1851 Magazine: 3 Steps Franchisees Should Take to Make a Franchise Their Own
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With the purchase of a franchise, unit owners are gaining access to a proven system that needs to be adhered to in order to achieve financial and organizational success. That being said, franchisees have ample opportunity to draw on their own experiences to give their business a personal touch while still operating within the required parameters. Taking steps to execute their business plan and define their vision within the established framework provided by franchisors challenges franchisees to be unique in service offerings and cater to the entrepreneurial ambition that led them to franchise ownership in the first place.
First, franchisees should make every effort to embody the brand’s mission on a unit level to dictate what is expected of employees, leading by example. “I run my stores with the understanding I need to be at my best every day,” said Bill Zimmerman, a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchisee with locations in Kenosha, Wisconsin and Gurnee, Illinois.
“I treat the people on my team with respect and do everything I can to make sure they understand the business and what the franchise is about. I also place tons of emphasis on customer service and delivering on what our guests want,” he added.
Franchisees must also seize the opportunity to define processes and innovate creatively in the areas where available. Jana Frank, a Mathnasium franchisee in Oak Park, Illinois, found room for personal input within the after-school learning franchise’s business model and made the most of it. “I’m very lucky to be part of a franchise that provides flexibility in how I’m allowed to run the classes offered at my center,” Frank said.
Previously a classroom teacher, Frank was given a specific curriculum and procedures she was required to follow but used her teaching background to define specific methodology and approaches for her teachers to use. Additionally, Frank developed new programs to add to her center’s offering.
“Mathnasium’s core program serves students in grades 2 through 8. I added preschool and high school programs as well as programs for adults going back to school to address math needs at every level,” Frank said.
Further, franchisees benefit greatly from the personal impact that comes from community involvement. The community in which a franchise operates is unique to each unit, so franchisees should capitalize on this point of differentiation to make the franchise their own.
“Connecting with the community was very important to me from the minute I opened,” Zimmerman said. To do so, he instated discounts for police officers, firefighters and veterans, and partnered with a local school to begin an internship program for people with intellectual disabilities. “It’s a huge part of what I do and also represents the spirit of what I see Dickey’s Barbecue Pit doing on the corporate level,” he added.
Frank agreed, saying, “Establishing relationships with both parents and students has really helped my business become a part of the community. When you focus the service you provide on fostering those kinds of connections, the local impact is strong.