Posts Tagged business women

Choosing the right franchise for you

Franchise opportunities abound, but choosing the right franchise requires careful thought and considered research.

Combing through franchise businesses for sale notices should be less daunting if you implement a well thought-out research strategy. Using online research, industry publications, news clippings and other methods is a great starting point.

When identifying franchise opportunities, consider what will complement your lifestyle, business goals and your skill set. Some aspects to consider are outlined below.

Brand strength? Behind every successful business is a strong brand, bolstered by an enviable reputation. Read widely about how the franchise brand is perceived by the industry, customers and business partners. Part of what you’re buying is the company’s brand equity. What do you estimate the brand’s equity to be?

Finding out about financial health How open and transparent is the organisation about its financial health? A company’s balance sheet can provide valuable insights about how well placed the franchise business is to harness future growth.

Expenses today and in the future Before you buy a franchise, you’ll need to know what set-up costs are involved. There could also be ongoing costs, such as marketing or advertising levies.

Strategic marketing, PR and advertising expertise? Dig deeper into the company’s marketing strategy. What level of investment and support is offered nationally and locally? What marketing and branding expertise does the company offer? How well resourced is the organisation to fund public relations programs?

Systems for success? Systems are essential ingredients in any successful franchise network. How efficient are the franchise’s systems and processes – do they help or hinder your ability to operate the business?

Investigate the level of support on the ground Do they have a dedicated operational and field support team to assist you? Investigate the ratio of franchisees to field support infrastructure.

Consider the commercial environment Determine the competitive dynamics that are likely to impact the brand. Do they have a well-defined understanding of their competitors, future opportunities, trends and issues?

Create a shortlist of franchise business opportunities? Once you’ve created your wish list, shortlist your most suitable franchise opportunities. Map out what works for you and what doesn’t, including the business must-haves e.g. IT and marketing support, costs (one-off and ongoing) and other forms of critical infrastructure.

Talk to franchise owners at the coalface Franchise owners are valuable resources. They can often provide you with the ‘inside story’ about a potential franchise business opportunity.

 

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What’s next, the fourth instalment

In this final part of the new recruit guidelines I wanted to focus on the probation period guidelines. it’s a very important part of the whole process but one which is often dismally left out of the process. Here is what I said in the initial article in this series.

Probation period guidelines – Start and in three months we will assess how  you have gone. Assess what and how? Is anyone in your organisation clearly responsible for figuring out what and how to assess, are they qualified to do so to some regulatory standard?

Many organisations have a three month probation period while others have six months and others none at all. If you want to build in cooling off period where either party can part ways, it is wise to ensure you and they fully understand the process and the criteria they will be assessed on.

These days there are plenty of people with workplace assessment qualifications who should be able to map out the criteria for measurement and the ways to assess the recruit against those criteria.

Depending on the role will depend on the specifics of operational effectiveness they will have to attain, the skills they will have to demonstrate and the level of cultural fit they will attain.

At a minimum level the OHS standards will be addressed and I would like to think a solid appreciation of the values and beliefs of the organisation as well as practical job skills and abilities would be very wise.

The aim being to ensure the person being assessed has clear criteria to work to, as well as a full appreciation of how they will be assessed and the evidence or types of evidence which will be sued to do all this.

May I suggest a clearly set out set of criteria in a bunch of areas, OHS, job skills, Cultural fit, Communication skills, Technical skills (IT etc). and then build the assessable parts within each section. Perhaps they will have to show an understanding of the terminology or intention of the parts of each section as well as demonstrate with clear evidence they have achieved that level of skill.

Whatever the end product make sure it is clear to all parties and people assessing the person have the ability to do it based on great evidence and clear guidelines for all.

Now you have a new recruit with correct training, who has met the criteria for assessment, feels welcome in the organisation and is settling in to the role with ease and a degree of comfort. You on the other hand have the peace of mind in knowing you did all you could to make the process as easy as possible to ensure the new recruit is a brilliant fit and are assured of their ongoing success… Let’s hope so!

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What’s next, the second instalment

This is the second part of the four part series on dealing with new recruits, this time we focus on training. Here’s what I said in the initial article.

Lousy training – Tough, though I know your training people are possibly doing what they can, given tough challenges or are just not that suited to training new employees, they might have a stronger focus on I.T. or a some Leadership program, they can be spread thin. After all did anyone tell the Training area to prepare something for the new recruit?

