Who are the 7 most important people to a franchisee (or small business owner)?
by Joanne Mansell

Who are the most important people to a franchisee?  If your first thought is “customers” “suppliers” or “staff” you need to read on…

 Yes, your customers do provide the income and your staff do help keep the business running and create income. BUT we know this already!  There’s a million courses and twice as many books telling us how to win and woo customers and keep our staff happy.  And of course without suppliers we’d ultimately have nothing to sell to the customers! 

 So moving past the obvious three (suppliers, staff and customers) this article is about the 7 most important people to a franchisee because we often forget they exist, or take them for granted, or don’t know where to find one, or don’t think they can help, or treat them as a “necessary evil” not the powerful ally they are! 

 I use the term franchise loosely - these ideas relate to traditional small business as well as other franchise-like arrangements including “under licence” agreements, and network or multi-level marketing.

 1.      FRANCHISE LIAISON (or business adviser)

 The franchise liaison is the person who answers your questions, will assist you with paperwork or marketing, and helps you keep things running day to day.  You often need immediate answers or assistance from them, so its important to keep “on side” with them.  This is a definite example of reaping what you sow – if you are less than helpful you will get it back! 

 If you aren’t part of a franchise you need to do the same business functions (such as marketing or advertising and product development/market research) but will need assistance perhaps from a business adviser.  Who helps you make decisions?

 2.      BANK MANAGER

 Your bank manager needs to understand your circumstances, objectives, and your business.  Money can provide you the means for expansion or taking up opportunities yet it can also get you out of trouble.  It is wise to have key person insurance, but if you had to rely on it would it be enough to keep the business running?  Particularly in small business extra cash can help smooth out fluctuations in cashflow or allow you to make capital purchases like a car, computer or new equipment.

 3.      ACCOUNTANT

 An accountant can save you a lot of time, money and frustration.  Set up a good relationship with your accountant – know how he or she wants your accounts and information for your BAS and tax return.  This is unlikely to be as a bunch of receipts on a shoebox, so you need to get organised!  Find an accountant who specialises in your structure whether you are a small business, a franchise, involved in multi-level marketing  or something else.  That way the accountant can best be up to date in changes in tax laws (and other laws such as privacy laws) and how they affect YOU.

 4.      FAMILY, FRIENDS and PEERS

 Your family and friends need to be involved in what the business is and what it involves.  That way they can support you and understand your commitment in terms of both the number of hours worked and when the hours are worked whether its weekends, days, nights, school holidays or certain weather conditions….

 Your peers can be a great help to you as well.  Some franchises lend themselves well for the franchisees to “network” – to swap notes about how best to implement policies and procedures and to lend moral support as well as share wins and ideas.  In some industries “competitors” can work together to promote a new development, process or product which benefits each business.  A parent franchise will advertise their brand, rather then each store going out on their own to win customers.  The franchises may be in neighbouring locations but by promoting the company brand everyone wins, instead of fighting over customers.

 5.      ASSISTANT

 In a small business the temptation is to do everything yourself.  In some franchises the roles are clearly defined, but in a smaller business one or two people answer the phones and mail, do the banking and organise quotations as well as the actual “work” that customers pay you for.  Consider hiring an assistant to run errands, do cleaning or banking, or answer the phone – often these tasks can be done at a lower per-hour rate than you can earn running the business.  Similarly this is the advantage to hiring an accountant – there can be savings in paying appropriately for the job and saving yourself the time to do what you do best.

 6.      LOCAL BUSINESSES (including a travel agent)

 Get a good relationships with a travel agent.  You need someone to remind you to take holidays sometime! A travel agent can save you money with the best deals for last minute arrangements for interstate meetings.

 There will be a few other local businesses you need a good relationships with:

 Ø      barber or hairdresser to keep you looking professional

Ø      dry cleaner to keep suits or uniforms in top condition

Ø      tailor or mending person to adjust clothes or do repairs, again to keep you looking good.

Ø      personal trainer, naturopath, chiropractor and other health professionals to keep you at your peak.

Ø      catering company so you can get good food set up for client lunch meetings, or to take care of your staff if they have to work late one evening.

Ø      managing agent/landlord so your premises are professional, well maintained and you will have plenty of notice if you are likely to need to relocate.

 7.      LIFE COACH


Why is the life coach listed last?  They are often the least known about or recognised person in your business or franchise, yet could be one of the most valuable.

 

In today’s business world having a Life Coach is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.  Along side customers and staff a life coach is one of the most important people to your business.

Read the article  “Why your business needs a life coach”   to find out why…

 For more information on these concepts, or to book a business or life coaching session with the author, Joanne Mansell please phone 0416 181 654.  The first half hour consultation is complimentary. 

Joanne is a co-author of a business and life coaching book due for release mid-2002 – see www.kaizencoaching.com.au for more information about the book, and for copies of her other small business articles.

Joanne Mansell, Kaizen Coaching – “Mind, Body, Life Fitness”

 

(c) Kaizen Coaching 2000-2014. Trademarks Kaizen Coaching, Building an Extraordinary Business and Sportsmind are used with permission of their respective owners.