Curating and Building a Successful Franchise Model

Poolwerx Founder and CEO John O’Brien recently spoke with Business Franchise Australia about his experience in establishing a successful business and what his key tips are for building a successful franchise model.

These days, if you’re not changing, you’re going backwards. It used to be that the first step in creating a successful franchise model was identifying and proving a novel idea with a vivid brand suited to small-business replication. However, that is no longer viable in today’s market. Instead, you need a system which is capable of rapid evolution. So if your system is showing signs of stalling, if you’re not getting the growth you hoped for, it might be time to look harder at what’s going on around you, your relevance in the mix, and at what market or regulatory changes you need to prepare for.

As Franchisor, your network is depending on you and your team to out-think, outpace and outflank everyone wanting a piece of your action. You might have to consider a reboot, but that doesn’t have to be seen as a negative.

The first Poolwerx model was vans servicing domestic pools. These days, individual franchise partners control multiple store empires supported by fleets of mobile service units for domestic, institutional and commercial markets. The model has now grown to support operations in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and soon in Europe.

Based on my own experience, these are the rules in which I follow to manage Poolwerx:

You must create a culture of respect

Whatever your altruism, franchise systems tend to go through a phase of ‘them-and-us’ in terms of relationships between the support team and franchisees – and for that matter, suppliers. Some never get past it. Some do, and then back peddle back into it. In Poolwerx, there is zero-tolerance of disrespect for Franchise Partners, suppliers and our support team.

Never stint on training

Poolwerx has sophisticated training facilities in Brisbane and Dallas, Texas, providing industry and government-accredited modules for Franchise Partners and their staff, and are recognised as best in the world for our sector. The net result has increased the profitability of individual businesses, improved staff retention and a greater sense of future.

We were recently awarded a five-star rating under the independent FRANdata system. I believe this is reflected by the support and training Poolwerx offers employees, which is essential for any franchisee.  We encourage anyone in our network to embrace training and complete their CFE Industry Certification – the highest qualification in the franchise industry. As of this year, Poolwerx currently has the most (seven) accredited CFE graduates in Australia.

Your most important KPI must be the profitability of the individual businesses

If your franchisees are making a living comparable with their effort and risk and can see a viable end game, then generally your system remains stable. It’s when people feel backed into a corner financially, or corners are cut, then this is when issues will arise.

Open as many lines of communication as you can

Create a sense of community within your network. Lead by example, providing regular internal communications and ensure two-way feedback through business meetings. Measure who is opening what network communication and how often they do so. If it’s flagging, find a new and better way.

Stay true to the person you were when you embarked on your enterprise

Remain at the helm for as long as you can, and invest in culture as much as the balance sheet.

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