Creating a great work life balance is easier said than done. Often as a small business owner you will work more hours than you would as an employee, but by being your own boss, you can choose which hours you work and which hours you spend with family and friends.
Through tens of thousands of surveys, hundreds of depth interviews and focus groups, as well as running the Top Franchise Awards, I’ve have had a front row seat to see how the best franchises do it. However not all franchises are created equal on this front – the business model and its financial viability is critical to allowing this flexibility.
From a franchisees perspective there are a number of elements that are core to their satisfaction.
While it will vary from franchise system to franchise system, there are eight critical success factors across the industry. Lifestyle; Franchisor Support; Passion; Family Support; Brand; Marketing; Finances; and Expansion Opportunities.
If you are looking at franchising your own business you should base your thinking around these core pillars and if you are looking at joining a franchise, I strongly recommend you examine which of these elements is most important to you, so that you can choose a franchise which is the right fit for you.
The importance of lifestyle
Smartline Mortgage Advisers, Gutter-Vac and Choice Home Loans are all service based businesses where the franchisees either tend to work from home or are on the road going to their customer’s houses. Without set trading hours, this gives greater flexibility to do the afternoon pick up of kids, knock off early to go fishing or to simply choose the number of hours you want to work.
Work life balance does not only come from being a service based business, it also comes from minimising mental stress. A key cause of mental stress for a small business owner is having an uncertain, lumpy cash flow.
Franchises with a recurring revenue model or a large advertising presence which brings in a steady flow of customers, tend to do well on this count. Anytime Fitness and Snooze are perfect examples of this.
Anytime Fitness franchisees get their revenue through gym memberships, so whilst they need to continually recruit new members, they have confidence that every month there will be a certain amount of revenue coming through the door to cover their expenses.
Snooze are constantly advertising every week to target customers who are in the market for a bed. Sure they will have their sales, but there ‘always-on’ approach to marketing drives a steady rather than erratic flow of customers, and gives franchisees a confidence in the cash flow of their business.
The last consistent element across the franchise industry that helps provide a good work life balance, is having fantastic systems that simplify the operations of a business.
Having rock solid, efficient processes gives franchisees certainty, that no matter how many customers they need to serve, the numbers of hours worked will be fairly constant and they won’t need to be putting out spot fires, whether that is in relation to IT, rostering, or capacity planning.
For the sandwich, coffee and treat business, Soul Origin, their approach to food preparation and staffing means that they can serve two to three times the number of customers than an equivalent competitor can in a lunch time rush period, with little extra effort required from a franchisee.
For Mister Minit, whose franchisees provide a mix of specialised services- such as key cutting, shoe repairs and engraving, the head office team have a philosophy of keeping admin work for franchisees to a minimum and always ask themselves, “how can we simplify”, rather than add to a franchisees workload.
Want more? Stay tuned for an upcoming article on two of the other critical pillars for franchisee satisfaction – examining the power of brand and how the best franchisors provide support to franchisees.