In our first article by guest contributor Elizabeth Gillam – an award winning multi-unit franchisee, Elizabeth talks about her first year as a franchisee.

I wish I had known……… that 15 months after I had opened my store that I would hate Christmas carols.

You see I was exhibiting the three classic problems of a franchisee.  I was 15 months into my journey, my second Christmas, I had no time, little money and a clueless team.

Apart from being exhausted, I was missing all the Christmas catch-up’s with family and friends because I was always at the bloody shop.  This was making me resent my team, my customers and those smug carollers who waltzed by my store with regular monotony every 30 minutes or so with their cheery smiling faces singing Jingle Bells.  I clearly was not feeling their joy at the coming season.  Had I become the original Scrooge?

On top of this I wasn’t getting the time I needed in my office to process the pays or pay the accounts.  I didn’t have time to answer head office emails, implement marketing campaigns or prepare rosters.  But as I was always at the store I did have time to do the banking.  So how come I didn’t have enough money to pay the BAS, or pay the staff?  Where was all the money going?  Why was I always robbing Peter to pay Paul?  Why was it a constant money juggle?  And WHY was I in the office at 3am every morning after falling into bed each night totally exhausted yet waking up bright as a button at 3am.

But the absolute kicker was despite paying what I thought was an absolute fortune in wages, why did I always have to be at the store?  Why couldn’t my team just do what they were supposed to and why were they always ringing in sick?  Why couldn’t I have a day off?

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Well it was because I had not shown leadership in my business.  I was letting the business run me – not me run the business.

So whilst I had 24 hours off over Christmas day, so tired that I couldn’t really enjoy Christmas, I made an early New Years resolution.  This was NOT going to happen next year.  I had to get control back over my life.

So I made a decision to take control of my business.  Now this didn’t happen overnight I had to put a number of strategies in place but I had a goal of 12 months.  I was going to get to those Christmas parties next year.

So what I did was analyse my team.  Who did I have working for me, what were their skills and when were they really available?  I analysed my business.  I sat down and took the time to create a budget and a business plan to establish the key performance indicators (KPIs) that I would need to meet each day to achieve my profit goals for the year.  I then customised my team, so there was a regular roster of trained employees and I customised the procedures in store to match the goals and duties. I encouraged my team to meet the KPI’s and complete the store timetable with accuracy each day which kept them accountable. I call this process ACEing my business and doing this helped me smile at those Christmas carolers the following year.

Elizabeth GillamElizabeth Gillam founder and CEO of Franchisee Success creates High Performance Franchisees. Having owned and operated three franchised food businesses; Boost, Healthy Habits and Bucking Bull; she knows what it takes to operate a profitable food franchise.  In her book, Upsizing your Profits? – 6 steps to running a profitable food franchise she outlines how franchisees can ACE their franchised business unit.

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