What to ask and what to say
This article appears in the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of Business Franchise Australia & New Zealand
How to find out what you need to know about your new business
Going into business on your own is a big decision. Taking the leap from employee to business owner can feel daunting and exciting and having access to the right information will make your decision an easier one. It’s important to take your time, don’t feel rushed into making your decision. You need to make sure you are equipped with the information you need to make the right decision.
You can find out a great deal of information online, but nothing beats having the chance to sit face to face with a Franchise Development Manager to find out more detailed information so that you can dig deeper and find out more about your potential new business. According to Forbes, non verbal cues, our body language, can have over four times more impact than the spoken word. You will get a lot more out of a face to face meeting than you will out of a phone call. It’s your chance to speak first hand with someone from the business that you could be joining. Working in the cleaning, landscaping and lawns and gardens industries can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s also physical work and it’s important to consider how you will deal with the physical element of the work.
When looking at franchise options, make sure the franchisor provides you with the opportunity to go out with a franchisee to see what a day in the business looks like. It’s also a great chance to see what the earning potential can be in the franchise. It’s a great chance to experience the business but also speak with the franchisee about how they find running the business. The valuable feedback you receive will help you to determine if it’s the right choice. The great thing about working in these industries is that every day your work speaks for itself. You see the results of your work and that will only leave the customer thrilled with the results. Seeing the physical transformation that can take place from a job well done is extremely satisfying.
While having the chance to spend some time with a franchisee is great, having the opportunity to speak with a range of franchisees adds to the experience. The franchisor you are speaking with should be able to give you this option. Make sure you can speak with franchisees that are new and those that have been with the brand for many years. These different perspectives will help you to see what it’s like running the business at the beginning and over time.
Having the chance to meet your Support Manager is an important part in the process of choosing a franchise brand. Your Support Manager is your link to the franchisor and your business. They are there to guide, help and support you. It’s important you get to meet them, have a chat, and see what the rapport is like between you both. After all, you will be working closely with your Support Manager and you want to make sure that you feel there is the potential to build a positive relationship with them.
Working in the cleaning, landscaping and lawns and gardens industries is all about working with customers. You need to enjoy working with people and take pride in providing customer service. Word of mouth is one of the biggest ways you will be able to generate customers to build your business. Providing exceptional service to your customers will help to make this happen. Make sure that when you spend time with a franchisee you also have the chance to meet the customers if it is possible. Seeing how the franchisee and the customers interact will give you a great insight into what it’s like working with customers on a day-to-day basis. Your customers are your greatest asset – learning how to work with them is a skill that can only help your business.
Often, working in the cleaning, landscaping and lawns and gardens industry means you are a mobile business. Your day-to-day office is your vehicle. Finding out advice on what type of vehicle works best is important information for your potential business. If you will need a trailer for your business, find out the specifications of the trailer and if the franchisor will arrange this for you or if you will need to do this on your own.
Purchasing a franchise isn’t just about joining a big brand, it’s about the initial and ongoing training that you can access. Going into business on your own is hard enough – without support and training, it makes it almost impossible.
Training and support make the journey of owning your own business less daunting as you know you aren’t on your own and help, if you need it, is only a phone call away. Be sure to find out what type of training is available. The training needs to be about how to do the work, but also how to run the business. As a business owner you need to work both in and on the business. The training opportunities should also be available on an ongoing basis. This will help you to continue to build your skills or your business.
Marketing is an essential part of any business. When joining a franchise you are essentially purchasing the right to rent the brand for your business. It’s important to find out what the franchisor does to increase brand awareness, but also what assistance and help they provide to you, as the franchisee, to build the brand in your area. Finding out the broader marketing activity and how this can combine with local marketing initiatives is an integral part of running your business. As cleaning, landscaping and lawns and gardens are service industries the products and equipment you use in your business are vital.
With cleaning, the products need to be able to deliver outstanding results. There should be training provided on how to use the products while also explaining why they work so well and why you should use them in your business.
When it comes to your equipment, it’s important to ask who the supplier is and how you can purchase the equipment you will need for your business. Will you need to purchase the equipment? Will the franchisor arrange this for you?
Being part of a franchise brand also brings with it many benefits such as group discounts. Due to the buying power of franchisors, it means franchisees receive savings across areas such as products, equipment and possibly printing and media buying. As an independent operator, it would be difficult to generate the savings and discounts that franchisors can achieve. It’s another benefit of being part of a franchise brand, but be sure to ask what discounts are available to you as a franchisee if you were to join.
Most importantly, enjoy the process. Making the decision to become your own boss and be in charge of your financial future is exciting. We, as franchisors, want to work with you to help you achieve your personal and business goals. We’re here to give you the information you need to help you reach your decision. By reading this column, you’re already on your way to being prepared and finding out the information you need to make a sound business decision.
We wish you all the best with your exciting next chapter as a business owner.
Bill Vis, Founder & Chairman, V.I.P. Home Services.
V.I.P. is a national franchise network that offers Home Cleaning, Commercial Cleaning and Lawns and Gardens franchises.
Over the last 35 years V.I.P. has helped over 4,000 people become successful business owners.
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