No two days and no two quarters are genuinely ever the same.
When describing their business, many people will tell you that no ‘two days are ever the same‘. This ‘quip’ is often used I would guess to underline the variety and diversity of a business. So, given that Raring2go! franchisee’s produce four quarterly magazines a year, you might think this adage applies to us too.
I can tell you however from nearly 12 years experience at the helm of Raring2go! that no two days and no two quarters are genuinely ever the same.
My daily routine is always different. I am a hands on franchisor in action as well as words. I enjoy the challenge of getting out there in the ‘field’ to meet my network of 50 ‘home-based’ franchisee’s at every opportunity.
This means that regular travel across the UK is a standard feature of nearly every day of my working life. We have editions in literally all four corners of the UK and on average I meet all of them at least two or three times a year at regional meetings, awards ceremonies we organsie for local clients and of course our national conference.
We are really hot on regional meetings and I pride myself on my pledge to be at a regional meeting first and leave last no matter where in the UK the meeting is held.
My head office team are based in Birmingham whilst I live on the south coast in Brighton. On a weekly basis I am in my Birmingham office working alongside my team making sure we are on track with our objectives in terms of franchisee support, national and local marketing strategy and franchisee recruitment.
I plan my weekly trips to the Birmingham office for different days each week and when as often happens we work on through till late, I will overnight and take my team out for dinner to further discuss the business. An awful lot more comes out in such relaxed and laid back circumstances.
I receive weekly updates from my franchise support manager on the performance of our network. I also have access to reports via our magazine management system software and where we identify an ‘issue’ or perhaps a training need we act quickly to address it and work with our franchisee to bring them back into line and on course in terms of minimum performance targets.
This is a team effort and my role as franchisor is to make sure the franchisee has a peer mentor as well as head office support.
I am the main point of contact for our third part suppliers too which means I have regular weekly zoom calls and meetings with our magazine printers. We are a pretty major client for them and my role involves ensuring we are getting the best bang for our buck and that the service they extend to our franchise network is in line with our service level agreements we have established.
Idealistically, we all dream that every transaction with suppliers goes smoothly and without a hitch according to the agreements in place.
Realistically, though, things sometimes don’t quite go according to plan and it is my responsibility to firstly remedy an issue when it arises and secondly to ensure we put provisions in place to prevent it happening again. This is why being hands on is essential.
Every franchisor has franchisee’s who for whatever reason try and do things their ‘own way’. When this happens, my role is to step in to explain why continuity is paramount in our business and why deviation from the tried and tested formula can be detrimental.
I stress the benefits of the ‘system’ and do my best to help them understand things from our perspective. However, I am ever mindful of the ‘big mac moment’ and know that my network of franchisee’s are capable of coming up with brilliant ideas and suggestions that could add great value to our business.
So I never dismiss the idea of change coming from within; I embrace it and I can demonstrate a number of occasions when this approach has worked to all of our advantage.
I manage our franchisee consultative forum (FCF), our Council. This body is formed of 8 franchisee’s who have stepped forward to commit time and effort to working with me and my head office team to create and roll out our on-going strategy and brand development.
Much of my time is centred around this role but it really is worth all the effort. So much of what we as a brand have achieved over the past five years can be attributed directly to the FCF.
I regard them as my ‘critical friend’ and together we have rolled out some truly brilliant initiatives which, thanks to the involvement of their fellow franchisee’s, have been well and truly embraced by the greater network at large.
I also spend time each week working with our recruitment consultants, fine tuning our offering and ensuring our messaging is accurate, on point and in plain English.
The weekly conversations revolve around ideas that I put forward (many emanating from the FCF) and ideas they suggest. I must be respectful of available recruitment spend to ensure that what we commit to do we can do and we can afford to do.
I particularly enjoy the interaction I have as franchisor with the BFA. I attend as many forums and events as time permits and recently chaired the South East Forum for the BFA.
Becoming a member of the BFA was a pinnacle moment for my business and whilst it involved tremendous effort to prove we were a suitable franchise, I firmly believe that the value of having BFA branding on our materials is a genuine asset.
I would say that my greatest achievement in Raring2go! has been that of ensuring we are a network of individuals who embrace the ethos of harmony in our work.
We have strived to inject the idea of franchisee’s working hand in hand with one another, as opposed to against one another. The streak of harmony that we have in our network is an enviable one and one which adds great value to our business on all levels. Ensuring we maintain it is my number one priority.
The relationship between me as franchisor and my network of franchisee’s is one based entirely upon trust. I am ever available to my franchisee’s and make sure I remind them of my genuine open door policy at every opportunity. That’s why those face to face meetings with my franchisees on a regular basis is so important.
I love my role in Raring2go! and I really wouldn’t change a thing, even though I live in my car and chew up more motorway miles than is probably healthy each year.
My week is always a full one and my diary fills up very quickly, often many weeks in advance. However, I am always ready to stop, think and act when a need arises.
Being franchisor to 50 franchisee’s means I have to have the ability to dedicate time and effort where it is most needed and when it is most needed. I work to an unwritten rule that I will always respond to my team, franchisee’s or suppliers the same day. It’s never let me down yet.
I delight in every success my franchisee’s enjoy and take particular pleasure from those successes that emerge thanks to the tight-knit working relationship we all enjoy.
If you ask me what I’ll be doing this time tomorrow, I could give you a rough idea but to be honest that might change…