Free-rides in business don’t secure success

While many believe that franchising is the golden ticket to success, it is important to always bear in mind that everything comes at a price. Even in the case of Scott Mitchley, who won a Sandwich Baron franchise in March 2014, success never came for free. He shares more below on how hands-on management and constant involvement has attributed to the establishment of a successful business.

Believing that a franchised business will guarantee you instant victory is a serious misconception. While a great deal of support is given in exchange for an investment, with the credibility of an established brand being the most beneficial, it is by no means a free ride.

After winning Sandwich Baron’s ‘Win a Franchise’ competition and opening the doors to our new store in Beyerspark in Boksburg, the hard work commenced immediately. With great support from the franchisor, Sally J’Arlette-Joy and the rest of the head office team, training and preparations were soon finalised and business started happening. To think that winning something does not require investment is completely misguided.

Being a new service provider in a community who you are unfamiliar to is the first challenge, yet gaining trust is a constant process that cannot be neglected at any stage of business growth. Starting out we had zero customers on our database. We since have steadily grown this number to around 750 customers who use us daily or weekly. While it started with getting menus in people’s hands, the most important task was to keep impressing them with customer service.

Of course to ensure outstanding customer service you need to have exceptional staff. If not managed correctly, the people in your business could be the biggest challenge. If they are not supportive of the ‘game plan’ of the business, getting them to think, act and put customers first could prove difficult. It is only through involvement at the store, where you are leading by example, that staff will be custodians of your brand.

Being a franchise owner should mean that you are constantly working in and on your store. Many people open a restaurant thinking they will pay a manager to run the shop, while they go off and play golf and then collect a pay cheque at the end of the month. This is one of many franchise myths that are contributing to the failure of many businesses. Research on this industry has proven time and again that the franchises with higher owner involvement are more successful than those that are manager run.

An owner should be the focal point of the business. Customers should get to know you and support you irrespective of the brand you represent. They should not only be coming to your store because you are a famous fast food chain but also because they know you and trust you. Many owners believe that when you hire a manager he/she needs to become you when dealing with the customers. But, as is often the case, managers come and go or are just not as passionate about the business as you are. The customer will then lose that contact and the relationship has to start all over again.

The moral of any success story? There is no such thing as a free ride. Whether you buy a franchise, or are fortunate enough to win one, investments still needs to be made. Invest in your staff, your customers and the future of your business by giving your time, attention and commitment.

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