Is there a secret ingredient to business success?

According to Nigel Toplis, the key to securing that all-important repeat business is to remain customer centric at all times.

Is there a secret ingredient to business success?

There are many reasons why franchises are more successful than ‘independent’ businesses.

Most of these reasons are both simple and logical. Established franchises have developed a solid, proven business model; The franchisor has many years of business experience in the industry; And there is usually a high level of available support for new franchisees who can take advantage of the brand’s network of business partners.

These are just three reasons why franchising offers a ‘safer’ option for budding business owners, than those who decide to go it alone as an ‘independent’. But there are other secret ingredients for getting ahead in business-to-business franchising. Having a good memory is one of them, especially when it comes to dealing with customers.

An ability to remember client details – both personal and business – is vital. Remembering details of previous client appointments will enable you to remain on top of market changes.

However, the essence of running a successful business is to remember why clients have chosen to work with you in the first place. Forget this, and you can wave goodbye to any repeat business, as well as word of mouth referrals.

Therefore, it is important to remain customer centric. The key is to build solid relationships and maintain high levels of customer service. You also need a strong personal presence in your business community.

It is vital that business owners never lose sight of their clients’ goals and objectives. Whatever is deemed important to your client, should be viewed as being even more important to you the franchisee. By adopting this approach, this will ensure that the customer is continually reminded that you are their trusted business partner, rather than just another supplier. 

Suppliers come and go. Suppliers are essentially ‘commodity providers.’ Yet business partners are viewed as adding value, and not just in the high level of service they provide. But they should also act as a confidante, an advisor or even a consultant.

When we recruit franchisees to The Bardon Group, we rarely look for experience in the industry. This is because it’s our job, as the franchisor, to teach them what they need to know about the brand, its products and/or services.

We always look for people who we believe will relate quickly to customers. We want good communicators, those who can build relationships, are organised, ambitious and driven.

To be a successful franchisee you need to have a strong sales drive, along with a good commercial awareness. This will enable you to develop close business relationships with clients. In other words, you must be a ‘people’ person.

A good B2B franchisee needs to have a high-profile in the local business community. They can’t simply spend their time stuck behind a desk. They need to attend plenty of networking and client meetings. This will help to keep their staff motivated and informed throughout the journey.

Business owners must feel confident that staff members are capable of ‘holding the fort’ in the absence of the franchisee. And, as any business grows, this will happen more and more. 

Always recruit the best staff you can afford. Do not simply select your brother-in-law because ‘he’s family.’ Franchisees must ensure that any local marketing should dovetail with the policies taken by the group’s national head office. They must also remain constantly active when it comes to marketing and client communication.

Excellent client service is the only level that is acceptable to those who harbour ambitions to be a successful franchisee. Repeat business, as well as that secured via referrals, makes up a sizeable segment of all business within the B2B environment. Retaining business is extremely cost effective.

As you can see, there are no trade secrets. If you want to get ahead in franchising, then it’s vital you enjoy close, strong relationships with your customers. You must employ good people, market your business regularly and wisely, while always delivering excellent customer service.

Nigel Toplis
Nigel Toplis