need to be addressed and make good on your word, always.”
Signing a franchise agreement is a decision that more talented professionals are making because they can capitalize on a time-tested system in order to initiate and develop a promising career as a business owner. A truly worthy franchise opportunity is one that encompasses financial and lifestyle growth potential and offers the chance for you to become of real value to your community. Bob Heimbuch, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President for the Maryland/Virginia region adds, “Although no two franchise owners are the same, successful franchisees have some common characteristics, many discussed here, and they bring them into full force to grow their businesses. Successful franchisees follow the tried and proven franchise program and don’t look to reinvent the wheel.”
If you recognize traits common to successful franchisors within yourself, allow yourself to feel some excitement. The chance to invest and see that your franchise thrives means creating an enviable life and becoming a more wholehearted, accomplished version of yourself.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.