How this Poolwerx manager helps franchisees maximise profits

By Sarah Stowe | 18 Jan 2019 View comments

Steve Halls helped his 22 Queensland franchise partners reach sales of more than $17m last year.

Named the 2018 national Field Manager of the Year by the FCA for his achievements as the Poolwerx Queensland business development manager, Halls was last year promoted to the franchise operations manager role.

Halls now assists Poolwerx BDMs across the country to maximise the profitability and satisfaction levels of their franchisees and acts as a conduit between senior leadership, corporate departments, BDMs and franchisees.

Here he shares what’s involved in a typical week…

Strategic review

At the start of each week, I review the past week – collating sales, operational and marketing data from each region and providing a report to the senior leadership team and the BDMs. A key objective of this process is to identify regional challenges.

The report is then discussed at the weekly BDM meeting; this is an opportunity for us to consider any support the BDMs may require in helping their franchisees. I also share relevant information from the senior leadership team and corporate departments.

Ultimately, our role in business development within the organisation is to assist franchisees exceed their sales targets and create a profitable business that helps them achieve their life and personal goals.

When I was a regional BDM my strategy for dealing with a struggling franchisee was to meet face-to-face to have an open and honest conversation about the challenges they were facing, whether it be financial, operational or staffing issues. A key part of my role is to ensure that our BDMs have the tools to effectively communicate and mentor their franchise partners, which is why I forward-plan training opportunities for the BDMs for the next quarter.

Communication to franchise partners

At the beginning of the week we send all franchise partners a bulletin featuring supply information, marketing initiatives, technical and retail tips and success stories.

I still have face-to-face and phone contact with franchisees. In these meetings, we discuss new retail opportunities, leases for premises and the review and renewal of franchising agreements. Business growth comes from both acquisitions and the expansion of a franchise partner’s retail portfolio and I play a key role in identifying potential retail acquisitions and greenfield opportunities, providing franchisees with executive summaries to enable them to make an informed decision about opportunities for growth.

I also find out how well they feel the field team is supporting them, and discuss their sales performance and business goals where relevant.

Corporate ↔ franchise partner conduit

As national franchise operations manager, it is my responsibility to manage the expectations of both the senior leadership team/corporate departments and the franchise partners and to ensure goals are aligned.

A typical week involves both formal and informal liaison with corporate departments and the senior leadership team. As a result, I now have a far greater insight into the broader business strategy of Poolwerx as a franchise whole, as well as the business initiatives of corporate departments.

On the flip side, through my work with our BDMs and my in-field contact with franchise partners I am able to report on how business decisions are impacting franchisees. A key goal here is streamlining our business processes.

Marketing and branding

Marketing has always been an important focus for me, as I understand the potential it has to grow franchisees’ businesses. As QLD BDM, I created a six month regional area marketing program. Now I meet weekly with the corporate marketing team and provide relevant information to our BDMs for distribution to, and discussion with, their franchisees.

I am now responsible for the five corporate retail stores that Poolwerx operates throughout Australia. I view these as our centres of excellence and spend considerable time ensuring they are operating to best practice standards.

B2B and international markets

I work with our field team to develop strong regional relationships with current and potential B2B customers, including real estate, resorts and caravan parks. While many of our franchise partners have existing contracts with local B2B clients, we also endeavour to develop state and regional relationships that will ultimately benefit our franchisees.

I still work as the BDM for our New Zealand operations, travelling regularly to NZ to mentor franchisees.

Each day is different as a BDM but no matter what we do, the focus is on helping reach Poolwerx’s number one organisational role, developing franchise partner profitability.