Home' The Franchise Review : June 2016 Contents THE FRANCHISE REVIEW
The highlight for us at the FASTSIGNS® office was the Hall of
Quotes. They have a long, white wall in one of their hallways,
decorated with more than 100 quotes from all sorts of people.
When you walk along that hallway, you can't help but stop and
take some of it in. It is truly impressive in its simplicity.
An interesting thing about the culture is that FASTSIGNS®
is a brand owned by private equity firm Levine Leichtman
Capital Partners, yet it is able to maintain its strong culture. As
Catherine puts it, 'I set the vision, goals and standards, and
then work through my team to achieve them'.
What struck all of us on this trip was the wealth of information
that all of our hosts were happy to share with us, and how
graciously we were treated for the entire trip. The one thing
that we all know in franchising is how open and helpful the
franchising family is, and this extends to our US counterparts. If
you are thinking of doing one of the study tours that is arranged
through the FCA, contact Simon Heggen to find out more.
John Sanders, CEO, HydroKleen Global
I was simply amazed by the hospitality and the time we were
given to exchange information with each of the franchise
groups we visited.
They were all very candid with their answers to any questions
we put to them, and we were given time at the end of each
visit to ask pretty much any question we wanted to ask. All
questions were answered without hesitation in pretty much
Each franchise visit usually started with a comprehensive
presentation of the franchise business model, how it started, and
what they still wish to achieve within their group. This gave us a
vivid insight into how we were performing with our own franchises.
My one major take out from the whole study tour was this:
The United States has a population base of 330 million people,
a minimum wage structure that is half of that of Australia, and
generally a very positive attitude in relation to the creation of jobs
by encouraging people to go into business for themselves, without
creating too many barriers. In other words, if you are prepared to
work hard, somebody will be willing help you reach your goal.
On the other hand, in Australia we are working with a
population base that is one fourteenth the size of the United
States, with a land mass that is the same as the United States,
and regulatory red tape and lending criteria that generally
create many more hurdles than the average hardworking
person wants to bother with!
The US business sector simply cannot comprehend our high
wages (the highest in the world), our high rents, our lack of
population and our red tape.
The positive from all of this is that when you take those factors
into account, the more successful Australian franchisors and
franchisees are generally punching well above their weight
when compared to our US counterparts.
I think this is a real positive for successful Australian franchises
that are thinking of venturing offshore, knowing that they will be
sitting in the high achievers category before they even get there!
In saying this, the US market is extremely competitive, and
much due diligence needs to be carried out before you attempt
the move offshore -- it costs, and if you get it wrong it will hurt!
That said, all the franchise groups we visited were highly
successful, which was why they were chosen for the study
tour. You will only learn from those that are doing things better
than you are, and I certainly learned a huge amount from these
hardworking franchise groups, especially with regard to how
each of them has developed their unique culture, which they
were all passionate about -- that was my biggest gold nugget of
the study tour.
I would highly recommend attending the IFA Convention and
the FCA's United States Study Tour to anybody who might want
to expand their mind, and their business.
You meet a huge variety of businesspeople, from lots of
different countries and cultures, who are more than happy
to share their knowledge -- this is cheap learning, and I will
certainly be doing it again.
John Sanders, CEO, HydroKleen Australia with Giovanna Koning, CFO,
Falcon Holdings and Aslam Khan, CEO, Falcon Holdings. Mr Khan is a
franchisee with more than 300 Church's Chickens franchises.
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