5 signs you’ve found the right franchisee

What are the top five things you need to look for in a franchisee recruit? Bob Ozdemir, franchise development consultant at Buyabusiness Australia, shares his experience and reveals his must-haves…

When we think about strong franchise companies instinctively we think about strong marketing and brand awareness, detailed operational systems and multiple franchise locations.

The strength and quality of a franchise company, however, is seldom spoken of in terms of the quality of people behind the brand – that is, the franchisees. Of course what constitutes top quality is somewhat subjective but there are some core traits that are common.

Given that the franchisee is the glue which brings together the branding, systems, service quality or product experience, on their own the franchisee has incredible significance for the growth and strength of a franchise brand.

Truth is, if you pick the wrong franchisee, no amount of systems, branding or retail and marketing support will save you.

I have witnessed how a business can be transformed upwardly by a new franchisee but also how a strong business can almost collapse within months of a new franchisee taking over.

Young recruiters are amazed when franchised businesses collapse under very intelligent, qualified people who have had extensive training – and some can even recite Shakespeare!

It doesn’t seem to make sense.

Well, a lot of the successful franchise stories can be attributed to some pretty basic and common franchisee traits. Mostly these are attitudes that are inherent in individuals; franchisees can’t be trained to display them, so you will need to recruit specifically for them.

Here are five signs you've found the right franchisee:

1. Belief

Brand ambassadors are people who love your brand and its products or services. If the franchisee is a believer it comes across in the way they deal with customers, staff and suppliers. These people are very positive and they work hard and long to fit within the brand. They generally achieve a high level of performance because they love what they do.

Most brand ambassadors are within your customer base so marketing franchise opportunities directly to them can be a cheap and effective way to get such franchisees.

2. Strong work ethic

Hard work will often deliver strong performance and compensate for some shortcomings. These franchisees don’t sit in the back office and check out their social media posts. They are the first to arrive and last to leave. They are happy to serve customers, mop floors and will work hard to please your customers. They are often perfectionists.

3. Positive, happy, likeable people

Let’s face it, customers prefer to deal with happy, friendly and positive people. Such a franchisee will often inject a positive theme within your business and this will follow through with the staff as well.

Overly serious and critical franchisees will not only deter some customers from returning but will also constantly look to find fault with systems and people. They tend to have high staff turnover too.

Customers are more likely to tolerate a lesser product experience if they receive better service and the staff and owners are personable and friendly.

4. Confident, open minded 

Such franchisees follow systems, spend on marketing, are happy to plough money back in to stock weight to grow sales, are willing to pay the extra dollars to hire the right staff, are keen to invest in the brand and its plans for growth.

5. A need to achieve

A franchisee who is looking for ways to stay occupied during semi-retirement may not be who you want in a growing franchise. On the other hand franchisees who have the need to succeed, to work hard, to innovate, are goal driven and are problem solvers have just the get-up-and-go franchising requires.

Of course together with the above traits you will need to make sure that your applicant meets the standard requirements for your business .

Interestingly though, franchise applicants who possess the above traits but lack in other skills or attributes may surprise you in how they are able to succeed .

I have seen many applicants who seem unlikely to succeed (perhaps due to cultural, language or educational limitations) who have taken failing businesses to extra-ordinary success or who have taken seemingly very successful businesses into the stratosphere.