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The habits of highly effective franchisees

Internationally respected leadership authority, Dr Steven R. Covey, said in his world-renowned book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that your character is a composite of your habits, which form a powerful factor in our lives.

Because habits are consistent, unconscious patterns, Covey said they result in our effectiveness or ineffectiveness. “A habit is the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire:

  • Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why.
  • Skill is the how to do.
  • Desire is the motivation, the want to do.

Creating a habit requires work in all three dimensions. By working on knowledge, skills and desire, we can break through to new levels of personal and interpersonal effectiveness as we break from old paradigms,” Covey explained.

These principles are particularly important for new franchisees because successful franchisees are known to follow similar work practices and develop common habits that help them in their quest for success.

Therefore, new and prospective franchisees entering the industry need to develop or adopt a set of astute habits to incorporate into their day-to-day work ethic, which will make it easier for them to avoid common mistakes.

These habits become the core skills that will ultimately encapsulate your success as a franchisee. Here are some useful habits to adopt:



Leadership is more than just being the boss. Stephen Covey’s definition of leadership is: “Communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.

As a leader you need to decide on a course of action or a direction to take and then stick to it. You cannot lose focus on the end-goal even if you need to adjust the course of the business to achieve it. It is also important to ensure that you have the right people to facilitate the process. Remember, the people you surround yourself with today, are not necessarily the people you need with you tomorrow.

Customer relationships

A close relationship with your customers is crucial to the success of your franchise business. The closer this relationship is, the greater your chances of success.

Goodwill is a not tangible and most people find it hard to quantify its value. Therefore, keep in mind that delivering unmatched customer service now, you may only result in positive effects years down the line.

Sometimes it is easier to look at customer service in reverse and extrapolate the damage that poor customer service will inflict on your business. In this regard, it would probably take 10 acts of good service to counteract the effects of one act of well-publicised bad service. At the same time10 acts of good service may only be equivalent to one act of excellent customer service. Excellent customer service is an investment in goodwill and will ensure your survival.

Share knowledge 

By imparting knowledge, you empower your staff, customers, the franchisor and even fellow franchisees. Sharing knowledge in this way also creates an important bond between employer and employee and validates each person’s position in the business. A crucial benefit you will derive from this is the knowledge you gain by teaching others. The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said “When I teach, I learn”.

Be goal-orientated

Successful business owners are goal orientated, they know what they want to achieve and how long it will take them to get there. Additionally, having clear goals for both yourself and your employees will help keep everyone motivated.

Steps for goal setting: 

  1. Define the goal. Start by writing down the goal. Make sure it is very specific so that you know exactly what you are trying to achieve.
  2. Set a deadline for achieving the goal. Use a specific date, like “by 30 November, 2014.”
  3. Develop an action plan. It is critical to developing a step-by-step action plan for every goal you set. Arrange the tasks and steps needed to accomplish this goal in logical order and assign a deadline to each of them.

Make excellence happen 


Highly effective and successful franchisees are those who understand the difference between being good and being excellent. Excellence means the ability to complete a task or offer a service to the ultimate degree. A highly successful franchisee goes all out and makes sure that everything is fully and excellently completed.


Improve one thing every day 

Begin each day by asking: “What can I do to cut costs today” or “what can I do differently?” You must focus on improving every individual aspect of your business in an overarching endeavour of achieving the common goal or strategy for the success of your business.

Ask for help

The ability to ask for help is another important quality which successful franchisees share. Surround yourself with a group of people who believe in you and will help you achieve your goals. This group can include friends, family, colleagues, fellow franchisees, as well as your attorney and accountant, among others.

Take action

As soon as you have your action plan in place, it is vital to get started on it as soon as possible. Get to action and make a start with any item on your action plan, no matter how small. This will move you just that little bit closer to your ultimate goal of success.

Be adaptable

Adaptability is another common habit shared by successful business owners. This quality is applicable to every sphere of business and will help you replace a product that is not profitable from your product range and move on to something more suitable. Conversely, it will help you embrace a new product or service when it is introduced to the franchise system and can provide quick and easy revenue.

To remain relevant, you need to constantly reposition yourself because change can bring with it tremendous opportunities.

Take risks

You have to take risks to reap rewards. However, sometimes these risks may not pay off and you will have to learn from your mistakes and move on without becoming discouraged.

Communication skills

The ability to communicate well with your staff and customers is a vital element of any successful franchisees business skills, but you also need to be able to network with fellow franchisees and the franchisor and his support staff.

Work the system

Although you essentially act as your own boss as a franchisee, you are still answerable to your franchisor and have to comply with the stipulations of the franchise agreement. For this reason, you are more likely to succeed in the business if the franchisor is on your side.

Play for the team

When you buy into a franchise system you become part of the franchise team. In essence this means you not only care about your own individual outlet’s performance, but also the success of the team. Strong team players will ensure the overall strength of the team. This will ultimately allow you to leverage the other franchisees in the system for knowledge, support, advice and expertise.

Remember the franchisor

The franchisor plays an important role in the success of your individual franchise, and you need to acknowledge it graciously. These benefits range from the development of the franchise concept, the reputation of the brand, support and training, to the benefit of the franchisor’s experience and knowledge.


Be motivated

When you are running a small business you need to not only motivate yourself, but your employees as well.

Time management

When you own a small business, time equals money and you, therefore, need to understand how to best utilise your own time and that of your employees.

Personal health

As a small business owner it is imperative to take care of your health as it can have serious implications for the business. You are now leading a business and need to be both mentally and physically well and able to carry out all your responsibilities.

Work extra hard

As a new franchisee, you will probably need to work longer hours than your colleagues and staff. It is important to get into the habit of working hard right from the start if you want your franchise to succeed. As the franchise owner, you’ll often be solely responsible for all aspects of the business from the mundane to the exciting. But the harder you work, the greater the rewards, both in terms of sales and personal satisfaction.

Live within your means

When you start out in your business it is important to draw the smallest salary you possibly can. Downscale your lifestyle and rather invest any profit back into the business. By doing this you will reap greater rewards down the line.

Take a break

To function optimally as a highly effective franchisee, it is vital that you periodically take some time off to rest and recuperate and recover your creative faculties.