Are your skills franchise-friendly?

By Sarah Stowe | 28 Sep 2016 View comments

Your current skills might prove valuable as a franchisee. Image: chrislocurto.comCould you transfer your business acumen to a new franchise opportunity?

For brand new regional franchisee Kevin Neil, joining the Fastway Couriers’ family with extensive business experience made perfect sense.

Neil heads up the new Hume depot in Canberra, and has previously held CEO positions at Swimming Australia and Canberra Raiders, and was a long-time director of ACTEW Corporation. 

So what advice can he offer other new franchisees?

Top tips for new franchisees

What tips do you have for new franchisees who want to transfer their skills from other careers into a new business?

Transferrable skills such as customer service, people skills and financial management are essential, and therefore easily transferred.  They will give you an advantage when running your new business. 

Through the roles I’ve had in my career, I’ve always carried the philosophy of treating the money I was in charge of as if it were my own.  

This is good training to becoming an entrepreneur, because, when it’s your business, that’s exactly whose money it is – yours! 

You also need to invest (time and resources) wisely in order to grow your business effectively. Developing and regularly updating your strategic business plan is crucial.  As an employee relationships are very important but as a business owner this is elevated – you need to develop, build and grow your relationships with your colleagues, customers and friends.  You never stop learning in life or in work. 

What skills have you brought to the Fastway Couriers franchise?

I’m very much a people person and I always strive to treat people with respect, regardless of their role, and I expect that to be reciprocal.  

I feel that it’s important to have mutual respect for one another in the workplace, so that everyone’s standards can be maintained and goals are met.  This is a skill which I believe is as significant as any other when developing a business of your own.  

It’s important to consider people’s individual views and opinions, however using our people skills allow us to work together and effectively as a team. 

Once, at a meeting with all the NRL chief executives, I gave everyone two caps; his or her own club cap and also an NRL cap.  This was a visual reminder that we were there to make decisions as 16 equal shareholders in a business. 

Sometimes it’s helpful to remove your ‘club cap’, contemplate the bigger picture and respect others. This can be incredibly beneficial when implemented across all businesses, franchisors and franchisees.

As a business owner, it’s an integral part of the business to have strong people skills.  I’ve learnt that everyone is different and, as a result, can act differently in given situations.

Identifying ways of improving efficiency is also an essential skill.

It can be common for employees and business owners to hold a siloed view of a business or business department.   

In my opinion, this mindset reduces efficiency of the overall operation and reduces morale and company culture. With a more lateral view, sharing information and working together, the pie will grow more rapidly.

Have you acquired any new skills?

Yes, I learn new skills every day and I know that I’ll always be developing and learning, which is a skill in itself. Never forget that you’ll never know all you need.  

What skills are most useful when starting a new franchise business operation?

In any business or professional role, the most important thing is financial control, you need up-to-date financial reports which can support your decision making process.  This, I believe, is imperative. The other skills are very important but financial control underlines all the others.

How will you stay upskilled in your business?

I continue to learn by listening to other people, and by asking lots of questions in order to fully understand how and why something is done in a particular way.  Employing people who are bright and enthusiastic allow the team to manage up as well.