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Franchisee Advice

You’re The Boss, So Be The Boss

Do you sit in the back office, hoping your staff will do right by the business, or do you lead by example?

Basil O’Hagan

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The best way to run a successful franchise is to lead by example. Don’t sit in the back office, hoping staff will remember their training and see to the customers.

Get out there onto the floor and manage staff, help customers, oversee some deliveries. Or just have a regular wander around the office having a friendly check of what your team is up to. And then make sure your managers approach their leadership roles in the same way.

Keep this in mind when you manage your managers. When we first get into a management position we often suffer from what psychologists call the ‘imposter syndrome’.

We feel like we don’t deserve to be there. Remind your managers that they’re in that position for a reason. You have chosen them from a dozen or so possible candidates to lead your team.

Maybe you’re suffering from imposter syndrome. Then you need to remind yourself that you’ve raised funds to finance your own business, mapped out a vision and taken the plunge in launching it into the market. Of course you deserve to be there! So don’t be embarrassed about it. Lead the team. Live the values of your business.

At the Brazen Head, we always said we can either be spectators or players.

Related: Sizing Up Your Franchisor

Spectators sit in the stands and watch the game. Players are down on the field, taking the knocks and making it happen. The team captain should still play the game.

Empower Your Team

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In the current South African business environment, there’s a lot of talk about empowerment. The type of empowerment I’m talking about here has nothing do with multi-million rand BEE deals, but rather is about giving staff the confidence, and the authority to serve customers.

This means giving them some real power, beyond asking, “How can I help you?” and processing transactions.

If you’re the owner or manager of a Harvey World Travel franchise and you’ve got some leave owing over the Easter break, you should actually take your leave. Place your assistant manager in charge of the store for a week. Go to Southbroom.

Sure, it’ll be a little nerve-wracking for you and for her. And rest assured, she will make a few small mistakes. But the boost in confidence that she will gain by being empowered will be invaluable. The confidence you have shown in her will grow her own self-confidence. And next time, you’ll know you can trust her to manage your business.

Spread the Love

Management can be a lonely experience if you end up chained to your desk, locked in your corner office, occasionally asking your PA to “Bring me the figures from last year.” It’s easy for this to happen, because you’re under a lot of stress and you have to deliver results.

But the best way to deliver results is through the people in your organisation. Try not to get trapped in your office. Get out into your business. Interact with your colleagues. I’ve heard this called MBWA — Managing By Walking Around!

Related: What the Franchisor Can Do

Many of the people working for you are specialists, highly skilled in their fields. So don’t think you need to go around telling them how to do their job. Rather, ask them for advice on how things could be better.

Ask your team questions like the following:

  • Can you explain to me what you’re doing here?
  • Have you ever thought there’s a better way for us to do it?
  • Do the customers like our methods?
  • How could we make things more customer friendly?
  • What is our customers’ main complaint?
  • What do our customers love?
  • How do you think we could do more business?
  • How do you think you could be more productive?

‘We Don’t Need An Office’

A former colleague and business partner of mine is Sean O’Connor. With him on my team we built much of O’Hagan’s and the Brazen Head pub and restaurant chain.

He has always been a massive believer in managers not being cloistered in the office. Whenever we were building a new store, he would be adamant that we didn’t need an office.

“The manager should be out on the floor until the customers leave,” was his philosophy. I would eventually convince him that we did need some kind of office. But even today, if you visit a Brazen Head or an O’Hagan’s you’ll see that the offices of our store managers are tiny!

Positive Roles For Your Colleagues

We speak elsewhere about positive names for your customers. But it’s equally important to have positive, motivational terms for the people you work with.

I remember once working with a keen, ambitious and highly talented young woman. She was new in the industry and thus a little inexperienced, but management chose to saddle her with a job title that was something like ‘Junior Sales Executive’.

After a few months of good service, she begged us, “Please can you just change my job title? Being called junior is undermining clients’ confidence in me.” We dropped the junior and her performance went from good to exceptional.

Related: Be On Good Terms with Your Franchisor

It made me realise the importance of names, and language in general. Why give someone a job title that undermines their own confidence and that of their clients. Likewise, I don’t see any need for hierarchy thinking in management. Don’t refer to the store manager as ‘my manager’. He’s the store manager. And the company staff are your colleagues, team members. No need to call them your subordinates, especially to their faces. This isn’t the French army and we’re not in a court martial.

A famous story from the Rolling Stones rock ‘n’ roll band concerns the time singer Mick Jagger phoned up to drummer Charlie Watts’s hotel room and asked, “Where’s my drummer?”

Charlie promptly walked down to the lobby and punched Mick in the mouth. “I’m not your anything,” was the implication. “I’m the drummer for the Rolling Stones.”

