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One size doesn’t fit all

Written by Frank Milner on Wednesday, 06 November 2019. Posted in Analysis

Bespoke. Personalised. Two very important words in the world of Tutor Doctor and I wanted to share them with you as both food for thought and words of advice.

One size doesn’t fit all

Bespoke. Personalised. Two very important words in the world of Tutor Doctor and I wanted to share them with you as both food for thought and words of advice when it comes to identifying a franchisor that is going to give you the best possible chance of success.

We have built our business around the idea that, thinking caps come in all shapes and sizes. This ethos resonates throughout our entire business. It’s why our franchisees work with families to identify a child’s learning style, personality and skill level, before matching them with a best-fit tutor. In order for that child to reach his or her potential, tutoring needs to be bespoke and personalised. We apply this same principle to our franchisee training and support. We understand that our franchisees come from different walks of life and bring with them different skillsets, strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, they all need different levels of training and support. Not just on day one, but throughout the life of their business, if we are to help them unlock their potential too.

In most franchise brands, the franchisor has an ‘ideal’ franchisee profile – or several. This is usually based on the professional backgrounds, skills and attributes of their most successful franchisees to date. This helps brands to actively target and market to the people who are most likely to be a good fit for the franchise. You may well be delighted to hear that you’re a good fit. Especially if, in your search for an opportunity, you found the brand in question and felt it was something you’d like to pursue. Here’s the key thing to remember. Even if you ‘fit the profile’ you need to make sure that your chosen franchisor can train and support you as an individual, rather than trying to force you into a box.

Now, it would be unreasonable to expect a franchisor to design and deliver custom-made training and support programmes for every new franchisee. But what you can expect, is a franchisor who has the ability and the resources to adapt their training and support to your specific needs. Systems and processes should exist that allow a franchisor to dedicate more time and energy to areas where, between you, you identify weaknesses or a lack of knowledge or experience. A truly great franchisor will also take time to understand how you learn best. How we absorb and retain information varies from person to person – for example, some are more visual whilst others prefer written guidance. Many people, myself included, learn by ‘doing’ and thrive through a hands-on, vocational approach when it comes to learning a new skill.

Here’s what I recommend. Undertake a skills and personality SWOT analysis on yourself. If you can be completely honest, what you will end up with is a powerful tool to take with you on your franchise journey. When meeting with a franchisor, ask for evidence of how and where your knowledge gaps, lack of experience and even dislike for certain business disciplines can be addressed and supported. Equally, what systems are in place that will help you to leverage your strengths to maximise your launch and ongoing growth?

I’d expect to see regular one-to-one, personalised training, both at head office and out ‘on the ground’ in your territory. I’d also expect a franchisor to have a mentor or a ‘buddy’ system in place where new recruits are paired with a more established business owner to learn from. Ongoing support should include regular business reviews and personal updates but also options for you to feedback and request support on specific areas in your business. If a franchisor can demonstrate support specific to each stage of the franchise lifecycle, such as jump-start, growth-accelerator and empire builder programmes, it’s a good indication that they recognise the differences in their network and actively seek to benefit all. 

Franchising is all about following a trusted, proven model. It’s one of the most effective routes to business ownership, with an impressive track record of success. But you, as a franchisee, are very much an individual. And you must look to invest in a brand who recognises you as such, and works with you, not against you.

About the Author

Frank Milner

Frank Milner

Having worked as a stock broker, built a successful insurance business, acted as a sales coach and then taken on a vice president role at WSI, the digital marketing franchise, Milner has an impressive and varied background in business, franchising, sales and marketing. In his current role as CEO of Tutor Doctor, the private tutoring franchise, he's seen the company grow globally to include 500 franchisees spread across the world, including the UK.

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