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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Here's How You Can Change Your Life Today   Diving Into New Opportunities With Poolwerx The home services industry is booming despite the impacts of COVID, and this is never more evident than at Poolwerx, Australia’s largest pool and spa maintenance brand who recently announced its most successful financial results of its 29-year history. Despite the testing retail environment, turnover was 10 percent above forecast for FY21, with Poolwerx’ 128 retail stores performing exceptionally well, recording a sales uplift of 10 percent year on year. Overall, the business saw 10 percent growth year on year with a total of 5 new retail stores opening across NSW, WA, and QLD and a further 5 independent stores acquired under the Poolwerx brand. The strong FY21 results reflect a surge of Australians investing in their own backyards whilst affected by the pandemic, generating a home servicing industry boom. Poolwerx Chief Operating Officer, Nic Brill said the COVID-fuelled growth in-home services had seen the brand’s recession-resilient franchise model thrive. “With people spending more time at home than ever before, we saw our client’s priorities shift towards investing in their homes and backyards,” Mr. Brill said. “The broader pool industry were the recipients of this home cocooning trend throughout 2020 and into 2021, and it’s great to see our network of small family businesses generate incredible results and come out on top in these uncertain times. Our brand and what we stand for – maintaining healthy pools for families and friends to create lifelong backyard memories – is really resonating with clients in the current climate. “Our franchise partners exceeded their planned budgets for the financial year, a testament to both their dedication and commitment to the increased demands from new and existing clients. “Our diversified approach and business model, working across retail and servicing, provides partners with multiple revenue streams versus a single stream income franchise option. “This diversified approach creates opportunities for our partners to build a business that suits their needs – from a single van operator all the way through to multi-store empires, we’re here to facilitate and support the journey they want to take.” Mr Brill said. Getting into small business or franchising offers a chance for a secure future and helps Australians regain control of their livelihoods. Having survived five economic recessions, Poolwerx has proved time and time again that this is an opportunity to dive into. Take control of your future and join one of Australia’s most successful franchises – simply click this link to learn more.
4 Ways Footy Helped Shape My Business What 500+ Games of Club Footy Have Taught Me About Running a Business Taking the lessons learned on the footy field into the boardroom has helped build the world’s largest swimming pool and spa maintenance franchise for John O’Brien, Founder and Global CEO of Poolwerx. He’s also survived through five economic corrections in that time, so understands what it takes to build a resilient business. Beyond his passion for entrepreneurship, John’s club footy career is almost as impressive. He got his first kick as a seven-year-old growing up in rural Victoria and didn’t hang up his footy boots until 36 years later, with more than 500 games of Aussie Rules and Gaelic footy under his belt. As a business entrepreneur, he’s survived through five economic corrections and says the lessons he learned on the field have helped shape his business views and values. 1. Find the better way – only by constantly training and evolving as a player, team and business can you get ahead of the curve. “The day players or executives feel they know it all is the day they need to hang up their boots,” says John. 2. Dare to succeed – the Viking mentality of never giving up is what gets Poolwerx through adversity, such as the torment brought on by COVID-19. “When you’ve got your back to the wall late in the second half, that is when you dig deep for moves or sheer determination to find a way to win through or lose well,” says John. 3. Partnership mentality – on the field and in the boardroom, it’s always about relationships and working together as a team. “Teams always fascinated me more than individual sports – no matter who you were, once you pulled on that jumper you were one team with one goal – to win. That’s why franchising has been my career, it’s one big team,” says John. Be it Franchise Partners or suppliers, Poolwerx takes a real partnership approach – the company even refers to its supplier as ‘Partners in Profit’. John describes Poolwerx as a family business made up of family businesses. “We have this unwritten tribal language that binds us all together on one mission – from singing the team song after winning the game to making sure your franchise partners and suppliers are profitable too.” 4. People first – in a business just like on the field, your biggest asset and IP is your players, your people. “Conversely, while you’re a team, every individual is at a different stage with different abilities and motivations. The trick for me as coach these days is constantly guiding the individuals on our team to be the best they can be, the best fit for the team and peaking at the right time,” says John. This approach helped us keep everyone employed globally through both the GFC and the Pandemic and we grew strongly through both too. With Poolwerx recently announcing its most successful year to date after 29 years, John’s winning formula is helping drive big wins for franchise partners. If you’d like to join this winning team, click the link for more info.
Winning Big at Franchising Awards We made a splash at last night’s National Franchise Council of Australia Excellence in Franchising Awards with a double win! Our talented Marketing Team took out the Excellence in Marketing award while Queensland Business Development Manager Phil Colburn was recognised with the National Field Manager of the Year Award. Held virtually, the awards recognised Australia’s high-achieving franchise networks, small business owners and franchise support staff, showcasing their amazing work in the franchising sector.
COVID UPDATE: We are open for business! If you can’t get into store, click and deliver is available. Click here for all Victoria Orders. Click here for all NSW Orders.