Having overcome the challenges of starting a franchise, the next challenge is to sustainably grow the business beyond its current form. One of the most effective ways to do this is by scaling your operations. But where do you start? And how do you achieve your goal?
Scalability is about capacity and capability. Scaling a business means laying the foundation to enable and support growth in your franchise. It denotes having the ability to grow without being hindered and requires planning, the right systems, staff, processes, and technology.
Chris Wootton, Managing Director and franchisee of Poppies, has identified five key areas that should be a top priority for any franchise looking to scale up their business in order to reach long-lasting growth. If you get these right, they will be your launch pad to achieving exceptional growth.
- Create a strong foundation
Before you consider scaling up your business, you need to make sure the basics are robust. Make sure you are confident your business is working well as a small operation before you even think about growing it. If your processes are inconsistent or your employees are not 100% committed to their jobs, the growing pressure of scaling will identify any weaknesses and worsen them.
- Build a great team and create the right culture
Having a team of employees you can rely on is crucial when scaling up a business successfully. You need to create a culture that attracts and retains top talent, starting with a strong leadership team. Each employee needs to be prepared to take on more responsibility if you want to increase revenue without taking the financial hit of employing new people. If you are running a cleaning franchise, for example, make sure your team’s roles are well defined so you know every aspect of operations is being taken care of. If you’re asking people to take on more responsibility, it is vital you provide extra training to help them feel confident taking this on.
- Prioritise great customer service
Your commitment to customer service should be a priority when scaling up. Happy customers lead to more money, growth, and sustainability. Building a world-class customer experience strategy and consistently delivering great customer service as your business grows will enable you to improve customer satisfaction, increase customer loyalty, and encourage word-of-mouth marketing from customers. All these things will help drive the business forward, while increasing your customer base and boosting profits.
- Invest in technology
Technology makes it easier and less expensive to scale a business. If you are trying to increase your customer volume without employing new staff, then technology will be the solution. By incorporating automated systems into your daily workflow, you can leverage the power of technology to help reduce the time and energy you spend on mundane, repetitive tasks, such as invoicing, credit control, payroll and bookkeeping,. This in turn frees you and your workforce up to focus attention and skill where it matters most: on running and growing your business and nurturing client relationships.
“Last year, we developed a new operations system that not only minimises the amount of admin required by a franchisee, but also provides full and complete KPIs, which instantly allows them to compare their own progress with the Poppies network averages. In addition, the system has enabled automatic and seamless communication between the franchise and their employees, enabling rotas to be accessed, timesheets submitted and any special requests or requirements from customers. This has transformed the way the franchisees operate and frees up time for them to focus on scaling up their businesses.”
- Stay true to your core values
Your values are the definition of a company’s culture and are a way of capturing behaviours that you feel are important in your business. When focused on scaling your business, it is vital that you do not lose sight of what got you here in the first place. With all the changes that you will be considering and likely to take on, remember to stay true to your core values and principles as they define who and what your business is all about.
“Poppies is a brand that has continued to stick closely to its values, performance and service offering over the past four decades. Building the reputation of a brand takes time and effort, and when coupled with a heritage and longevity, it naturally increases trust which can have a significant impact on your business. Any growth will be built off this and will enable franchisees to build profitable and scalable businesses.”
Scaling up can be a steep learning curve, but as a franchise owner, you will know when the time is right to grow your business. Whether you are ready to expand your service offering, add a new digital platform or widen your client base, you will need to take the right steps to prepare your business for a significant upturn in activity. By doing this, you will be perfectly placed to take advantage of the opportunities, and your business will sustain long-term growth.
Chris Wootton is owner, Managing Director and also longstanding franchisee of Poppies with over two decades of experience in both the cleaning and franchise industries. Launched in 1980, Poppies was the UK’s first-ever cleaning franchise. Today, the 22-strong network turns over more than £5 million annually. Having taken ownership of the brand in 2018, Chris is leading the business into a new phase of expansion.