Franchisee cheat sheet according to someone in the know

Thinking of buying a franchise? Or perhaps, you're already knee-deep in research and need a little push?

Well, we thought we'd catch up with one woman who is kicking some serious butt in the franchise game.

Jodi Cottle and her team at Laser Clinics Australia’s Tweed Heads clinic are great at what they do and have struck the perfect balance of operating within an established brand and making their mark.

We caught up with Jodi and asked her to share her cheat sheet on everything you need to know to kick butt at your own franchise.

With 200 clinics globally, how do you make your mark when working/owning a franchise?

Firstly, the important thing is to make sure your values align with those of the franchisor otherwise you may be set up for failure as misalignment will just mean things are constantly harder than they need to be, which could compound over time.

Secondly, No one else is like you, the mark you make is unique to you alone, so if you are true to those values they will shine through your team and onto the customers. Don’t worry so much about what everyone else is doing (aside from relevant benchmarking etc), live in your own bubble and concentrate on the inputs (daily tasks, always doing the best by staff and customers, operational excellence, staff progression etc), then the outputs (revenue, customer experience etc) will simply follow.

How much of how you run your business comes from corporate versus your own approach?

Operationally a lot comes from corporate at a high level. I am not a marketer, I don’t have a legal/HR degree or an IT background so I love the operational support that corporate has provided me since I came on board three years ago.  I see them very much as my partner and they have even felt like a safety blanket at times.  I came into owning a franchise from a corporate career in customer experience and sales, so while I wanted to run my own business, I like that I am not left completely on my own, I find this comforting.

Day-to-day operations are run at the local clinic level and this comes down to the collaborative approach I take with my leadership team and across the network to make sure we are consistently operating within ‘best practice’ measures.

From a leadership perspective, we have created a great team and culture. My approach is methodical with how I do this sustainably and focuses on five specific leadership styles. I also work off a particular neuroscience framework that has been an excellent vehicle throughout my career for maintaining a high-performing team. Having the sales and customer experience background has obviously helped also with how I structure incentives etc. However, the magic is in the leadership approaches and working with people's intrinsic motivations (sense of belonging, working towards a common goal etc), rather than working off incentives alone (bonuses/commission etc) – which any company can copy so it simply makes it unsustainable.

What advice do you have for people considering buying their own franchise?

Do your industry research by looking at the macro factors. The PESTEL acronym model is an excellent framework for this. Make sure the industry is safe for you to invest in.

Do your competitive research on the micro factors. SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) and Porter's Five Forces are excellent models to work off for this.

Look at the franchisor – the cheapest royalties are definitely not the best on this occasion!  Are they professional in their dealings with you? Is their customer experience slick? Is their Marketing slick? Are operations slick?

Go and be a customer at the franchise… see what’s good, and what’s bad.  Be critical.

What practical tips do you have for people running a franchise?

Have and show respect for each and every employee. Respect their time and what they do.  Appreciate them. Develop them. Give them a safe, secure and happy place to come to work.

Get along with your Lessor. You may need them onside if there is another pandemic or other such crisis.

Find the best marketing that works for the region/area. Don’t go into this blind based on what works for others in the network. Test different things out. i.e. billboards, versus letterbox drops versus social versus paper advertising.

How do you work with other franchises around the country?

I find my franchisee colleagues incredibly helpful. We tend to compare and sense check against our benchmarks i.e. stock on hand values, inject days/rosters, wage percentages etc. It is useful to bounce ideas around and have people in your network that know exactly what you are going through. It creates a great bond.

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Working in a male-dominated industry from a woman on the inside


How to shine as a franchisee