The Franchisee Awards
The Nobel Prizes, the Booker Prize, even the MTV Video Music Awards…this is the time of year to be receiving honours, and as we all know, last week saw the highly anticipated bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards. These are a much coveted recognition of the achievements accomplished and the hard work conducted by the top franchisees in the UK.
This year there were five brand new categories, including Micro-Business, which was won by Ron and Shirley Maynard with Card Connection (well done!), and Female Franchisee, gained by Janis Anderson for her hard work with the domiciliary care provider Caremark UK. The latter also won the overall Franchisee of the Year Award (congratulations!).
How to Act to Win Them
The judges included bfa director general Brian Smart; Cathryn Hayes, head of franchising for HSBC; and Sean Hammond, head of franchising at Express Newspaper. Certain behavioural features of the impressive finalists/winners were mentioned and praised repeatedly, and they seem to be ones that the judges particularly valued:
Contributing to the local community
Community support has always been cherished, but it is appreciated now more than ever in these hard times when living standards are going down. Sponsoring local projects or teams; raising money for, or simply giving straight monetary donations or discounts to, charities; volunteering precious hours and money to important events; campaigning against a certain concern that is affecting the local people; all these show that the business is a staple part of the community. The judges were impressed by Female Franchisee finalist Cherry Lewis-Taylor, a McDonald’s franchisee who is known for her help in putting up CCTV in her community to identify the local inhabitants who were littering. For this she received a Keep Britain Tidy Award. Such contributory moves, particularly the hands-on ones, are of course great PR and advertising for the company as well.
Quality of service
This is in fact considered so important that it is an award of its own, in the form of Customer Service Franchisee of the Year. The way to ensure that clients are well served is to have a strong staff team. You must be extra picky about who your employ, making sure to interview and recruit each member yourself. All new staff must be thoroughly trained and given an induction period when they are not allowed to perform on their own, but have to work with other staff members for a few weeks to see how the system functions. Emphasis must focus on morals and principles as much as on economics, and staff should be kept updated and retrained on a regular basis. Being popular with customers results in expanding the business. For Janis Anderson, providing a decent service is “at the heart of everything”, particularly because Caremark’s work is of such a personal nature.
Coming up with new ideas
The reason franchises are ridiculously successful is because each system is a much-analysed one that has been proven to work time and time again. So the ability to come up with a useful outside-the-box tactic – one that is so effective that it is adopted by neighbouring franchisees and spread throughout the network as a whole – is impressive. Martin Rolfe with Card Connection was nominated for the Long-serving Franchisee of the Year Award, and in his 20 years with the company he has improved the franchise model time and time again with enhancements such as altering suppliers and building up strong relationships with certain buyers.
Surely any of us could do all these things and run a successful franchise at the same time…right?
Top photo: Janis Anderson and Lorraine Taylor with Caremark