Success means working the Wheel of Excellence

Karli Furmage, CEO, Franchise Relationships Institute

A question I am often asked by the better franchisors is ‘What do excellent franchisees do?’ They want to know because any franchisor worth their salt will always be looking for the best people and for ways to help these people become as successful as possible. (Incidentally, one test of a good franchisor is how rigorous they are in checking you out).

If you are reading this article, chances are you have started on what we call the Franchisee Journey, a series of stages you will experience throughout your time as a franchisee. You are currently enjoying the first phase – Investigation – learning what it takes to be a franchisee and if it’s for you. If you want to be one of these excellent franchisees, read on!

What is Excellence?

Excellence is a word that gets banged around a lot without understanding what it looks like in practice. At the Franchise Relationships Institute [FRI] we believe that excellence is performing every aspect of your work to the highest standard. In business this relates to how you deliver your product or service, how you organise your work, how you deal with other people, how you manage your finances, and most importantly how you handle yourself.

Last year we embarked on a Franchisee Success Study to determine what excellent franchisees do. We studied the backgrounds, attitudes and habits of over 2,000 franchisees and then looked at their levels of success and satisfaction to see what patterns emerged.
The Study found that excellent franchisees, those performing all aspects of their work to the highest standards focus on five areas. We call these the five pieces and they make up the Franchisee Wheel of Excellence.

The Franchisee Wheel of Excellence

Our Franchisee Wheel of Excellence neatly draws together the super hot findings of the Study into a model of excellence. We think models are important because they help guide decisions, provide focus and drive behaviour - in this case, how franchisees can be superstars in their business.

The five interlocking pieces (refer to PDF) that make up the Franchisee Wheel of Excellence are:

Build Supporters

Excellent franchisees continually build commitment and rock solid relationships with the people on whom their business depends. Your supporters are your customers, your staff, the franchisor team, mentors, fellow franchisees, suppliers, your accountant, trusted advisors, family and friends.

In creating a cheer squad for your business, you are building a network of people that will go out of their way to roll up their sleeves and do what it takes to help make you a success.

Engage with the Brand

Our Franchisee Success Study discovered that franchisees with high levels of brand passion (that is, having pride and a strong belief in the franchise system) were making more money, delivering better service and contributing more to their franchise community. Such franchisees were found to be 35 per cent more satisfied overall as a franchisee.

Brand passion is the fuel that drives engagement, your enthusiasm in the products and services you will provide, sharing the delight your customers have about you and your business. This passion drives your attendance, participation and contribution to the broader franchise network, as you help the system (and other franchisees) do more and achieve more.

It’s hard yakka to sell a product you don’t love or believe in. On the other hand, profitable businesses are chock full of people who believe in what they do and how they do it.

Drive Growth

It takes courage to take the plunge and go into your own business, especially in this economic environment. Because the cost of doing business increases constantly, you need to sell more, find more customers and keep the ones you have to be competitive and profitable.

Excellent franchisees are committed to growth. Not just year-on-year growth of 10 per cent, which is needed just to cover basic business expenses, but getting out there and hunting down opportunities to achieve more. Excellent franchisees are hungry, with an appetite for finding new ways to promote their business, attract new customers and improve their product and services.

Maintain Personal Vitality

Vitality is all about physical energy, mental clarity and emotional health. It’s having the confidence, presence of mind and vigour to apply yourself to anything with motivation and joy (what some people call having your MoJo working).

Our Study revealed that 35 per cent of franchisees work more than a 50-hour week and 49 per cent say they find running their business emotionally exhausting.

Running on excellence requires you to be in tip top condition and becoming your own master of the three vitalities – physical, mental and emotional. Physical vitality enables us to put in the long hours often needed to build a business, and to not cut corners through laziness or tiredness.

Mental vitality enables us to be sharp and clear in our thinking. Being calm and curious to what’s going on are the superpowers of excellent franchisees. Emotional vitality comes from an attitude of gratitude, being grateful for the good stuff, accepting help when offered and brushing off disappointment as a lesson in learning.

Master what Matters

If you are at the start of your Franchisee Journey there are many steps and stages ahead of you, one of these being eventual exit from the franchise system. Franchisees are rarely franchisees for life!

Excellent franchisees showed us that they master what matters. They think strategically, keeping in mind the bigger picture of why they are in business in the first place.

One of the characteristics of the most successful franchisees in our Franchisee Success Study was they worked full-time overseeing their business – in other words, ‘working on their business’.

Mastering what matters means:

• Being able to pull out of the daily grind and look at your business strategically – to work on your business, as well as in it. Our Study indicated this approach resulted in 10 per cent better financial performance than those who were full time working hands-on ‘in the business’.
• Continually asking questions like ‘what do I need to focus on to grow this business?’ or ‘how do I continue to develop myself and my team?’ And the kicker, ‘what were my original goals in buying this business?’
• Having a routine for establishing and reviewing meaningful key performance indicators that tell you if your business is on track for success.
• Having documented standards and procedures in place, so that everyone understands what to do, how to do it and why.
• Trusting and training your team.

The real test for mastering what matters is if a franchisee can consider having a holiday and leave the business in the hands of their team (without having a massive anxiety attack at the mere thought of it!)

This is just a sneak peek into what our Franchisee Success Study told us about excellent franchisees. If you want to be one, ‘Work the Wheel’. Our Study showed us that those franchisees who do master the interlocking pieces of the Franchisee Wheel of Excellence were not only making more money, they had less stress and were happier with their lifestyle. Gold!

Karli Furmage has over 15 years’ experience in franchise management and operations and is the CEO of the Franchise Relationships Institute (FRI).

FRI has been helping franchisors and franchisees create profitable partnerships for over 24 years through research, consulting and education. To learn more about the Franchisee Success Study and the Franchisee Wheel of Excellence visit FRI at
www.franchiserelationships. com or post a question on FRI’s Facebook page at

Phone: (07) 3510 9000
Email: Karli@franchiserelationships. com