9 Times to be Very Flexible with Your Franchise
As a business owner, you know things can change at any moment. No matter how set in stone plans may have been, they are always subject to change. That’s not only a part of life, it’s a part of business. However, what really matters is how you react to these changes. Panicking and not knowing how to recover can leave you in a disastrous state, while preparing can mean that you’re up for any change, even before it happens. It can mean profits made rather than lost, it can mean eliminating stress even before it happens. As well as a better-running machine, no matter what type of company you might be managing.
Obviously, it’s far better to plan for the worst. That way you’re not caught off guard, should your nightmare scenario actually take place. But what are these “worst” instances? And how do you plan for them? Especially when you hope they never actually take place – that they’re just an idea off in the distance. One you never have to actually see come to fruition.
By staying flexible – in the areas of your business that are most likely to take a hit. Such as:
1. The Budget
Extra expenses are always catching us off guard. So why not be on guard the next time they pop up? Keep extra money on hand to combat these “surprises,” no matter what they might be. Whether building repairs, employee overtime, increases in rent with a decrease in sales – business will always ebb and flow, as will the bills. To avoid a budget crisis, keep extra funds on hand at all times. And when they aren’t spent, that’s just something to be all-the-more proud of. Always budget for more expenses than less, don't take the overly optimistic view on revenue growth or cost of goods sold. Be conservative, that way if prices do go up or revenues come in less than expected you are not "under water".
2. Employee Benefits
Not benefits in the form of insurance or retirement packages (if you’re large-scale enough to offer either) – in fact, those should be listed contractually. But when it comes to time off, shifts, unpaid vacations, or even the occasional raise – all of these factors should be extremely flexible. So long as an employee is reliable and fulfills their job, the rest are miniscule adjustments you can make to help keep them happy. And happy workers are more effective, there’s even stats to back that fact up!
When starting, closing early, getting inventory done – all of those dates are subject to change. That’s just a part of the franchise world. Take each of your “soft” calendar dates lightly, and always remember to write with pencil … trust us, it’s just easier that way.
4. Package Prices and Services
If a customer has been with you for years (or even if they haven’t and you want them to be), consider a custom mix of services. Or a discount price. Or throwing in their personal taxes with their business. Or martial arts training for the whole soccer team, not just the starting players. Whatever slight adjustments you can make to keep the customer happy, consider them done. Whether they ask, or if you just think it’s a change that will help seal their business for the long haul.
If you offer service or product guarantees, a hard calendar line can cause controversy. For those who fall outside, offer a discount or a different type of perk, rather than risking losing business altogether.
6. Employee Rules
Sure there are certain rules in place for a reason, but if a little bending helps reward a hard worker (even if it’s a one-time thing) why not make the exception? Consider it a bonus that didn’t cost a dime – a win-win for all sides of the company.
7. Hours of Operation
If you have a large client that needs their office cleaned after 9 pm and you close at 8, make the necessary plans to create an exception. You’ve just given willing employees extra hours and landed a huge client. Or, say you only offer bouncy houses during daylight hours, but there’s going to be an all-night neighborhood barbeque. Or there was a time change and the weather is especially nice, even though it’s darker, earlier. Changing the “rules” will create great PR, added business, and show customers you’re willing to go the extra mile to make them happy. Even if there is a “rule” against it.
8. Personal Preference
As the boss you get certain perks, but sometimes it’s just easier to go with the flow. If it’s something that will make the customer happy – dusting before you vacuum, for instance, just do it. It will appease paying consumers, and learning to not stress over the little things will help the day go more smoothly. SO MUCH smoother.
Do you plan big promotions? Perhaps an anniversary event? These types of days might sound fun in theory, but only if you’re open to change. Venues might re-book, entertainment can cancel last-minute, and you’re left with a slew of empty promises. Hosting back ups, and a good sense of humor, are the best way to go. Stick with them from day one and you’re sure to make any industry event one everyone is happy to attend.
By Bethaney Wallace | Aug 05, 2015 | General Franchise Information