Happy, profitable franchisees are a measure of success for this franchise operations manager

By Sarah Stowe | 30 Nov 2020 View comments

Happy, profitable franchisees are a measure success for Chris Longley, Appliance Tagging Services’ franchise operations manager. He sheds a light on his daily routine.

 

How do you start off your day?

My days start at around 6am, I will fire up the PC with a coffee and check emails, attending to anything urgent. I follow that with a walk, then scan through my daily outlook tasks and attend to them accordingly.

What’s a typical working day?

There is no such thing as a typical day! Every day is new with unique and rewarding challenges. With 53 franchisees, my interactions can be both reactive and solution based. There could be a technical issue, site issue, franchise renewal or sale, a franchisee wanting to employ a new technician, or providing additional training and advice on our heavily regulated industry. 

Our support office team are in Melbourne and have been all working from home since mid-March. 

The investment the business made two years ago in moving our entire business operations to the cloud has been invaluable. We simply could not have successfully transformed our entire operation to working remotely at such short notice with our legacy systems.

Calls and video conferencing to and from the support office can be made from anywhere using our current phone numbers.  

Our business systems and technology have allowed our whole network and support office to continue working as an essential services provider during this challenging year.  

Franchisees have commented that they would not know that we are all working from home and not the office which is a sign we are on the right track! 

What are the responsibilities of your role? 

I am in a newly created role that started in January 2020. As you can imagine I have spent more time at home than in the office with Covid-19 restrictions.  

Keeping franchisees up to date over the shutdown periods has involved Covid-Safe plans, Safe Work Method Statements, templates for the Permitted Worker Scheme for Melbourne, along with advice on restrictions and border closures. 

Ultimately my responsibilities are broadly franchise operations, from compliance to annual reviews, zone meetings, conference and franchise renewals, business planning, local area marketing, training, and new franchisee inductions. 

Recently I took on franchisee recruitment. Enquiries have remained steady through this year and increased in the past month. Fortunately, I have been working in corporate franchising for more than 15 years, so I have the skills and knowledge to handle most situations.

What do franchisees want from you?

Everything!  Support, solutions, fast turnaround, abolition of barriers that may prevent them from making money and possibly the most important, someone that listens to them and does not overpromise but delivers.

How often do you interact with other members of the support team and why?

Interaction with other team members is a daily occurrence. As we manage all invoicing, scheduling, technology, and compliance for our franchisees, it is a full team effort to keep our franchisees in the field, testing and tagging every day.

What are the biggest challenges in this job?

As with any franchisee facing role it is the negative franchisees who often provide the biggest challenges and absorb the most amount of time. It is always a feeling of great achievement when I can turn a franchisee around to follow the system and see the results. 

What do you enjoy most about this role?

Providing solutions and positive outcomes to challenging situations. Working through projects that provide constant improvement and profitability for our franchisees. It’s the culmination of small wins that keeps the smile on my face.

How do you measure success?

Happy profitable franchisees, and of course a happy franchisor.

What do you do to stay motivated on a daily basis?

To stay motivated I plan my days, weeks and months in advance so I know what tasks I need to complete to stay on top of the workload.  

While working from home I have been eating healthily and walking three times a day – this gives me time away from the screens to clear my head and refocus. If I am getting bogged down and unmotivated, I give one of our high performing franchisees a call and have a chat as I know the conversation will be positive and helps me reset. 

Often, they will tell me about a great idea they have been using to improve their business that I can share with the whole franchise network.

This article first appeared in Inside Franchise Business digital edition Nov/Jan 2021. To read other articles, download for free here.