Basil O’Hagan is the founder of both O’Hagan’s and The Brazen Head. Today, he runs Basil O’Hagan Marketing, which serves chains, independent operations and small family businesses, pinpointing and overcoming problems through proven neighbourhood marketing solutions.

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Franchisee Advice

3 Ways To Ensure Your Loyalty Programme is Working Hard For You

Plastic cards are making way for app-based loyalty programmes. Is your franchise keeping up with the digitally savvy consumer?

Diana Albertyn

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The average consumer today is a member of at least five of the 100-plus loyalty programmes in South Africa, according to a 2017 study by Nielsen. As the loyalty playing field becomes more cluttered and competitive, what are you doing to ensure each one of your franchisees are catering to customer needs when it comes to loyalty?

Mobility. It’s not the newest buzzword, but it is useful for attracting customers who don’t want to lose loyalty points because their card is lost or not with them. Ailsa Wingfield, Nielsen’s Head of Emerging Markets: Thought Leadership, says that as adoption of non-traditional payment methods increases, loyalty programmes also need to introduce payment type flexibility.

“Mobile payment platforms will increasingly deliver an opportunity for loyalty-programme engagement with consumers, providing a convenient and personalised way for programme members and retailers to engage with one another all along the path to purchase.” – Ailsa Wingfield Nielsen Head of Emerging Markets Thought Leadership.

Related: 11 Ways To Double Your Customers In 4 Weeks

Have you considered what role tech could play in your current loyalty programme? Here are three ways to apply digital enhancements that appeal to present and potential customers: 

1. Offer differentiation through more options

Research has concluded that the loyalty programmes devised by retailers and franchises are not innovative enough to capture the attention of the youth – Millennials and Gen Z. it’s time to diversify your rewards offering. But how?

If your customer base is predominantly younger, being omni-present is key, according to the Truth Loyalty Whitepaper: “An omni-channel approach will not only meet the demands of the younger customer, it will also allow your business to combine intelligence on shopping, search and web behaviour history to assist you in identifying when to offer an in-store promotion, extend a seasonal offer or make a product recommendation through the appropriate channels.”

Implementing a digital loyalty campaign is also a smart way to reduce costs. Coffee shop franchise Mugg & Bean’s Generous Rewards App and partnership with Vitality Active Rewards, means members can earn cash-back rewards to spend on their favourites. Just downloading the app earns you a R25 voucher.

2. Use your tools to engage more

A crucial mistake most franchisors make is not communicating consistently with their loyalty programme members once they’ve signed up and increased numbers. They spend a lot of time recruiting customers to join, but expect them to prompt cashiers for points’ balances and produce their cards independently in their various locations.

“You have gained permission to talk to your customers and created the opportunity to collect enormous amounts of valuable data. Use this to your advantage by creating meaningful and relevant engagement initiatives and communications across your customers’ lifecycle,” advises Truth, a boutique consultancy business specialising in customer centricity and loyalty programme strategy and design.

When enhancing your engagement strategy, Accenture advises that you keep the following in mind:

  • 54% of South African consumers are loyal to brands that actively engage them to help design or co-create products or services.
  • 57% are loyal to organisations that present them with new experiences, products or services.
  • 47% are loyal to brands that engage them in ‘multi-sensory’ experiences, using new technologies such as virtual reality or augmented reality.

Related: 3 Ways To Stop Taking Your Most Loyal Customers For Granted

3. Keep the experience simple

Review your loyalty programme. Honestly. Then ask yourself if you’ve made your programme too complicated for the layman. If your answer is ‘no’ or even ‘maybe’, how can your target consumer ever reap the full rewards of this programme if they don’t understand the rewards on offer and how to redeem them?

Changing rules too often is the first complication to go. No matter which one of your stores they choose to shop at, the redemption and earning process should be simple enough to keep members interested and engaged in the programme. Make sure you keep your programme simple and transparent.

“Clicks made a simple but fundamental change to its redemption process – paper-vouchers were replaced with virtual points that can be redeemed as cash-back when you swipe your card at the till. While Clicks and Dis-Chem are among only a handful of brands that do this, it’s a sure-fire mechanism for increasing redemption,” said Amanda Cromhout, founder and CEO of Truth.

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Franchisee Advice

3 Crucial Considerations For New Multi-unit Franchisees

Your marked success as a single-unit franchisee has led to the choice to multiply your achievement. But do you know what it really takes to move from owner-operator, to multi-outlet operator?

Diana Albertyn

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Multi-unit franchise ownership is a brilliant way to grow your business portfolio, once you’re successfully running your single location. Once you get the hang of being franchise business owner, adding one or a few more units could be the next logical step.

“The risk with having one store is higher than if you have more than one store, as the stores support one another. When the one is down the other one is up,” says multi-unit Montagu franchise owner Pierre Lombard.

You’ve probably already realised this lucrative option and are getting acquainted with multi-unit franchising. As this is new territory, you may want to consider these methods to multiply your success.

