Every franchise team we start is different, but in many ways the same. Our business model runs smoothly with a team of 6 – sort of like a 6 cylinder engine.
What makes it tricky is that we have to start each cylinder, one at a time.
Why? Starting the business (all 6 cylinders) at once normally would chew up too much seed capital – making this an impractical solution.
So what is the answer?
What are our 6 cylinders?
- Contract Administrator/Accounts
- Site Supervisor
- Junior Receptionist
How do we start the engine – one cylinder at a time?
Phase 1- Sales and Estimating
Usually the franchisee is coming into the business from a building background – thus they need to learn the sales role. Often not confident, builders can become surprisingly effective at marketing their homes.
Before they can give a price out, to make the sales possible – they learn enough of the sales estimating system to be confident in their prices.
Phase 2 – Contract Administration
Soon enough, the preliminary deposits start to accumulate. Soil tests and drawings are arriving, along with the first invoices for the work. All of a sudden a dedicated contracts administration/accounts person looks like a very good idea! This is often the first employee into the business.
Phase 3 – Site Supervisor
After a month or so with the certifier, the jobs start rolling off the end of the “council” process. The franchisee find themselves out of the office, proudly managing the first few products of their new venture! Suddenly they find themselves in demand – their marketing is starting to “kick-in” and the stream of customers makes it hard to get to the site. Finding a good site supervisor soon becomes a topic of conversation, and before you know it – the “right one” is out there building and improving the team of trades that will build the Stroud Homes!
Phase 4 – Sales Team
In spite of the new supervisor having taken a lot of work off the franchisee, the inquiry keeps coming – and even keeping up with the sales work becomes a challenge. It is time to start building a “sales team” – even if the team is just one good salesperson. It takes time to help a salesperson learn the product and develop momentum in the role, but when the time comes that the franchisee can step back a little – the business has truly reached a new level.
Phase 5 – Manager and Receptionist
We are now ready to start up the last 2 cylinders in the engine. The franchisee takes on the role which he/she set out to have when they joined the Stroud Homes team – Manager. A good manager will ensure that each one of the handpicked team members has everything they need to succeed in their role, and will monitor the performance of each part of the business. When someone tells you to “mind your own business” – take their advice, it is a great suggestion!
At this point the business is a hive of activity – a beautiful thing to see. The visitors to the office and steady stream of phone calls mean a great receptionist may be necessary. The receptionist can enhance what everyone else does, handling all sorts of tasks from making new customers feel welcome, to collecting messages while the franchisee is out. A good receptionist can make a big improvement towards a smooth running operation.
Obviously there are variations to this general storyline. Every office we start grows in a slightly different way.
The thing that is the same is the awkward phase – every office goes through it. Through phases 2,3 and 4 – there is too much work and not enough people. The best way to handle this stage is to get through it as quick as possible – don’t worry, you’ll live!
At Stroud Homes, our franchise team works hard to get the franchisees to Phase 5 as soon as possible. In our business model, we need production before we can expect any type of return from the business. After the full team is assembled, the focus shifts to fine tuning the team for maximum performance.
Can you see how this is like starting an engine. First a few splutters and coughs – as long as it makes some sort of noise we are satisfied at that point. Then as it warms up, we want to hear it smooth out and settle into an even rumble. Later we open the throttle to enjoy the pleasant and satisfying howl that is a 6 cylinder engine running at full RPM’s!