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Franchisee Advice

Sidestepping Common Franchisee Mistakes

5 strategies for avoiding the most common franchisee mistakes.

Kyle Zagrodzky

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When people want to start their own business, franchising is an enticing option. It offers many of the perks of entrepreneurship, plus the safety net of operating a business based on proven concepts and systems. However, too many prospective franchisees start to think of buying into a franchise as a guarantee of success.

And, as many of us know, anything advertised as a ‘sure thing’ is always a myth in the business world.

Certainly, when franchising is operating the way it should, it will provide unit operators with a strong support network, great educational tools, sales templates, and initiatives and processes to guide every stage of the unit’s life. But no matter how fantastic a franchise concept seems, and no matter how many of its franchisees have made money, franchisees can’t forget that success ultimately depends on them.

Throughout my franchise development career, I’ve seen franchisees make the same handful of mistakes over and over again. Avoiding these errors seems simple enough in theory, yet they continue to hold back franchise entrepreneurs who otherwise have plenty of potential.

Related: Common Franchisor Mistakes… And How To Avoid Them

Here are five ways to avoid making these common mistakes.

1Develop a network with other unit owners

Part of the appeal of joining a franchise is the access it provides to a network of people who understand exactly what it’s like to run a business unit within that brand. Yet many franchisees still end up feeling disconnected and unsupported after their store opens.

That’s why franchisees should take advantage of the networking tools their franchise offers, because having a group of fellow franchisees to lean on can help everyone to grow and thrive.

A great franchise will give franchisees plenty of tools to keep in touch with one another, whether that means social media groups, weekly calls, regional directors who connect people and regular events where franchisees can meet in person.

2Accept total responsibility for your business unit

When things don’t go well in a franchise unit, often it’s because the franchisee isn’t prepared to take responsibility. It’s easy to play the blame game and make excuses, but that kind of attitude doesn’t go very far when it comes to actually fixing the problem.

Franchisees need to have realistic expectations and understand that not every unit will perform at its peak right away. But more than that, they need to accept that their business’s success or failure is ultimately on their own shoulders.

If things aren’t going as well as expected, franchisees should focus on the principles learned during their training and rely on the network of owners who may have been there, too.

The difference between a winning franchisee and one that needs improvement is the owner’s willingness to take responsibility for learning the systems and driving the numbers on the books.

Related: Avoid These 3 Simple Mistakes When Buying A Franchise

3Focus on daily goals and sales objectives first

daily-goals-and-sales-objectives

When a franchise isn’t performing, usually there is a root cause, and most of the time it traces back to the unit owner’s lack of focus on what really matters. So many franchisees get caught up in the day-to-day details of running a business and forget that their ultimate goal is simple: Prospect and sell.

If a franchisee suffers from tunnel vision and is too focused on unimportant tasks, we coaches help them zoom in on specifics that can help them grow.

Every day, the franchise owner’s main objective is to drive sales, and that’s where the bulk of his or her time should go. It’s the first goal that must be achieved.

4Stick to the marketing plan

Becoming part of a franchise doesn’t guarantee success; it means you have access to tools, templates and support that can lead to success — but only when you use those tools.

A franchise is designed to duplicate a single successful business model again and again, and the system works, but only when the franchisee follows that business model.

If he or she goes rogue and doesn’t use the concepts, sales tactics and branding the franchise is built on, things probably won’t work well.

Franchisees can’t believe that people will show up and buy their product or service just because the doors are open. You have to work to drive sales, and the system is there to streamline that process.

Related: Franchising Mistakes You Need To Avoid

5If a unit under-performs, be open to fixing the underlying cause of the problem

Franchises are made for franchisees to succeed based on an established system. So, if a unit isn’t making its weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals, there is generally a reason behind the slump. A lot of research, planning and investigation goes into choosing franchise locations, so the street address may not be the issue.

Similarly, the systems and processes have been vetted in other locations before, so those shouldn’t be the cause of sales distress, either. Instead, when a franchise unit isn’t going all the way, a smart franchisee will turn to the company’s leaders and guides — assuming they’re reliable — to step in and help figure out exactly what the solution is.

When outside resources see the reason for the dip in sales, that same smart franchisee will then listen to the advice offered and implement the changes suggested. Franchisees not open to outside perspectives on how to improve can’t expect anything to get better.

