People at the heart of a strong franchising sector

Michael Paul | Chairman | Franchise Council of Australia

This article appears in the Mar/Apr 2016 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand

Australia’s $144 billion franchise sector is not just an important contributor to this nation’s economy, it also makes a significant social and community contribution. The core of franchising’s success is simple: it is about people.

Franchising is built on the entrepreneurial success stories of ordinary people taking an idea and turning it into a successful franchised business as they methodically implement the systems and processes that will form the foundations upon which a successful network can grow.

It’s ongoing viability and vitality is due in no small part to the 79,000 franchise business units run by ordinary people – mums and dads, young couples or careerchangers looking for flexibility and financial independence – to whom franchising provides the opportunity to own and run  their own small businesses with the systems, support and marketing reach that come with joining an established franchise brand.

The success of these small businesses is in turn driven by the 460,000 people who are employed directly in franchising – including the many students whose first part time job might be at the franchise business down the road, or apprentices who gain the opportunity to learn their trade in a franchise business. Indeed, one of the most enjoyable elements of being involved with the Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) is hearing the many individual success stories generated by the sector.

It was particularly pleasing in late 2015 to see two emerging Australian franchise systems, and FCA members, recognised on a global stage, with Jai Hobbs, Co-Founder Paleo Café, and Jacob Foster, Managing Director FCF Fire and Electrical, named as two out of 20 global winners of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) NextGen in Franchising Global Competition for 2015. Applications for the competition were open to young entrepreneurs in business for between one and five years with a company that could scale through franchising and who brought forward innovative ideas for existing franchise companies.

The representation and participation of the many Australian businesses who entered is a testament to the strength of the Australian franchising sector and the opportunities it provides for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The FCA is proud to support the many young franchisors who represented Australia in this competition along their journey as they continue to develop and grow their systems. The FCA also acknowledges and recognises the hard work and success of franchisees, who are the mainstay of any successful franchise system. 

These are people like Britt and Ben Diggins of Bakers Delight, Sturt Mall in Wagga Wagga, NSW, who were named the 2015 Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff at the MYOB FCA Excellence in Franchising Awards last year.

Britt and Ben became franchisees eight years ago - at just 18 and 23 years old respectively - after Ben not only finished his apprenticeship with Bakers Delight, but then took on management of the franchise that they now own.

Britt says the decision to buy a franchise was easy: “The best thing about a franchise is the support network and Bakers Delight was always going to be our first choice as the brand is well-known and respected. They have a great support network and the franchisees have all been  fantastic to us, both before we came into the group and since we’ve purchased the business.

“We’ve got 34 staff on our books, they all get consistent shifts and they’re the backbone of our business. We have a great retention rate and we know that if our staff are happy, our customers are happy. I look at the staff we employed at the start, and those that have moved on and are getting married, starting their own families, it’s wonderful to feel that we’ve been part of their development.

“I love our franchise and we’re very driven, we really do look forward to the next challenge and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved; from where we started - so young - to now owning our home, our business and starting a family. We’ve got two beautiful children and the business allows me the flexibility to be able to still work but also stay home with the kids and help them grow and develop,” Britt says.

It’s the FCA’s role to ensure the sector that supports all of these people and livelihoods remains a robust one. We are committed to continuing our efforts in this regard and look forward to hearing and sharing many more franchising success stories throughout 2016.