Running a franchise is a great way to find success in the retail or restaurant industries, but it requires a different approach than operating an independent business. Here are four tips for optimizing your strategy as a franchise operator that can lead to increased revenues and customer loyalty:
Use tools and materials provided by your franchisor
The ability to leverage a proven business model is one of the major advantages of running a franchise — so don’t try to go it alone. Take advantage of all of the resources available from your franchisor, including financing, training, sales, marketing, technology, and web support. Attend pre-opening training sessions, annual franchisee events, and any other in-person informative and networking opportunities. Say yes when the franchisor offers help, and participate in any mentoring programs on the franchisor’s agenda. Additionally, study online training videos, DVDs, and manuals distributed by the franchisor and share relevant information with your employees. Your franchisor is investing in your success by developing tools and programs to assist you. Don’t let these resources go to waste.
Follow the rules
Your franchisee agreement will include rules, standards, and specific instructions. For example, it will likely contain requirements for laying out your store or restaurant, along with specs about fixtures and equipment. There will almost certainly be rules that cover décor, exterior and interior signage, and much more. Keep in mind that these rules weren’t established to limit you. They are based on a proven business model that has resulted in other operators’ success. Following them to the letter will help spark yours.
Focus on customer service and satisfaction
Your brand may be known nationally, but running a franchise with maximum success means making a positive impression on local customers. Putting major emphasis on customer service and satisfaction goes a long way toward meeting this goal. Train employees to ensure exceptional customer experiences in every interaction with your brand. You are probably participating in your franchisor’s loyalty rewards program and offering special promotions to give back to your VIP customers, but it’s often a good strategy to go a step further. Giving back to the community is also a great way to build strong ties. Participate in community events through sponsorships or volunteering. You may also want to look into supporting local events with special promotions. If you aren’t sure you are hitting the mark with customers, ask for feedback and make changes to optimize service.
Investigate technology options you have under the terms of your franchising agreement and choose the solutions that will make your operation run most efficiently and profitably. For example, you may have the option of choosing a Point of Sale (POS) system with a tablet for mobile POS capabilities to facilitate line-busting, suggestive selling, and more. Another example is choosing cloud-based POS software that enables access to sales and other critical business data from anywhere there is an Internet connection — which is a great option when you are managing multiple locations. Also explore options that help automate processes, like barcode scanning for faster checkout or an inventory management module that automatically generates purchase orders when stock levels drop below a minimum.
Stay in close contact with your franchisor to learn the business model inside and out and to keep abreast of changes and new developments. Also be willing to provide feedback when requested to help your brand — and your location — better respond to customer demands and expectations. Fully embracing your franchise model, being a committed member of the brand’s team, and helping to optimize processes will help to ensure your success running a franchise.
Contact Bematech to learn how our POS systems are a part of many successful franchise operations.