Top tips on good franchising: Corina Vucic
Corina Vucic says she has a reputation for telling it as it is. It’s served her well, first as a franchisor at Clark Rubber and for the last 11 years as the director of her consultancy business FC Business Solutions.
In this podcast Corina chats about challenges, hard conversations, and what franchisors need to do to get franchising talked about for all the right reasons.
Corina’s small business family background and her experience with Autobarn and Clark Rubber have helped shape her understanding of business and its challenges.
As a young female executive in the franchising sector she knows all about addressing challenges, and has learned how to help shape her days to bring about positive results. But of course these are balanced by the more difficult days when problems mount up.
It’s a bad day when she’s not in the gym by 5am, and when clients have stresses in their lives and are facing the consequences of poor decisions.
“I’d prefer people would seek help before they make choices,” says Corina. “It would be a better outcome than having to go into reactive mode.
“A good day is when I have the opportunity to be proactive, to run strategy days where businesses are stopping to look at actually what they are doing, starting to question whether what they’ve been doing for the same period of time is the best foot forward and having no constraints around those conversations, it allows you to think clearly.
“It allows you to take people on a journey, and allows you to grow as a person because you’re participating, you’re helping drive that forward, and hopefully wrap it up the other end.”
Businesses need to do a pulse check
Turning a blind eye or applying a band aid to things that are not working is the wrong mindset, suggests Corina, and these are the times when people get caught out.
It’s important to structure your business, she advises.
Be disciplined to do proactive maintenance. Take your own pulse check on your business every year and assess the following:
- Products/services – are they relevant? Are you competitive? Do you understand your customer?
- People/culture – are you complying to awards, do you have tools to develop a great culture, are you following best practice to develop your people?
- Profitability – check your workflows, check your working capital, be proactive.
Having the hard conversations
What happens when a client’s business needs a good shake-up? Corina explains she has a clear cut approach to having the hard conversations.
“I’ve got a reputation for being black and white and as forthright as you’ll ever get. I don’t like to mince my words, I like to respect the individual, I like to respect their contribution but at the end of the day if something’s not right, and something’s not working, the conversation is pretty clear.
“It’s not OK, this is why it’s not OK, this is where it’s going to end up if it doesn’t get fixed. Here are a couple of solutions you might want to think about. And these solutions might not involve using my services, or the services of the next person, they might just involve you going off and getting yourself trained and educated on what the issue is, and then actually apply that fix to it.
“Leaders of people who want to improve and keep driving their business are the first great students because they want to improve, they want to attribute that to their teams. And as a leader or a business owner you can’t be any good to your team if you’re not staying ahead of the curves.”
The importance of communication and innovation
In the world of franchising, it’s crucial to have a strong cult and a strong brand connection, says Corina. She describes brand cult as the spirit of community. “There’s a common goal and a common DNA that makes a community tick.
“As a business owner, my reason to join you in the franchise journey is to be a part of your community, to use your systems, to utilise and be empowered by your innovation. And to then go on and create my own cult with my own team.”
Corina highlights the dangers of relying too heavily on technology as the sole tool of communication.
“Quite often I find that rawness of communicating with people, of communicating with people is starting to dilute.”
Franchisors need to learn to communicate with their network across many mediums, not just technology.
“People need to hear the information, see the information, visualise the information.”
It’s important to vary the channels and methods of communication to ensure information is getting across – most people need to receive a message several times before they fully take it on board, she says.
Franchising for the future
In this podcast Corina also shares her thoughts on what it takes to get franchising talked about for all the right reasons.
Franchisors can be so tied up with day to day business that investment, resources and time are not applied to keep the business innovating. They can also do more to communicate their great stories of success within their systems, she suggests.
Franchisors who have only taken on franchising half-heartedly now have the opportunity to decide if they want to decide if this is what they want to be in.
Find more Inside Franchise Business podcast interviews with franchise leaders here.