How outdoor franchises can grow in 2022
While most businesses have struggled over the course of 2021, lawncare franchise Greensleeves has achieved a record-breaking network turnover for the second year in a row, proving that the outdoor sector has continued to flourish despite the pandemic. David Truby, the MD of Greensleeves, has some advice for outdoor franchises on how they too can push on into 2022.
With every month from February to November registering as a record-breaking month, 2021 has been a consecutive record-breaking year for lawn care franchise Greensleeves. And, it is clear, with the horticultural franchise acquiring more new customers in 2021 than any previous year, our green spaces have remained extremely valuable to people all over the country. In fact, with more people being invested in their homes and not wanting winter to affect the lawns they have cared so much for over the summer months, there are no signs of business slowing down. So, here are my top tips on ensuring your franchise can also push on into 2022.
1. Add value through innovation
Innovation is essential for the growth of any business. But what does it mean to be innovative in business? Innovation can be anything from revamping your website to attract more leads, developing an app for your franchisees to help reduce admin times, or even just utilising technology to help you conduct meetings and provide more support to your franchisees. For example, have you started to use Zoom to train new franchisees? Innovation can take many forms, but one thing that is certain is that you should be looking to innovate to thrive in 2022.
If you are in a rapidly growing industry, staying ahead of the curve with innovative products and technology is vital if you want to have the edge over your competitors. However, when you look to innovate, you must first ask yourself, ‘Does this add value?’. Innovation without adding value is simply unnecessary change. Brands need to focus their innovation efforts on improving the customer’s experience by making it as frictionless as possible. An example of adding value through innovation would be Greensleeves’; new app, Greensleeves Live, which reduces the admin time of our franchisees. By easing franchisee administration, they have more time to deliver a better all-round service.
2. Develop your franchisor/franchisee relationship
The relationship between a franchisor and a franchisee is unique because it is mutually beneficial. Both parties have something to gain from the partnership. Franchisees rely on support to help them answer everyday questions, handle operations and maintain their equipment, while a franchisor can only be successful when a franchisee succeeds. Therefore, developing a great relationship is essential to keeping your franchise going strong in 2022.
My advice would be to maintain an honest and open dialogue. The best way for franchisors and franchisees to get the most out of their relationship is through clear and concise communication – which you can do through weekly catch-up calls. By doing this, franchisors provide their franchisees the necessary support and resources to help them meet and exceed their goals. I would also encourage any franchisor to monitor their relationships. It can often be the case that we, the franchisor, think everything is fine – the reality could be very different. So, ask the people who matter… At Greensleeves, we use the WorkBuzz survey, for which we achieved the 5-star WorkBuzz award for franchisee satisfaction this year. By taking part in this survey, we can see where we need to improve and what we are doing well. It is beneficial for all franchises to take part in this.
3. Focus on providing exceptional customer service
I have said it before and I will say it again: we rely heavily on repeat business and referrals in the world of lawn care. So, ensuring good customer service is key to our success moving into the new year.
Giving your clients what they want when it comes to providing customer service is vital. I would recommend always being incredibly responsive; this means when a client contacts your business, actually respond to them! This can be difficult when you are working outdoors, but having someone in your business to answer the phone and respond quickly to emails goes a long way. In fact, this level of service will retain your customers and allow you to build a good relationship with them.
You can also provide exceptional customer service by using positive language. Turn your ‘maybe’ into a ‘definitely’ and your ‘I will try to do that’ into an ‘I will do that’. This language lets the client hear that your goal is to fulfil their needs. A customer wants someone as passionate about their goals as they are. Another customer service tip is to ensure that you do not promise something you cannot deliver, as this is an easy way to lose business and a client’s trust. This year, Trustpilot confirmed Greensleeves as the UK’s favourite lawn care provider – rating us as exceptional, 4.8/5, significantly more and higher than our competitors.
Greensleeves has had a fantastic end to 2021 having welcomed seven new franchisees and seen eleven consecutive months of record-breaking income, which shows a 34% increase of income last year. However, we will not rest on our laurels as we head into the new year. Landscaping businesses that add value to their services, provide excellent customer service and market themselves to their core customer demographic, will not just survive in the new year, they will flourish.