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Franchisors spill on their favoured skills for franchisees

on Friday, 08 September 2017. Posted in People

Knowing whether you have the skills needed to make the most of a franchise opportunity isn’t easy. That’s why we’ve asked franchisors what they look for in their ideal franchisee

Franchisors spill on their favoured skills for franchisees

When looking to enter the world of franchising, it’s not always easy to know exactly what kind of skills you need to really stand out to franchisors. Are they looking for rule followers or rebels? Those with an entrepreneurial outlook or those with a more systematic mindset? Should your skill set be focused more on managing your bottom line or on putting in place new tools and tech to help you plan for the future? Do you need expertise tailored to your chosen industry or are you better off with general business skills? In the hope of answering some of these questions, we went straight to the source and asked some of the industries highest profile franchisors what qualities they prioritise in prospective franchisees.

The perfect fit

Stuart Broster, UK CEO, Anytime Fitness

What would you say are the ideal skills and characteristics for franchisees?

While certain skills are not a prerequisite, we’re looking for people who will embrace our vision, brand values and mission to enrich lives through better health, community and inspiration-driven franchise ownership. 

What skills and characteristics do you find franchisees are most often lacking?

It depends on whether it’s their first venture and what their background is. We know that if we find the right people, individuals who are highly motivated, engaged and can follow the model, they will succeed.

What area do you think a prospective franchisee should invest the most time in when building new experience and skills?

Understanding sales and marketing – including the three Ps: people, position and presale – and the importance of providing a great experience to aid retention. In addition, while our franchisees may not work in their clubs every day, they know their numbers, drive their teams and take ownership of their business success.

What else do you think prospective franchisees can do to help themselves stand out from the crowd?

Show passion and dedication. Get involved and recognise the value of the customer and embrace what the brand can offer.

At your service

Simon Mills, head of franchising, Fantastic Services

What would you say are the ideal skills and characteristics for franchisees?

Having the desire and motivation to start and build your own business is one of the most important things, as well as having experience in managing people. Nowadays it is also particularly helpful to be tech savvy. Technology is present in all areas of a business, so ensure that you stay on top of the latest developments. This will allow you to easily adapt and attract the best talent. Additionally, you must also understand that customer service is important and really know the brand that you want to be a part of. Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to have good verbal and written English skills.

What skills and characteristics do you find franchisees are most often lacking?

People are generally afraid of owning a business and the responsibility that goes with it, such as being registered as a limited company, having insurance, managing expenses versus turnover and investing in the unknown. The list goes on. One of the major things is that if you don’t bring yourself up to speed with technology, it’s easy to be left behind, unable to keep up with the demands of an increasingly digital world. On the more fundamental end of the scale, some of the skills that people lack are management, planning and accounting skills. Although basic, they are vital and shouldn’t be taken for granted.

What area do you think a prospective franchisee should invest the most time in when building new experience and skills?

Start with the simple things first. Look into customer service, make sure you are able to plan for your business and try to stick to it. Also don’t forget to sharpen up your management skills. Take a course if you have to and there are plenty of videos online. It is a worthwhile investment and will only benefit you in the long run.

What else do you think prospective franchisees can do to help themselves stand out from the crowd?

Be creative and innovative. These are buzzwords that people hear all the time but you can only benefit from thinking differently and not conforming. Additionally, be strategic. Once you understand the market and your brand, assess what works and what doesn’t and take that into account when it comes to your business.

Making your mark

David Glover, franchise recruitment manager, Caremark

What would you say are the ideal skills and characteristics for franchisees?

All franchisors look for slightly different traits in franchisees but there are commonalities: time management and self-motivation are essential in the early days when you may be working alone. It’s important to be able and willing to operate within a regulated framework and not just when it comes to the franchise model but also industry specific compliance like the Care Quality Commission. For Caremark, a strong community spirit and a desire to add value locally is also vital, as well as an empathy with the services we offer.

Regardless of the industry you’re looking to join, there’s no substitute for drive and determination. Running a business isn’t easy, even with the support of a franchisor. Tenacity, resilience and a can-do attitude are all characteristics we know our best franchisees possess.

What skills and characteristics do you find franchisees are most often lacking?

For me, this is more about finding the right balance. Franchisees need – but often lack – a level of entrepreneurialism. By its very nature, franchising isn’t really suited to a true entrepreneur because the systems are already in place for them to follow. 

But franchisees do need to be gregarious and have the spirit and flair to self-promote. They need to pick up the phone, network and market themselves and their business. Often people are a little too timid and initially hope to rely on the franchise model to do that work for them.

What area do you think a prospective franchisee should invest the most time in when building new experience and skills?

Many people need more financial training or experience. If you aren’t already, I would advise getting comfortable with a P&L, being able to understand your cash flow and the financial implications on the business. It is vital for day-to-day running and for your future planning as a business owner.

What else do you think prospective franchisees can do to help themselves stand out from the crowd?

I’m always impressed when someone who comes to see me has genuinely done their research. I’m alarmed when people haven’t considered our competitors. Doing so shows me that you’ve made a conscious decision to come and see me and are serious about progressing to the next level. Got a tricky question? Brilliant. Discussing in-depth issues lets me know you’re thorough, understand your own strengths and weaknesses and are thinking about your local market. 

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