When it comes to training some are of the opinion “If you picked a new recruit, pick one already trained…” nice thought but there are things  your organisation will do differently to others so they might need to know how your team look after OHS issues, and about the versions of software you use. as well as looking at the values and beliefs in the organisation.

I can only hope your organisation has a great training program in place for all sorts of things and not a lousy one as I hinted at in the opening section. So that being the case your training team will have this area all handled for you when  you let them know the new recruit is about to start.

  • The training team won’t tell you “Oh the OHS (or other) training doesn’t run for another 3 weeks.” They will have a positive stop gap measure like an online training option, or at the very least a handout on OHS expectations and guidelines to give the recruit early in the process (before they start perhaps.)
  • The training team will have put together something for the new recruit on the values and beliefs of the organisation, knowing full well the value of a great cultural fit and how this can happen using foundation organisational philosophies.
  • The training team will have mapped out a schedule of what training is happening and what the recruit needs to do to ensure their training needs are met and especially in the area of the induction program and it’s time frame. They will be well and truly focussed on the recruits success in the organisation and not just for the recruitment phase either.

The new recruit, even by this early stage, will be suitably impressed with how things are going, they feel included and are valued in the organisation and are trained to succeed.

In the next phase your Leadership and communication skills come to the fore as you make sure all the team know about the recruit and a bit about how they will fit in. Join me then as weexplore the expectations of the new recruit.

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Who’s in… Who’s out? Your business politics.

In your business you will have politics (if you don’t like politics get out of business…) it’s all about who jostles for what position, who has power, who wants what and does what.

Politics is great, as long as it has positive aims and ideas (Check out your mission vision and values, it should reflect these.) Where it goes wrong is when people get a little off centre and the positive aims and ideals get shoved off the agenda (not officially, nor formally) but the various thoughts, discussions and notions taking place have “Hidden agendas” happening.

In the end the negativity connected with this level of “philosophical thought process” ends up down the drain. People get hurt, egos get fractured, casualties can be seen from the front to the back door in a “trail of blood” (more in theory than in reality).

I figure the aim of a leader, manager supervisory type is to curtail the pain before it begins. Let’s take a look at some of the issues you might explore:

  • Is there an “Inner Sanctum”? – This is a group on the “inside” outsiders can not penetrate, even though your values and ideals purport to provide a “fair go” for all. The upshot might be great ideas are not getting past the barrier created by this,  your loss… Take a look and see if there is any, then plot to break it down.
  • How transparent is the organisation? – From providing financials showing the state of play in the org, through to clear systems aiming to support your team (rather than your team feeling unsure about a system and how it works). Making things more transparent shows you are willing to chat about things and let the team know they are a part of the “organism” you have created.
  • What communication does not take place? – Things not discussed are things missed which perhaps should have been chatted about. Ask what are the things the staff chat about… Now take a look at what’s not being said. e.g. if they talk a lot about their favourite team sport but not about the how well the manager is doing, then in the background they could be stabbing them in the back.
  • How are they chatting? – These days email, SMS and the like means the backchat can be happening but you don’t know about it. I know “no news is good news”, and “You never hear good things about yourself” while these are interesting clichés, they are not always true and do you want to live your life by clichés?. Oh and avoid trying to cut out texting at work and private emails, they will do it anyway after hours or at lunch on their smart-phones. The aim, to allow them to do it with the aim of it being constructive.
  • How are they anyway? – The people on the “outer” that is, one or two casual chats will be met with a degree of scepticism “what do they want?” rather than an open conversation where they tell all. Your aim is to have all of your team “Onside” so it’s up to you to build an open and trusting relationship so they can feel comfortable sharing with you in a way which means you will not “rat” on them or use it against them. Keep your chats light and breezy, show you care and remember details (names, places and the like as reference points) and chat about them not so much about you! (that’s a gem!)

In time you can build an organisation which can stand on it’s own feet, knowing the right people are supporting everyone to be their best. Not a team of “Cronies” who aim to create more “Jobs for the boys” and exclude information and ideas. It will take work, it will take a critical eye, it will take you out of your comfort zone, hopefully the end product will be great for all concerned.

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What are your people doing, working… or?

Everyone seems busy right… But things are not moving very well, the people are all busy? Should I put another staff member on…

These and a whole bunch of other questions could be bothering you if your business is a bit bigger than a few employees.

You think back to the early days of doing everything yourself, you worked 12 hour days and then some, finally getting some breathing space when you took on some staff. You trained them and you could see great progress but now things seem different. What’s happening?

