The Soft Skills Secrets That Will Make Your Franchise a Success

25/02/2018 18:00 | Start a business

Soft skills to make your franchise a success

Running a franchise and being your own boss can bring you plenty of rewards. With unlimited income potential, ongoing support, training opportunities and a proven business model, all thats required is a great location and a strong work ethic. So here is our guide to the soft skills secrets that will help build a successful business after opening a franchise.

Management abilities

Successfully managing your franchise is all about delegation. Ensuring the right jobs are filled by people with the right skill sets will help you maximise your operating efficiency so you can build one of the most profitable franchises in your network.

So, if someone has excellent interpersonal skills and a more introvert personality, they may be well suited to a customer-facing role like a sales position. Whereas, someone who isnt so comfortable in a customer-facing role will probably be happier in a back-office role where there is little or no need to interact with customers.

Giving constructive feedback

The last points lead to another vital soft skill: giving feedback. One of the hallmarks of business management is the ability to provide feedback that is constructive as opposed to destructive. With constructive feedback, you can fix problems and establish solutions to move forward and avoid repeating the same mistakes. If your feedback is too critical, however, all you're doing is telling people that they're doing something wrong without offering guidance on how they can rectify the problem.

If you think an employee is underperforming, then you should provide clear feedback on what they need to improve on and empower them to do better. A bad manager will make employees feel undervalued and unappreciated; a good manager will give them a sense of self-worth and confidence.

Reputational management

Another critical aspect of managing is how you build and maintain your franchise's reputation after opening a franchise. For example, the way you respond to negative customer feedback can have a significant impact on how your brand is perceived. Furthermore, part of building your base is getting your satisfied customers to recommend you to others (i.e. their family/friends), so you can get new referrals via word of mouth.

Negotiating your franchise fee

Its always a good idea to try and negotiate a reduction of your franchisee fee before the contract begins. Some franchisors may be willing to offer a discount if they believe a candidate has the potential to build a very successful business, as this will benefit the franchisor in the long run.

Negotiating salaries and working hours

As a franchisee, you may need to negotiate with prospective employees regarding salaries and working hours. To get the best people, good franchises need to be reasonably flexible and have the right negotiating skills to win over candidates who might be interviewing for other jobs in other franchise systems in the area. So, if a prospective employee ticks all the boxes but requests flexible working hours due to family or study commitments, then find an arrangement that can meet their needs without compromising your business.

Under UK employment legislation, your existing employees will also have the right to request flexible working hours. Even if youre unable to provide this, you still need to ensure youve dealt with the request reasonably by looking at the merits of the application, meeting with the employee to discuss the request, and offering an appeal process.

Communication skills

Training your staff to sell the business concept and carry the brand forward is crucial to your franchise success, and this is something all profitable franchises will be aware of. Good communication involves setting a goal, providing clear guidance on how to achieve that goal, and making sure everyone in your team understands their responsibilities and role within the business.

One of the key performance indicators of your communication is how you market your business. While franchisors will often have specific requirements for how you market the brand (i.e. tone of voice, logo), youll be responsible for getting your franchise established in your local area and online. The most profitable franchises, especially those in consumer-facing industries, will need to interact with local people in public and online so they can become a widely recognised brand in their area. They must explain the franchise concept clearly enough so that prospective customers understand what the business is about and how they can benefit from it.

Showing conditional optimism

Paul Romer, former Chief Economist at the World Bank, described conditional optimism as the belief that when people are busy and work to improve things, things will improve. This is the kind of mindset that you have to establish throughout your franchise, especially if your business encounters some challenges. Great leaders will always find a way to motivate their teams through hard times by making sure everyone understands what the goal is and how they can achieve it, provided a set of conditions are met.

The ability to conform

It's impossible to be a successful franchisee without conforming to the franchisor's business concept. This does require discipline and a willingness to work under strict conditions, which you'll need to familiarise yourself with quickly after opening a franchise. Therefore, youll need to be capable of running a business under a predetermined format, even if you might prefer to do things your own way from time to time.

However, unlike a start-up company with no brand exposure or proven business concept, you wont have to struggle to get exposure and develop your own brand identity. Unless youre joining a new franchise network, that hard work has already been done for you.

Accepting that you can always learn more

While this wouldnt necessarily be called a soft skill, one attribute of every successful entrepreneur and all good franchises is the desire to keep learning. Even if your business has already achieved significant success, there are always ways in which you can improve. So, never decline opportunities to attend seminars or workshops, particularly if your franchisor is providing them for free theres always space to learn something new.

Other recent articles


post a comment

Characters remaining: 250