Day-to-day franchise success

Why are some franchises more successful than others? Part of it comes down to choosing an established company with a proven track record and a good reputation.

It is important that it belongs to the BFA (British Franchise Association) and runs its business in accordance with the best practices laid down in the BFA ‘Ethics of Franchising’ guide. However, once you have chosen the right company, what do you need to do to achieve success?

SmallBusiness.co.uk and Robina Every, sales and franchise director of franchisor Card Connection, offer this list of useful tips:

Agree a suitable contract – When agreeing the initial franchise contract, you need to consider such issues as its duration and the geographical area covered by the franchise, as well as the location of other franchises of the same type. You may incur fees at the start of the relationship, so make sure you budget for these and establish the level of support your franchisor is able to offer you. You should also make sure that you have a way out of the contract, perhaps during the initial months, in case things don’t go to plan.

Maintain a good working relationship with your franchisor – Communication should go both ways, to and from your franchisor. It should be regular and any advice given should be considered carefully. Whatever issue you may be encountering, you can guarantee someone somewhere has already faced a similar situation and your franchisor should be able to assist you. Put their experience to good use rather than trying to learn the hard way – presumably, that’s why you’ve joined a franchise and not set out in business on your own.

Monitor cash flow – Keep referring back to your business plan and review the situation in relation to your forecasts and projections. Believe the figures (they don’t lie) and use them to make informed decisions about your business. It is important not to underestimate the working capital that is required to run the business day-to-day while it is growing. Problems with cash flow can be mistaken for poor profitability, especially in the early days, but careful planning and monitoring will prevent unpleasant surprises.

See also: 15 ways to improve cash flow

Market your business – There are a lot of myths about marketing. The plain fact is that there is nobody better to market your business than yourself. Use the passion you have for your product or service to talk to people face-to-face. Enthusiasm is contagious, so people will respond better to your proposals if you are passionate about your business. However, remember to monitor the results of any marketing activity. You don’t want to waste your money in the future if a campaign has not returned your investment.

Good time management is critical – Time is now hard currency and you need to spend it wisely. Discipline, planning and flexibility are the keys to success when it comes to time management. It is too easy to become distracted when you are working for yourself with no one to report to. A short while spent planning and preparing saves time in the long run and will increase your efficiency. Be flexible and regularly challenge every task associated with running your business.

Keep up to date with paperwork – Little and often is the key. Don’t try to do all your paperwork for the month in one day. Not only does this become a terrible chore but by the end of the day you are more likely to be tired and make mistakes. In addition, where possible invest in IT and increase your computer skills so that you can make full use of the accounts systems available. Of course, don’t forget to back up your system on a regular basis.

Recognise your strengths and weaknesses – It is important you recognise your own strengths and weaknesses. Use them to your advantage. If you really are dreadful at managing one aspect of your business, draw on your staff’s skills to make it run more smoothly. Your time may be better and more productively spent on working with the elements of running your franchise that you are good at and enjoy.

Reward yourself – The responsibility of running the business is down to you and that includes rewarding yourself when things go well. Set yourself a goal and when you achieve it be sure to congratulate yourself. You would do it for an employee, so why not do it for yourself?

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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