7 Tips to Operate a Successful Franchise Business
The decision to buy into a franchise business is usually a result of the love for a brand, the comparative advantage of resources, systems and process in contrast to starting your own business or the high potential for passive investment opportunities. Regardless of your reasoning, buying a franchise is more so about ‘getting your foot in the door’, and by ‘in the door’, we mean the creation of a fulfilling, financially secure future, whereby expertise, dedication and strategy is still required to create a high performing franchise.
At Fitstop, we believe in creating the perfect balance between the support we provide and the dedication of business owners to create a highly profitable franchised location. In doing this, we can work on crucial business elements that generate growth and ensure a seamless business operation whilst our business owners can focus on generating growth and creating a strong community within their location.
Whether you're taking on the role of a hands-on or a more passive business owner, it’s important to understand what needs to be done to create a successful business and how you can action these points yourself or hire a skilled team who can facilitate your growth.
Here are our top 7 steps to effectively operate a franchise business:
1. Invest in a high performing team
More often than not in any given industry, your team is the backbone of your business. This is particularly relevant for the group fitness industry, as the trainers are at the forefront of each session, as well as a gym manager or business owner providing a warm welcome to each member. These team members are essential to your member experience and subsequent journey - essentially, this team structure is paramount and can be the difference of a member having a fantastic experience leaving them wanting more versus failing to sign up. Investing in your team will mean they invest back in contributing to the success of your business.
Fitstop provides a business model that not only members love, but trainers want to be a part of to showcase their high calibre of fitness knowledge and trainer skill - with the support of expert HR resources and recruitment tools derived from Fitstop HQ, you’re able to find these team members and cultivate a welcoming work environment.
2. Establish an operational rhythm
Like any high performing business, achieving targets is all about being meticulous with your planning and making each day, week, month, quarter and year count! It’s about ensuring that time never slips by and you aren’t continually sprinting ahead without reflection. There are a multitude of things that can be planned in alignment to this operational rhythm such as member targets, attrition rates, retention rates, campaign performance objectives, lead call times and even more specific growth points that you believe will further grow your business.
Once again, Fitstop requires equal responsibility between our contribution and the dedication of business owners. We host monthly tactical, quarterly strategic and yearly conference meetings as well as providing access to continual face-to-face support from our support managers. We simply require our business owners to complete the back-end work by actioning any items and planning for each of these operational rhythms to ensure their business success!
3. Focus on the member journey
Remember, the member is the core of your business. Luckily, buying into a proven franchise like Fitstop means the bulk of the work surrounding systems, processes, campaigns, forecasting and other key domains are done for you. This provides the opportunity for you to focus on motivating your members, finding out their why and making sure each session is the highlight of their day; it’s yours or your dedicated teams’ job to ensure they have an exceptional member experience.
Put simply, without focusing on the member journey, you miss the opportunity to create a strong and wholesome community. We believe this is a huge distinguisher between high and low performing franchise businesses as from your member’s perspective, they’ve signed up for a group fitness business instead of a traditional gym where they complete isolated workouts. This means they are likely being drawn to the emotional benefits of group training, meaning they expect you to know where they work, what their interests are and if they have any exciting events coming up.
4. Connect with business owners
Within a franchise network, the actions of an individual franchise impacts the reputation and results of the collective network. Likewise, acting synchronously creates a strong and clear message to the market that benefits your entire network. This means to cultivate a successful franchise business, it’s essential to perceive the other business owners in your network as supporters of your business and not competitors - this is often the first downfall in many franchise businesses as it negatively influences morale and results in siloed feedback and tips.
At Fitstop, our business owners lean on each other for ideas whether that be learning from opportunities or celebrating their wins. This is a huge advantage of buying into a franchise, as when else do you get the opportunity to have consistently accessible advice and support from people running the same business as you?
5. Consistently upskill yourself and your team
The biggest game changer to performance is realising you can always do more to grow - and this derives from upskilling yourself and your team. This may include external upskilling such as being well versed in industry trends and techniques by listening to podcasts or enrolling in certain courses, or it could play out in weekly meetings or simply providing your team with further responsibilities. Not only will your members benefit from the continually improved and high calibre service offering, but your business is better positioned to succeed; being upskilled provides yourself and your team with a continual fresh perspective and a desire to do more which plays out in working for the benefit of the business.
Fitstop provides the opportunity for business owners to be upskilled at our strategic meetings and conferences by sharing new insight and acquiring external expertise and industry speakers. From a product perspective, we host bi-monthly product training sessions which involve all Fitstop trainers coming together to refresh their knowledge, learn new skills to engage members whilst facilitating their progression; ultimately, empowering trainers to conduct the perfect Fitstop session.
6.Make the most of all the franchisor has to offer
Whilst not all franchises offer the same support, at Fitstop we pride ourselves in offering world-class, sustainable systems and processes to facilitate our business owners. This is evident within our marketing tools and support, tactical meetings, continually updated strategies, financial forecasting and many more aspects. However, it is entirely up to you to integrate the learnings that come from a high calibre of expertise and action in your business. Ultimately, this should be second nature as you are buying into a franchise you trust, therefore you should trust their expertise and advice as it’s designed to support you!
7. Be money smart
It’s essential to be stringent on financial planning by forecasting in advance to ensure there are no surprises that could limit your growth potential. Whilst the prior advice will ensure you understand the ins and outs of your business - financial planning is the final piece to the puzzle as most business initiatives lead back to finances. You need to forecast the finances required for the upskilling, the amount you want to spend to elevate digital marketing performance or how much you are willing to pay for a high performing team.
There is undeniably a huge opportunity to be successful when owning a franchise business. However, this success relies upon both yourself and your team's dedication to growing your business by considering each of the 7 key points. At Fitstop, we believe the key enabler of growing a successful location is operational planning as well as being passionate when doing so.
If you would like to hear more about the operational support Fitstop provides, download our Info Pack at fitstop.com/franchise.