Aiming high: Top performing franchisees – do you fit the bill?
The average turnover for a franchised business according to the latest bfa and NatWest survey is £378,400. In 2015/16 the average turnover for a Driver Hire franchise was £1,076,196 – that’s almost three times the franchise industry average!
Driver Hire has a large proportion of high performing franchisees and in March 2016 Graham Duckworth, Driver Hire’s Franchise Sales Director had a Q&A with Elite Franchise Magazine to talk in general about high performing franchisees and what they can expect with a Driver Hire franchise.
What kinds of qualities would you say the highest performing franchisees possess?
At Driver Hire, our top performing franchisees are all highly self-motivated, ambitious people with a very positive outlook and a ‘can do’ attitude. They are good team leaders, financially astute, IT-literate and well-organised. From a customer perspective they’re great at building business relationships and inspiring the confidence of customers.
Without exception they are all passionate about the business and have a ‘winning’ mentality.
What can a franchisor do to draw in the highest potential franchisees when selling new territories?
At Driver Hire we actively advertise our opportunities and make people aware of the great earnings potential they can achieve. Besides traditional marketing mediums, it’s important franchisors speak frankly and honestly to potential franchisees. If someone enquiring is business minded and understands the numbers they’ll see through any chinks in a franchisor’s sales patter.
Our sales process is a two-way dialogue to help the buyer understand our expectations and what the business entails so they can make an informed decision on whether Driver Hire is the right business opportunity for them. We also encourage them to speak to a range of franchisees, including our high-performers – those with a £2m+ turnover – to truly understand the potential from like minded business owners.
How you can help encourage franchisees to go from good to great?
Through regular contact with our franchisees we discuss and understand their plans and motivations so we can provide specific support tailored to them, their needs, and that of their staff.
Each franchisee is also allocated an Area Development Manager who regular contacts and visits them. It provides an opportunity to discuss new developments or marketing initiatives, ways to approach key prospective clients as well as share best practice adopted by other Driver Hire franchises. The 80+ Driver Hire head office staff are also all geared up to give support and training where required and provide them with new products and services to enable their business to grow.
Peer support and mentoring – especially from our top-performers is also a major benefit to being part of a franchised network.
We also work with the franchisee on their business plan and review this with them every five years so they can continue to maximise the opportunities within their territory.
What kinds of support would you say you need to provide the top performers in the network?
Quite often top performing franchisees are likely to flourish, whatever support is provided, as they usually already have a drive to succeed and winning mentality. However we support our top performing franchisees by listening to them.
By taking on board their experiences and ideas and discussing their needs we’re able to work together to develop new products and services that will help them to further grow their business. We also provide training for their new members of staff as their business grows and continually look at ways to improve our operations so they can operate more efficiently.
What kinds of incentives should a franchisor offer for its top performers? Is growing their business incentive enough or do you think things like internal awards and prizes are also important?
Of course, developing a successful business is usually the greatest incentive for a top performing franchisee; however, further incentives are important.
At Driver Hire we look at a variety of ways to help incentivise our franchisees as well as their employees to help them increase sales and take on board new initiatives.
Some of the methods we apply include office league tables, internal awards for turnover milestones and the recognition of certain business achievements, and national sales days where individual and team prizes can be won. We also put forward our top performers for external awards where appropriate.
Peer recognition is a greater motivator and we recognise franchisees’ performance with annual awards, announced and presented at our conference.
How can franchisors embrace the best practice of high-performing franchisees?
We regularly look to embrace and share best practice of all of our franchisees and enable them to do this through regular regional meetings, project steering committees and an annual full network conference. Our online Driver Hire forum is also a valuable tool for our franchisees to openly discuss their best ideas. As a franchisor it’s our responsibility to ensure that best practice is continually rolled out and training provided when appropriate.
How big an impact do you think networking and mentoring between high flyers and other members of the network can have on overall performance?
A major plus point about buying a franchised business is the opportunity to be part of a bigger network where you can exchange ideas and learn from fellow business owners who are in the same business as you but not in competition with you. This factor is certainly valued by our Driver Hire franchisees and our high flyers without doubt help to motivate and drive our new franchisees. Evidence of the success that can be achieved by following the Driver Hire business model.
How else can franchises use high flyers to inspire and encourage the rest of their network?
Quite often our franchisees who aspire to become one of our high flyers use our league tables to motivate their own staff by offering a bonus or rewards scheme. It provides them with a benchmark and a target to strive for. At Driver Hire, on a number of occasions, franchisee staff members have seen what can be achieved and when the opportunity has arisen have decided to buy their own Driver Hire franchise to become their own business owners and been very successful.
What risks do you think there might be if a franchisor over-focuses on its top performers?
At Driver Hire it’s great to focus on our top performers and emerging star players, especially when we’re able to put them forward for such awards as the British Franchise Association’s ‘Franchisee of the Year’ awards. Otherwise our key focus is always on helping those franchisees that for whatever reason, and no matter where they sit on our league tables, require our support the most.
Other franchisors that may over-focus on their top performers will risk stunting the growth of their network and missing out on new and fresh ideas that a fledgling franchisee can bring.
How do you prepare for the exit of a high-performing franchisee? Can it be hard to find someone who can deliver as consistent a performance as their predecessors?
Yes it can be hard to find the right calibre of franchisee in the right place at the right time, especially for a high performing business where the sale price is considerably higher than our start-up opportunities. We work closely with franchisees who want to exit the business to create a comprehensive sales summary which our franchise marketing team can use to market the business through a variety of offline and online mediums. On top of our advertising we find word of mouth and referrals work well for us both from existing franchisees and people working within the franchise industry. The fact that our average turnover in 2015/16 for our franchised business was £1,076,196 also helps.