Navigate your way to success

Tania Allen, Founder, Vision Alliance

This article appears in the Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand


I’m not sure if you have even been white water rafting but trust me when I say it comes with its ups and downs. The key is to get into the zone and control every move as quickly as possible so you can enjoy the ride and the journey with an ultimate  aim of getting to calmer waters feeling on top of your game instead of feeling deflated and defeated.

Operating a business is a bit like white water rafting. At times it’s scary, hectic, and sometimes unbelievably out of control. It takes you out of your comfort zone and pushes you into unknown waters. At other times, it’s exciting, challenging and ultimately rewarding.

The key to navigating your way through business successfully is the same as navigating your raft through the rapids. Once you know how and what to do, it’s important to be sure you implement that knowledge so that you arrive at calmer waters with confidence and without too many knocks, bumps, cuts and bruises. It’s about making the right moves at the right time and in the right order, so that when you are ready to move to the next level you can with confidence.

Doing the right things in the right order is crucial to success. Being sure you take consistent action every day and ensuring that the bulk of your day is focused on income generating activities and not just any activity is a key component to building the business of your dreams.

When I speak with many retailers they are often times bruised and battered as if they have been defeated in the rapids and the other times they are on top of the world because they’ve had a great day or week. So how  do you achieve consistent success in your retail store so you can celebrate more wins over and over again?

The first crucial element to building momentum and success in retail in the franchise sector is to choose the right brand to partner with. A brand that offers a tried and proven business model, one that is committed to seeing you achieve success just as much as you want success yourself. I was speaking with Daniel Isaacs, General Manager of The Coffee Emporium just recently about this. Daniel states that franchisees have a better chance at success when they are supported by a brand that has learnt to navigate through the rapids and have the tools and the systems in place to get to the smooth consistent waters. Of course it’s the responsibility of the franchisee to work the system and to take consistent daily action towards success however a franchisee backed and supported by a good brand and leadership team will always have a better opportunity of turning their vision of owning a successful business into reality.

Working with The Coffee Emporium what I’ve observed is; they ensure every franchised business partner is following the key things to ensure consistent success for their stores. As a retailer regardless of the industry or network you are part of, the principles that are adopted by The Coffee Emporium on a daily basis is something that will serve and support you.

Atmosphere and culture is key

When you first hear the name The Coffee Emporium or from the moment you step into one their stores, you instantly feel you’re in a European Coffee Lounge. A place where everyone gathers; a place where you meet your friends, your family, and even your work colleagues. A level of sophistication embraces you and welcomes you. Your sense of smell is aroused with the aroma of freshly ground coffee and from the moment you take your first sip, you know you have found a lifelong companion.

This message instantly welcomes the customer. How does your store invite your customers to step inside? Before your customers step inside your store, it must be welcoming and inviting and match the emotional needs and wants of your customer. It may not be a coffee store; it could be a funky juice bar or burger bar or even a clothing store. The important element is ensure your atmosphere and culture in store invites people in and welcomes people to stay. Spend twenty minutes each morning ensuring your store is neat and clean, well-stocked with pricing visible, good lighting, and appropriate music.

Serve Thy Customer

It sounds obvious but many a store I step into are just not interested in their customers. Instead it’s just about the sale. By showing a genuine interest and respect for the customer, the customer is more likely to spend more and to come back more often. What stands out when you’re inside The Coffee Emporium Store is the service. Not only are the staff genuinely interested in you and providing what you want, they make suggestions with what might compliment the beverage or the light meal the customer has ordered. I understand that many of you may think upselling is a taboo in the sense you just don’t want to look like or sound like a McDonald’s store. What if you shifted your thinking and thought it was a disservice to your customer for not asking them if they would like a drink with their meal or a treat with their drink. Instead of thinking it’s just a strategy to fill your pockets look at upselling and cross selling, in other words increasing your average transaction, as a way of adding more value to your customer. If they don’t buy from you they will definitely be buying from someone else.

Train and support your team members

I couldn’t emphasise this enough. My daughter has just started working with the franchise brand Grill’d and I must say I’m very impressed with the training that is available to all staff members. As franchise consultants we can’t emphasise this enough to our clients. The brands that win in this game are consistently training all team members. Training builds confidence. With clarity in what needs to be done and how it is done comes confidence and competence. Customers observe this and  experience this. A happy and more confident team member will thrive in his or her role, which supports the overall customer experience. Have a look at the training you are currently offering your team members. Are they confident and competent? If not it’s time to do a refresh. If you’re just looking at getting into a retail brand ensure you explore what training and support is offered by the franchisor.

Consistent marketing is key

Once upon a time if you were in retail you would rely heavily on the foot traffic in the centre or on the strip where your store was located. Every now and then you would do a letterbox drop and advertise in the local paper. Gone are the days where any retailer can afford to sit and wait for the customers to come in. If you snooze you lose. So how do you attract your ideal customers and keep them coming back for more?

Digital marketing and client attraction is well upon us and if you are not taking advantage of it then you are miles behind. Even if your franchisor isn’t up on it all there’s no excuse for you not to be.

Start thinking about how you can maximise your potential with social media. Many people I speak to say they just don’t get results from social media. The reason for this is because they are simply building brand awareness rather than creating direct response offers. Your online marketing should always have the objective of driving people into your store. Think about your activities now. Instead of posting an image or some text, think about your message. Overlay the image with a compelling offer or a message that invites your customers to come in store.

Just like The Coffee Emporium, the retailers I see doing well are collecting names, email addresses and mobile numbers in store. They say the gold is in the database. I say success starts with the database however success is always in the follow through. Start to communicate regularly with your customers via SMS or email. Send them offers and invite them back. A great strategy to increase certainty and consistency with revenues is to check your sales by 11am and 2pm. I remember seeing how deflated my mum was on certain days in her retail store when by 6pm when she was closing the till and cashing up for the day and realised they had not reached budget that day. Other days were well above so it got me thinking; the only way to achieve success in retail is take control of the sales and not wait for them to happen. If you haven’t hit budget by 11am, then you can jump straight onto the computer and send out an SMS blast with an offer than compels your customers to come instore to grab that lunchtime offer. Our clients have literally catapulted their sales by adopting just this one strategy alone.

These are just a few insights into retail franchising and what you can look for in a franchisor. Have they got a tried and tested and proven model? How are they going to back you and support you? What systems, training and support do they have in  place to help you maximise their potential? How will you make your money? What marketing strategies have they adopted to help you achieve more?

Tania Allen is the founder of Vision Alliance and author of Franchise Profits. Vision Alliance is a business growth and franchise consulting firm that helps franchisors and franchisees get more out of business and more out of life. For more information about how Tania and her team can support you in finding the right franchise opportunity, or if you would like to learn more about how you can maximise your potential in your franchise or learn more specifically about The Coffee Emporium please contact:

P: 1300 76 49 20 or 0419 481 203