Purchasing a franchise is a life-changing decision, and knowing how to navigate the first year of business can feel like you’re paddling upstream without the right support or experience.
For Body Fit Training (BFT), a fast-growing fitness franchise in Australia with nearly 100 studios open and over 200 franchises sold, building franchisees up to enjoy sustained success is a critical part of its business model.
Here BFT’s joint CEO, Richard Burnet, shares some of the secrets and tips he employs to ensure his franchisees feel confident in the future of their business, and are on their way to success within the first 12 months.
1. Follow the framework
Don’t fix what’s not broken! For many new franchisees, it’s comforting to know you’re surrounded by others who have been in the same position as you when starting out. Utilise the expertise from your franchisor, which has walked dozens of franchisees through the same process.
Your franchisor should have a breadth of knowledge and mapped out how the first year is expected to play out. Following those processes and systems will put you on the right path to success.
The most important thing is trusting that the system they’ve established is proven to work – otherwise you wouldn’t have bought into it.
2. Treat your employees right
In a customer-facing franchise, your staff is the backbone of your business. The success of a BFT franchise starts with having the right people on the ground. They are the ones that interact with your members on a daily basis and drive client relationships.
So it’s critical to treat your employees well, and keep an eye on any pain points. Investing proper time and effort to make them feel like a valued and genuine member of your team, sharing in your success, will motivate them to do the same for your members. Investing in high-quality trainers and employees who are motivated is what ultimately pays off and keeps the cogs turning for our franchisees.
3. Prioritise customer service
This one is simple – the customer comes first. Like any service business, your success relies on filling the needs of a member and providing a memorable experience. The BFT fitness model is the essential part of the service offering, however a great member experience is about so much more than the product and program.
Ensuring you and your employees are focused on establishing great relationships and creating an electric energy will inspire referrals and grow your base. BFT’s growth is based on three key stakeholders achieving success – the member, the franchisee, and us as the franchisor. If any one of these pillars breaks down, the business won’t flourish.
4. Find your ‘thing’
How can you set yourself apart and make your members feel like they’ve found what they’ve been looking for?
Spending the time to find a unique point of difference, or ‘thing’, for your fitness franchise can be the glue that keeps your members loyal and invested. This can be as simple as remembering a member’s birthday is in a special way or welcoming a new member through a fun routine.
5. Don’t be afraid of teething problems
Any franchisee owner will encounter hiccups in their first year, and it’s important to understand that. Finding tailored solutions which work for your franchise, and being agile so you can apply them quickly, helps you to avoid problems escalating.
Drawing upon the experience of the franchisor’s head office and other franchisees is important here – chances are they’ve dealt with a similar situation before, and have a good roadmap for how to navigate it. Remaining calm and remembering your end goal will stand you in good stead.