What skills does a new franchisee need?Depending on the network, there will be varying levels of skill required to join a franchise. Some brands that I know of will only recruit franchisees that have experience within the sector. This is particularly prevalent in the children’s tuition industry; and for example, a performing arts school might only take on a franchisee who has both experience and an interest in the arts. Some other networks actively discourage those who have experience in doing the work of the franchise from joining, simply because they do not want to inherit skills which might be deemed as ‘bad habits’ when compared to the way that things should be done according to the operations manual.
Regardless of whether industry experience is desired, there are a number of transferrable skills which would be desirable in any franchise network, which can be broadly divided between sales skills and management skills:
Sales skills: Whatever the type of network, every successful franchisee is a successful sales person in some shape of form. As alluded to above, some franchisees believe that upon signing the franchise agreement, the phone will magically start ringing and customers will be willingly signing cheques payable to them! The reality is that this isn’t the case, and there is a lot of input and effort required to build a franchise, in the same way that an independent business needs a level of ‘sweat equity’ put into it.
A typical franchise will have a good proportion of the operations of the business systemised, but there is always an element which requires sales skills – whether that be direct selling to customers, or simply selling the concept and vision of what you are doing to your staff.
Management skills: Any franchise will require a level of management skill, whether the franchise is a single operator ‘man in a van’, or a multi-unit retail franchise. A franchisee will be expected to manage their business affairs, use a CRM (customer relationship management) tool, deal with staff and customers appropriately, and ultimately make good use of their time and money. Fortunately, many potential franchisees will have been exposed to some of these areas during their previous employment (bearing in mind that according to the BFA / Natwest Survey, 74% of franchisees come directly from employment).
Having said that, it is very rare that a previously employed franchisee has had complete exposure and responsibility for all of these areas, and it would be a wise move for any prospective franchisee to perform a self appraisal on these skills to ensure that they are choosing the right franchisor who can support them through the areas in which they might not have had as much experience.
The above is an extract from The Franchising Handbook, which is due for release later this year. Follow this link to pre-order and be one of the first to read it!