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Kochie’s Business Builders spoke to the top three winners of the 2016 Top Franchise Awards and asked for their opinions and advice on running a franchise.
Chris Acret is the Managing Director of Smartline, Australia’s best Mortgage Broker business, and says he’s proud that Smartline franchisees are amongst the most successful small businesses in the country.
“This is the most important award as it is voted on by our franchisees and is a real reflection on how our key stakeholders view their business. We are as excited about winning this award for the 8th time as we did on the first occasion as we really do aspire to provide the best possible environment for our franchisees to be as successful as possible, whilst having a good work life balance,” he said.
For others looking to franchise he is very supportive saying, “Franchising is a wonderful structure to grow a business and involve like minded people with a commitment to success. The key though is to always keep in mind that your franchisees must be successful for the franchise to succeed.”
At the core of business he says it comes back to making sure that franchisees have good work-life balance.
“To achieve long term success in any business it is vital that the structure of the business is suitable to meet a franchisee’s lifestyle. When people go into business for themselves they are always thinking they will make more money that working for someone else and achieve freedoms that give them the elusive ‘work/life balance’.”
“With this in mind we are very flexible in allowing franchisees structure their business in a way which suits them. We have sole operators working out of home offices up to franchises with 10 staff working in their own office.”
“It is vital our franchisees are passionate about providing a really high standard of client service as strong client relationships is the key to long term success in our business.”
Over the next 12 months, Smartline is looking to continue their strong growth and ensure that their franchisees are successful both in the personal and professional aspirations.
Warren Ballantyne is the Managing Director of Gutter-Vac, the gutter cleaning experts. With 71 franchise territories already across Australia, they are looking to surpass 80 by the end of the year.
Ballantyne is excited for Gutter-Vac to have been named as a top franchise saying, “When we first entered, we saw this as a great way to get honest feedback from our franchisees so that we can use the information and improve our system. It is very rewarding that the system we started 20 years ago in Bundaberg has become a national brand and that our franchisees see that what we do is great. I have to say I’m really proud of being named a top franchisor because it hasn’t just been me creating the business, it is a team effort and without outstanding franchisees, then I’d not be a top franchisor.”
When looking at getting into franchising, Ballantyne stresses the importance of doing some research.
“I strongly recommend businesses look at the franchise model, but it is extremely important that they talk to as many people as they can, especially successful franchisors. They should of course always put themselves into the shoes of the franchisee to make sure that what they are building will be successful for others. I believe nothing is truer,” he said.
“In the end, our business – as the franchisor – is actually about our franchisees and them having successful businesses. Gutter cleaning is the business of our franchisees, our business is our franchisees and their success in business. Without helping our franchisees reach their lifestyle goals and if the franchisees don’t have a passion for the business, then the brand is never created. It starts with me and I am passionate about the business and even more so today than I was 20 years ago because look where we have come from and where we are now! I can’t help but be passionate about it. When I see that same passion in the franchisees, it creates even more passion for me.”
#3. Mister Minit
Mark Rusbatch is the CEO for Mister Minit in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.
Commenting on the Awards he said, “Whilst the rating does recognise the total franchise package it even more recognises the quality, enthusiasm and skills of our people. It is only through having great people can we really meet the needs of our customers and build reputation and trust over many decades.
Next year Mister Minit will celebrate the 60 Year Anniversary of its brand. “We will reflect and enjoy the heritage and achievements over the last 6 decades. However, our aspirations and celebration of these will be in our objective to ‘fix more problems for more people’ than ever before.”
The longevity of the company comes down to passion and lifestyle. ”
“Most of our franchisees have been with us for many years and a significant number spanning decades. Turning up and giving ones best every single day can only be sustained if we are passionate about what we are doing and committed to ongoing professional and personal growth. Our high franchisee retention rates are correlated to the linking of our brand values with those of our franchisees and their families. It is great that our franchisees are increasingly joined by their partners, siblings and children in building their businesses and also recognition that our work, lifestyle and opportunities are all interrelated.
Offering his views on getting into franchising he says that it boils down to one essential thing.
“The single most important thing is that the business must be meeting a clearly identifiable need in the market (be a real business not a fad) and the quantum of this need must be sufficiently large and sustainable to develop a successful franchise model. The business must prove this over a number of years before even considering franchising.”
The TopFranchise Awards is a comprehensive survey conducted by specialist researchers 10 Thousand Feet and Seek Business, partner for the second year this year. Visit www.topfranchise.com.au for the full list of winners as voted by their franchisees.
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