Perhaps your people have found a comfortable place for themselves and are keeping themselves busy (it makes the day go faster…) and not overly concerned about the effectiveness of things.

You have a meeting with your key people “Blah, Blah Blah!!!” you go on about how the key guys should lead the team, how they should get up noses, rattle the cage so to speak, and for a short while you see some “scared rabbits” run about and things pick up and then fade, now they are all back to busy but not overly effective.

Your method of getting people to do things seemed great at the time, but knowing it failed after a few weeks was disappointing, you feel like you have to watch the team the WHOLE time, and that’s not what you want to do.

The answer…

Take a look, wander about, listen, observe start making mental notes. What’s working, what’s not… and what are they doing to look so busy yet be so ineffective!

Ask  yourself…

  • Are they doing “administrivia” and dragging it out to fill time.
  • Are they calling suppliers to get useless info for customers who probably won’t buy anyway, or only want a small quantity of a low priced item.
  • Chatting about ‘garbage’, or doing silly rubbish, which is personal, rather than getting to the tasks, which really need to happen.
  • Are your management team, managing too much and not leading enough? Are they not in a position to connect with staff due to too much paper work, or other garbage which is really just a waste of time.

Any of these can take the wind out of the sails of your business, but before you call one of those “rant and rave” meetings to put the wind up people (which will just buy you more enemies anyway). Consider a different approach.

(And yes here’s the answer/s…)

  • Check out if the team has great technology to support them and make the tasks easy to achieve.
  • Make sure your systems are easy to learn, follow and implement.
  • Use multitasking to keep them mentally stimulated and able to do various new tasks from time to time.
  • Chat to them about what works from their point of view, become a “one on one focus group leader” with each person and get REAL information, not the sort that filters up through the ranks and becomes watered down as a result.
  • Ask what keeps them coming to work, and not just money and holidays.
  • Coach your management team to do the same, train them to build rapport, not build ramshackle bridges to nowhere.

In all honesty if you set up a great business to begin with, you will probably find it can remain that way, but it may need some of your original passion for the business to shine through, so the results you want to achieve can be very tangible, you just need to have the right things happening in the right way… Now go out there and make YOUR business highly effective and get the people doing more of the right things in the right way. Then and ONLY THEN will you really profit from the business you started out with so passionately.

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Is your business happy?

Yes it’s a serious question, is your business happy, when you get there at the start of the day are you happy about being there? Are the staff happy too…

If not what’s missing?

– Great projects to work on.

– Great clients.

– Great workspace…

One way or another things may not be quite what you want to make the business a happy place to be. Insert a happiness officer and invite them to find out how things could be happier in the workplace.

Perhaps start with the list above and see if things evolve from there.

Take Action!

Get the happiness officer and perhaps a few others to figure out some ways to break the “sad” cycle.. and get happy.

  • Try a google search of ideas for a happy workplace, make a list of a few you can implement now (at low cost).
  • Ask how to make meetings fun, then have one just for the hell of it and see if you can get people to laugh (for all the RIGHT reasons…)
  • Have a fun morning tea (no need to get elaborate just yet just have fun).

Guidelines

  • Having fun at someones expense is only short term and useless, one’s pain is NOT another’s gain.
  • Keep it cheap and “cheerful”, quick and easy… Organisation should take the shortest time possible to keep it hassle free.
  • Try moving the job about so the whole team can be the happiness person.
  • Jokes sent via email is not really a bonding option, it’s more localised but funny quotes might be a different option, sparking debate perhaps.
  • Give out laughter awards, simple and easy a great way to keep the team engaged in the whole idea and boost morale!
  • Push for creative and innovative options, you might just find some great ways to lighten the mood at work and keep things pumped and effective.

That’s it for now, let us know what sorts of things you come up with in our comments…

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Women In Business…

Let’s talk for a moment about women in business and the ‘aura’ or’stigma’ that surrounds this concept.

Being a women in business, plus an owner of a business that targets women in business, I have found that age old impressions and attitudes still exist. I’ve found that the general thinking of many, (including some women), on the subject of business heirarchy tends to follow this outline:

Men in Business at the top of the pecking order

Women in Business coming in way under them

Mums in Business coming in after these.

Now, tell me, why can’t a mum in business shoot up to the top and sit right there with the Men in business?

How do we even evaluate that this is the correct ‘pecking order’?

Tell me some of your thoughts on women in business and why we always seem to be ‘different’….

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