1. Make more discerning recruitment choices

When you opened shop at your first location, you were probably warned against hiring a manager, because they may not be as invested in the success of your business as you are. Now that you growing, you have no choice, so you need to be selective in your decision of who’s going to run the show when you’re not around.

Related: 3 Employment Best Practices To Apply In Your Franchise

The best way to ensure consistency in service and quality in each location is to always put culture fit over ability. While a certain level of skill is required to carry out the tasks required of a manager, attitude trumps aptitude when selecting capability running your locations.

“Place one of your outstanding managers or staff from your current store in the new one and have them train up any new staff,” suggests Francesca Nicasio, Retail Expert at Vend.

“That way the practices and attitude that you’ve cultivated in your business will continue into your new store.”

2. You need tech to help you be everywhere

Not only are Cloud technologies enabling franchise owners to scale quickly, easily and more affordably compared to on-site solutions, but these advancements mean you can remotely optimise inventory across all your locations, get a more accurate assessment each store’s performance and better understand your business – all you need is an Internet connection.

With the variety of Cloud-based solutions available today, you’re also able to connect your sales, staff, and customer information to give customers a seamless experience at all locations. You’re also able to receive alerts on low stock levels and automatically have it.

3. Set and stick to a specific standard

As a franchisee, consistency is standard practice. But that’s easy done as a single-unit owner than when running multiple locations. To make your mini network more manageable, ensure all your store understand brand standards beyond the operation manual.

Related: Multi-Unit Franchising Growing In South Africa

“Naturally, you have your franchise systems’ operations manual and procedures but the way you personally want to stamp your mark on customer experience, for instance, needs to be documented too,” experts at Inside Franchise Business advise.

Doing this reduces the stress of continually keeping tabs on staff, and frees you up to collect and collate the data you need to make smarter decisions faster.

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Franchisee Advice

Effective Ways To Bring Customers To Your Door

Here are a few tips from Local Area Marketing Manager of Cash Converters, Juan Botha, to assist you in bringing customers to knock on your door.

Richard Mukheibir

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Retail, craft, artisan and service businesses can’t rely on only carrying on trade online – you also need people coming through the door and engaging with your product. But how do they find you? Are you the neighbourhood’s “best-kept secret” – and not in a good way?

Your premises, the surrounding area and the audience for your brand are a unique combination. Get to know both inside out so that you can hone your products and your marketing to appeal to potential local customers. With all the pressure to run a website, Facebook page or maintain other online presence, it’s easy to forget the basics and fail to reach your closest customers – those on your doorstep.

Our Local Area Marketing Manager, Juan Botha, previously worked in advertising with local and multinational brands and he taught us how each store needs to make sure its marketing lives up to the pointer, “Act global, think local”.

Related: How Your Fast Food Franchise Can Attract Quality-Conscious Consumers

Here are a few of his tips:

Position yourself

If customers know about you but can’t find you, they’re likely to get frustrated looking for you and give up. If they don’t even know you’re there to find, your chances of using your sales skills with them or getting them to fall in love with your product are zero.

Remember the times you’ve spent searching for a bar or a restaurant hidden in a maze of city streets or a B&B somewhere along a never-ending country road? Those businesses have forgotten that first-time customers can’t be sure where they are. Draw up directions to include on your website or online page. Make sure a friend who doesn’t know the area well test drives them.

Brand yourself

People won’t notice you until they need or want what you are offering so keep reminding them of your existence. Being visible is key. Your fascia signage is part of your marketing mission to attract and influence potential customers.

Nobody walking to work or taking their dog out should think, “I wonder what that new place is about?”

As well as giving your business’s name and contact details, your signage must succinctly indicate what your business offers. If you have a display window, use this second important opportunity to sum up your offering – keep it interesting and updated.

Be a customer magnet

If you wait to build a business on passing trade, you could wait forever. Get on the radar with potential customers in the neighbourhood so they all know you exist and where to find you. Each time they’re reminded that you exist and how to find you, they will be prompted to come and seek you out.

You can achieve this – and help new customers trying to find you – by making a modest investment in lamp-post signage. Check local regulations with your municipality and ensure this signage reflects your brand visually. This is a win-win, reinforcing your brand in a potential customer’s mind and helping them recognise your premises as they approach.

Related: Why Your Franchise Brand Should Be Culturally Relevant

Connect locally

Part of marketing is making people interested in and attracted to your business long before their first direct contact with you. Embed yourself in the community by forming alliances.

If security is an issue, bond with the local SAPS, Community Policing Forum and security companies by offering them free coffee. If you have a huge bargain order of toys to shift, offer a few prizes to the local Moms ‘n Tots group. Plug into local business networks and offer to host a speaker or sponsor the audio equipment for a forthcoming meeting.

You’ll be harnessing the incomparable power of word-of-mouth and setting your business growing in a great direction.

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