Kyle Zagrodzky is president of OsteoStrong, the health and wellness system that boosts bone and muscle strength in less than 10 minutes a week using scientifically proven osteogenic loading concepts. OsteoStrong introduced a new era in modern fitness and aging prevention two years ago and has since helped thousands of clients between ages 8 and 92 improve strength, balance, endurance and bone density. In 2014, the brand signed commitments with nine regional developers to launch 500 new locations across America.

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Franchisee Advice

5 Tips For Franchise Agreements

Below are 5 tips to ensure that your franchise agreement complies with the CPA.

Justine Krige

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South Africa has some great homegrown franchises – Mugg and Bean, Steers, Debonairs and Nandos, to name a few.  South Africa is also no stranger to international franchise groups, such as McDonalds, KFC, Wimpy and SPAR, although there has been an increase in the number of international franchises investing in South Africa in recent years.

The Consumer Protection Act, No 68 of 2008 (“CPA“) is the first piece of legislation in South Africa that specifically regulates franchise agreements. The CPA prescribes certain minimum requirements for franchise agreements, as well as certain information that must be disclosed prior to a franchise agreement being signed.  It is important that all franchise agreements comply with the CPA as provisions in franchise agreements may be declared to be void for non-compliance.

Below are 5 tips to ensure that your franchise agreement complies with the CPA:

1. Make sure you meet the minimum requirements

The CPA prescribes “minimum requirements” for franchise agreements.  These requirements, which are set out in the Regulations to the CPA, set out mandatory terms (i.e. terms which must be included) and prohibited terms (i.e. terms which must not be included).  They also prescribe that franchise agreements must be drafted in simple and plain language so as to be easily understood.  Legal jargon must be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Related: The Perils Of The Franchise Agreement

2. Include prescribed minimum information

The CPA prescribes minimum information that must be included in a franchise agreement.  Most of this minimum prescribed information is fairly general in nature and would be contained in the franchise agreement in the ordinary course (for example, name and description of the types of goods or services that the franchise relates to, the obligations of the franchisor and franchisee, and any territorial rights).

There are, however, certain more unusual requirements in relation to prescribed information, which information would not necessarily be contained in a franchise agreement in the ordinary course (for example, the qualifications of the franchisor’s directors, and details of the members/shareholders of the franchisor).  These more unusual requirements must be kept in mind when preparing a franchise agreement.

3. Prepare a disclosure document

The CPA requires the franchisor to provide certain minimum prescribed information to the franchisee in a disclosure document delivered to the franchisee prior to the signature of the franchise agreement (including a list of current franchisees, if any, and of outlets owned by the franchisor; the direct contact details of the existing franchisees; an organogram depicting the support system in place for franchisees; and an auditors certificate confirming that that the franchisor’s audited annual financial statements are in order).

This information is intended to provide the franchisee with enough information about the franchise, its financial viability and potential business success so as to enable the franchisee to make an informed decision as to whether or not he/she wishes to “acquire” the particular franchise.

4. Prepare a non-disclosure agreement

It is important to ensure the protection of confidential information which may be disclosed to the prospective franchisee during the preliminary stages of negotiating and concluding a franchise agreement.

This may include, for example, the growth of the franchisor’s turnover, and written projections in respect of levels of potential sales, income and profit. Although not a requirement under the CPA, it is advisable for a franchisor to ensure that a prospective franchisee executes an appropriate confidentiality agreement prior to being sent the disclosure document.

Related: What Constitutes a Fair and Balanced Franchise Agreement?

5. Beware the “cooling-off” period

It is important to bear in mind that a franchisee has an entitlement under the CPA to cancel a franchise agreement without cost or penalty within 10 business days after signing such agreement, by giving written notice to the franchisor.

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Franchisee Advice

6 Top Tips For Reading Management Accounts

There is a golden key that reveals the secret of whether your business will survive and thrive. It is keeping tabs on the figures that summarise the strength of your business – your monthly management accounts.

Richard Mukheibir

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There is a golden key that reveals the secret of whether your business will survive and thrive. It is not the brilliance of your business concept. It is not your talent for talking clients to sign on the dotted line. It is keeping tabs on the figures that summarise the strength of your business – your monthly management accounts.

Related: 6 Things You Need To Know About Profit And Cashflow

Many entrepreneurs are usually more interested in operations and find product development or sales much more enjoyable than catching up on accounts. I sympathise – I’m one of them! So if you feel the same way, my top tip is always to make sure that you partner with or employ someone who can oversee the finances for you.

