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Franchisor founders who stuck with their brand

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Inside Franchise Business: some franchise brands have passionate founders still heading up businessPassionate franchise founders don’t take the money and run. They stick around to keep developing their business so others can continue to benefit.

Here are seven brands where the founders are still playing an integral role in the business.

Appliance Tagging Services

  • Founders: Sarah and Ainslie Allen
  • Business established: 2002
  • First franchise outlet: 2006

Why did husband and wife Ainslie and Sarah Allen start their Tagging Services business? “To make money out of something we are really good at,” says Sarah.

“Workplace health-and-safety obligations are common across all businesses – we knew there was a huge opportunity for providing professional, national electrical safety services as a franchise network, with ongoing repeat business.

“Establishing a franchise business is a bit like having a baby: you watch it take its first steps, guide it through challenges, and celebrate successes. We are in the exciting teenage years at the moment. and it’s important as founders we continue to be involved with our strong vision for the future.    

“We understand the challenges our franchisees face as we have lived through these ourselves. We are continually challenging ourselves and our franchisees to embrace technology and deliver clients an outstanding experience at every touchpoint.”  

What are the challenges of being a founder/director as the business develops?

“When we were a small network, I had a personal relationship with each of our franchisees,” says Sarah. “It’s really challenging to develop and maintain those personal relationships with a growing number of franchisees and the increasing responsibilities of a larger network, but it’s something we are really trying to get back to.”      

Le Wrap

  • Founder/CEO: Hakan (Kaan) Celik
  • Business established: 2005
  • First franchise outlet: 2010
  • Milestone: Joined forces with kebab franchise Ali Baba in 2017.

Kaan Celik wanted to create fresh, healthy, made-to-order, take-away food that would not just appeal to everyone, but in particular attract people who are health conscious.

LeWrap was created with a goal to provide exceptional customer service and satisfaction, and this aim still stands – along with its commitment to provide a vehicle for any potential franchise who has the right attitude to customer service and the ambition to run their own small business backed by a trusted brand.

And Celik is still passionate about the concept, with a vision of growing the brand nationally, perhaps even internationally one day.

“I am by nature a hard task master who leads by example and expects the same from others. I know everything there is to know about my brand and have worked in every aspect of the business. I know the issues at ground level and can support the franchise network with my knowledge and experience in the industry.

“By merging with Ali Baba, I have found an organisation that will give us greater numbers, stronger skills and synergies.”

Nirvana Beauty Laser Clinics

  • Founders: Marc and Suzan Akil
  • Business established: 2002
  • First franchise outlet: 2015

“We had a vision to empower women to look and feel their best inside and out, and adopted the motto ‘Live Well, Look Good, Love Life’,” says Suzan Akil.

“We started off as a day spa, but a year later found there was a big demand for results-driven treatments in minimal time. We transitioned into a medi-spa focusing on delivering the latest beauty trends and treatments, and have grown to multiple locations.”  

The goal now is to become a national brand.

Meanwhile, the founders are still actively involved, providing ongoing support and training for franchisees and coming up with innovative ways to help them generate more revenue. They also keep on top of beauty trends and source salon technology internationally.

Do they find there are challenges in being a founder/director as the business develops?

“The biggest challenge is that there is a lot of competition, so staying relevant and current is the key to success in this industry,” says Akil. “We have been able to do this by treating each client as an individual and customising treatments to address their specific concerns.”

Oz Funland

  • Founders: Brian and Christerine Laul
  • Business established: 2008
  • First franchise outlet: July 2017

Oz Funland is a culmination of the Laul’s 35 years of award winning work and a childhood obsession with all things Oz.

The children’s party, education and entertainment business answers a need for more than passive play in today’s interactive world: “to create magical experiences for children filled with hope and happiness in a venue where minds can develop, imaginations run riot and a family could have fun together”.

Today the goal is to expand as a franchise, to offer a business model with five strong income streams to “people who share our passion for community involvement, love working with children and nurturing their creativity”.

As the business develops the challenges are ensuring the team stays true to the vision, is motivated to maximise customer potential, and creatively contributes to growth strategies.

Brian and Christerine love the business because it allows them to contribute to the local community and pursue their passion.

“The ability and joy in fostering human potential, embracing new trends and technologies to advance financial growth and empowering associates to creatively contribute to the business’ organic growth all help to build a healthy franchise network. We have mentored at various levels and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing another person flourish using our business and marketing systems,” says Brian.

Pack & Send

  • Founder/CEO: Michael Paul
  • Business established: 1993
  • First franchise outlet: 1994

Michael Paul needed to send an unpacked computer from Sydney to Melbourne, but could not find a business in Australia prepared to provide a combined packaging and courier service … so he established a retail model designed to make it convenient for businesses and consumers to have anything sent anywhere.

This mission has been constant since the company’s inception, but the business systems have changed and adapted significantly to meet changes in the market.

Paul is still involved in the company, with its board believing that founder-led enterprises generally have an advantage in terms of leadership around connections to the brand, customers and franchisees. It believes that a good CEO/founder and a watchful board will have a thoughtful succession plan in place to help the company thrive in both the short and long term.

For CEO founders, the challenge is to ensure the business has the necessary skills built in to match where it may be in its lifecycle. That means the CEO founder needs to be continuously learning and developing their own skills while ensuring the directors are technically aware and that the company has the right level of management talent.

Poolwerx

  • Founder/CEO: John O’Brien
  • Business established: 1992
  • First franchise outlet: 1992

John O’Brien went on a global sabbatical looking for a business niche in a high-growth, under-baked and disorganised industry that might be energised by franchising. He found what he was looking for minutes after arriving back in Australia.

In a cab from the airport, he found himself behind a mobile pool-servicing van with a telephone number on the rear window. In short order, he became a partner in the company, then fully acquired the business that became Poolwerx.

Its original aim was to put pool-servicing men in vans; the goal today is to provide own-business entry points for people at various stages of their lives and careers, ultimately manifesting in the model of a multi-store retail empire with a fleet of home-service units.

“I suppose my strength is having learned from countless idiotic mistakes. You learn to listen. One of the things is encouraging your people to ask about the way it works, and to pick up the gems,” says O’Brien.

“It’s tempting to think you have done all this stuff by yourself and that if you take ‘you’ out of any element of the equation it’s going to be a mess. I still also get involved in the bits, but that’s because it’s the bits that are fun. You can delegate lots of stuff but stay involved in the fun.”

Xpresso Delight

  • Founders: Stephen Spitz, Paul Crabtree
  • Business established: 2003
  • First franchise outlet: 2004

Originally the goal of Xpresso Delight was to set up a business model that would allow franchisees to achieve an income equal to a full-time paying job without having to work 40 hours a week at the coalface.

“We saw an opportunity to provide a cafe-quality coffee experience in the corporate market space; even if we could get only a tiny market share, it would be a substantial business,” says cofounder Stephen Spitz.

“We soon learned that most corporate coffee consumption was happening throughout the day, usually in offices with instant coffee or at best a dripolator. We simply took it to the next level both in taste and experience.”

Why are the founders still involved?

“Quite simply, our passion for providing a coffee concierge service directly into the marketplace is still there, plus we have still only just scratched the surface in terms of the business potential. My business partner is also spending more time in the US now leading our expansion plans over there.”

What are the challenges of being a founder/director as the business develops?

“Now our footprint has expanded outside Australia, we need to ensure our principal model remains intact and true to form, no matter where our clients are,” says Spitz.

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