Battery World Morphett Vale charged with winning ambitions
From managing a franchise for another owner to delivering Century Yuasa batteries to Battery World stores across South Australia: Mark Edwards clearly had his eye on owning a franchise and which store he would buy.
Mark and his wife, Cindy Edwards were winners of the South Australia Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) Award for a franchise with two employees or more. And while the duo were not successful at October’s national awards, their enthusiasm has not damped: now setting their sights on adding to their collection of Battery World’s own annual national awards.
Mark and Cindy bought the struggling Morphett Vale store in July 2012 and within 12 months had doubled the store turnover winning the national niche retailer’s ‘Best New Franchisee Award’ in 2013. They believe they can win Franchisee of the Year for the network.
“Franchising has had a bad rap recently,” Mark said. “It has obviously been more in the news with the woes of the Retail Food Group. While none of us has a crystal ball there are a number of standouts in retail that make for longevity.
“For me that is batteries! While not glamorous to many people, they are essential. You only have to see how glued we all are to our phones and if that battery stops working, there is panic. Likewise the car: suddenly you won’t be able to make that meeting or pick up kids from school.
“When times are tough people may not always eat out or cut down on that daily coffee, but they cannot do without batteries. Adding to all of this is customer service: we will come to you and change your battery: we offer expert advice. As a national retailer with extensive training we have maximised on our expertise and have solidified this expertise by registering and trademarking ourselves as Batteryologists.
“After delivering Century Yuasa batteries for many years, Battery World was on our radar. The franchise model is attractive as it comes with support and systems and within six months of making a decision, we had the keys to open Battery World Morphett Vale.”
The Battery World duo firmly believes franchising is a great way to do business.
And they are not alone: franchises contribute over $144 billion to the Australian economy with Franchise Council of Australia (FCA), figures showing 460,000 Australians derive their livelihood from franchising across the 80,000 franchised workplaces.
It was critical, right from the start; this was a joint venture between Mark and Cindy. Like many husband and wife businesses long hours loomed ahead along with the juggle of children and school.
“Our children were eight and 10 at the time,” Edwards said. “So we adapted an area of our workshop into a lounge area so they could feel at home when they were here with us.
“Those first few years were hard on us all. We took the challenge in our stride: with no cash for staff we committed to the long hours and in transforming the store from one of the lowest turnovers in the network to one of the highest turnover stores in South Australia.
“Inevitably in 2016 we got to the point where we needed staff to further our growth and also allow us to enjoy family time outside the work place.
“Buying a poor performing store meant the only way for us was up. Despite the woes we keep hearing about retail in SA – we find we are providing a solution to customers’ problems and to this day our success is built on the fact 75% of sales are from returning customers.”
With uncertainties facing all modern retailers, Edwards says the ability to give customers what they want, where and when they want it will continue to stand Battery World out from the crowd.
“People are quick to be cynical about franchising, ”he says. “Tales of woe always travel better than anything positive. But the small business research success statistics show if you open a small business and I open a franchise, the figures are stacked in the franchise’s favour that they will still be operating in 12 months’ time. There still should be plenty of faith in the franchise sector because you have the support from the Franchisor, that if you follow the model – they will assist your business with the bigger picture while you can focus on the day to day operations.
“The brand is growing stronger in SA than ever before. We still have some way to go, some consumers still do not fully understand what we can do.
“Those who know the brand embrace it. I almost have to cover up my shirt when I rush into Woollies or Officeworks because people stop me and ask me about batteries, for this or batteries for that. It seems everyone has a burning battery question. I love it and I love it that the brand is developing so well that more and more people recognise our purple ‘power’.”