But that does not mean you can let the figure boffins and the finances take care of themselves. To function properly in your business, you need to know the outcome of your sales and development strategies – and the story of that is told in your management accounts.

 If you never look at your management accounts, it is like blinding yourself in one eye. It means you risk being literally blindsided by a big surprise, whether it is heading for a significant loss or being confronted by an unexpected provisional tax payment.

Here is how Engela van Loggerenberg, our Group Financial Manager, puts management accounts in perspective for our new franchisees. She urges them to focus on six key areas:

  1. Priorities: Management accounts can help you pinpoint areas that you need to prioritise, whether to capitalise on growth or because they are not performing as well as you hoped.
  2. Strength: All businesses aim to grow their assets over time and the balance sheet in your management accounts will reflect whether and how you are achieving that.
  3. Control: A strong balance sheet is one that shows you have your business liabilities well controlled. The key marker here is your current liquidity ratio, which results from dividing your current assets by your current liabilities. To keep your business healthy, always aim to keep this ratio at least 2:1.
  4. Revenue: Ideally, you want to see your revenue grow month by month. Check your income statement both for the trend in actual revenue and also for actual against budgeted revenue to check how well your strategies are delivering results.
  5. Profitability: Of course, revenue is not the same as profitability. You need to know your gross profit – the basic figure of your sales less the cost of those goods – and net profit, which also deducts a range of other expenses including taxes. Track the percentage of these two profit figures as well as the actual cash amount they represent to keep a check on whether your costs are creeping up too high.
  6. Finance: Most businesses at some point want to finance their growth by borrowing from a bank. A set of well-regulated management accounts is a prerequisite to obtaining finance.

Your management accounts do not have to be particularly complicated to give you these vital pointers – and if you are figure-shy, the more straightforward the better.

The important thing, though, is that you do not allow yourself to be too scared to ask if there is something which is not clear to you. That is the way to keep control of this key to your business fortunes and to keep building your business from strength to strength.

Related: 7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Managing Cash In The Business

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Company Posts

A Three-Pronged Approach To Franchise Success

Danie Nel, head of business development for Cash Crusaders franchising, says the brand’s success over the past 22 years 
is attributed to the sentiment that “a profitable franchisee 
is a happy franchisee.”

Nedbank Franchising

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What is your current footprint?

220 Stores. We’re looking to increase that number by another 20 stores for the 2018 financial year, which will then bring us to a total of 240 stores. Depending on the economy, we’re looking to grow our footprint even more to around 300 to 350 stores nationwide in the near future.

What are some of your brand’s biggest achievements that other franchises can learn from?

Our ability to read the retail market and innovate to stay ahead of times. We have recently launched an online platform where customers can sell their goods or borrow money — all online. This was a first for online retailing. One other achievement that I would wish to highlight is the launch of our mobile phone range, Doogee, exclusive to Cash Crusaders. Personally, having the honour of opening our 200th store was a tremendous achievement.

Franchisor involvement has also played a big role in the success of the organisation. Our CEO Sean Stegmann and other senior managers are as much involved in the business as any other operations manager or operator.

There is simply no ‘ivory tower’ management in our business and it makes a huge difference.

Related: How Sorbet Franchisee Kate Holahan Is Nailing Success By Following Her Dream

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered and how have you overcome these?

Some of our daily challenges include securing a premises at a favourable rental and securing a franchisee with sufficient unencumbered capital, who is credit- worthy. Once the store is open, cash flow management and stock procurement is key.

In addition to this, it’s a challenge to achieve profitability immediately and to meet franchisee expectations. It’s also vital to ensure superb customer service and to retain those customers in the current retail and economic climate. I would say that our single biggest challenge is to retain and to build our customer base.

What attracts franchisees to Cash Crusaders?

Our unique retail model that allows for multiple streams of income through one business. These three profit centres include: New goods (variety of imported quality goods), second-hand goods (which we buy directly from the public, either through customers coming directly to our stores, or via our house-buy system offered by some of our stores) and secured lending (a financial service where customers can borrow money against valuables, determined at store level, and the loan is repaid within 30 days — or the contract is renewed for another 30 days with interest and service fees charged).

Why is it important for successful franchises such as yours to have a strong banking partner and how does it benefit both the franchisor and the franchisee?

Gone are the days where you just got a deposit book or cheque book and a little business loan from your bank. Banking has become more sophisticated and the technology that the bank offers is as important as its service, making life for both the franchisee and the franchisor easier on a day-to-day basis.

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