How healthy is your business?
This article appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
For more than two decades I have been involved in the operations and management of retail and franchise businesses, and during that time I have assisted many franchisees to recognise the need for changes within their business.
In franchising, a proven system is the first key area that attracts a new franchisee. Everything else flows on from there – business support, training, systems and procedures, leadership, financial management, marketing and PR and of course brand awareness.
A franchisor who runs a successful business model provides all the training and support that the franchisee requires, assists with financial and business management, provides the local area marketing and public relations to support the franchisee and provides the leadership and mentoring to ensure he or she is provided with all the tools to succeed. However, as a franchisee, you also need to ensure that your business is in the healthiest condition it can be to ensure sustained growth.
It is important to have a close, hard look at your operation and to ensure that your business is in a healthy position to expand and grow.
Does your business plan reflect correctly the changes and innovation that need to be adopted to ensure your ongoing success?
What has been working well for your business over the past 12-24 months? What are the areas that you believe need improvement in order to take your business to a new level within the next three years?
Time for a check-up
In my role, I work closely with franchisors to assess their franchise system to identify opportunities for improvement and efficiencies for all stakeholders.
The Franchise Health Check provides a comprehensive review of a franchise system across a broad range of business imperatives grouped in six key categories. Results are thoroughly analysed and recommendations devised and prioritised to provide the business with a clear road map towards best practice.
The Health Check takes a microscopic view of the key elements of the business. These elements include:
The Head - Business Planning and System Development
The Face - Public Relations & Communications / Marketing & Promotion
The Backbone - Organisational Structures and Personnel
The Heart - Franchise Performance & Financials
The Hands - Network Management & Support
The Eyes - Policies, Procedures & Legal
In very recent times, franchisors, including House of Golf, Kumon Learning Centres and Cincotta Discount Chemists have all undertaken the Franchise Health Check, with outstanding results.
Following the comprehensive Health Check, we were able to work with these clients to assist them to develop a strategic plan which comprehensively articulates their intended business vision, key objectives and a prioritised framework for realisation of the strategy over the short, medium and long term.
As one CEO pointed out; “The Health Check process identified a broad and very relevant range of important recommendations to strengthen the operations of our business and position it for growth and higher levels of profitability. I believe that the implementation of these recommendations will assist in the development of a corporate environment that will enable us to relaunch the franchise system and restart its growth phase in a manner that is consistent with the objectives for the franchise and the brand.”
On a franchisee level, there’s simply no reason that you shouldn’t be going through the same checks on your own business to ensure that it is performing as well as it can be.
You need to be asking yourself some important questions about your business;
How do you know if my business is heading in right direction? Is my strategic/business plan robust enough to challenge me without demotivating me? How often am I reviewing my business performance against my business plan? Are my business goals realistic and do they tie into my personal goals?
A well balanced business plan is the blue print of the direction you intend on driving your business in. A practical business plan is a valuable document that becomes the checklist towards success including sales, profit forecasts and targets, expansion and growth strategy.
Business plans need to be reviewed regularly, not only to ensure that you are heading in the right direction towards achieving your goals, but also so that new goals can be established if your existing ones have already been met.
Sales and Marketing
How do you tell the market what you do? Is your business getting the best exposure possible? Are you taking advantage of PR opportunities wherever possible? Are you measuring the return on investment that your marketing dollars are earning? Are you able to track and measure each of the actions that will bring you closer to your goals? If your sales and marketing plan is not aligned with your business plan the reality of achieving your sales, profit forecasts and targets decreases incredibly. Ensure that your business plan effectively recognises the importance of marketing in achieving your goals.
Are you using your operations manual? Is it easy to access for reference at any time? As a franchisee, you are provided with an operations manual by your franchisor – use it! It should be an easy-to-access resource within your business, and is the key to operating your business in the tried and tested formula perfected by your franchisor.
Does your business have the right structure and the right talent to achieve its goals? Are you succession planning with your people? Do you invest on training and up skilling your people to maximise return on investment? How often do you appraise staff and review performance to ensure alignment towards business goals? Is your team or network aware of the business goals and are they aligned with their departmental/individual goals?
You can’t build a successful business on your own – take control of the most precious asset that exists in your business, your people. Building a successful team also involves planning the right structure that is best suited for your business and then identifying areas of responsibilities that belong within these structures.
Communication, and more importantly, consistency in the communication that you impart on your team is essential to ensure that everyone is on the same page and moving in the same direction with the same motivation and end goal in mind.
Be innovative and think about the best way that you can analyse your business with fresh eyes and an objective approach.
You may be surprised about some of the issues that are identified once you begin to look closely at the operations of your business, however there is no better time than now to start rectifying them and moving forwards on your path to greater success.
Nik Konidaris is General Manager Franchise Operations at FC Business Solutions. He has a wealth of experience in franchising, holding senior roles with national brands including Betta Electrical, Clark Rubber and most recently, Quest Serviced Apartments.
Nik has a passion for developing and nurturing relationships, mentoring and coaching individuals to get the very best out of their business aspirations and opportunities.
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