Finding passion for your franchise business

by Andrew Benefield| Managing Director | Mr Fields
Finding passion for your franchise business

Andrew Benefield| Managing Director | Mrs Fields

One of the common features of successful franchisees is their passion and enthusiasm towards their business, its products, and services. Passion is an enormous source of energy that drives people to accomplish whatever they set out to do. To become a successful franchisee, having a passion towards your business goals will help you achieve more and will provide the get-up-and-go to overcome any obstacles during franchise operations.

We caught up with Andrew Benefield, the managing director of Mrs Fields Cookies franchise who discussed the power and importance of passion, and being passionate about your franchise business. Andrew is also a business coach for other businesses and has plenty of experience when it comes to energising yourself and keeping motivation high while running a franchise business.

The importance of passion to run a successful franchise business

Passion and a positive outlook are important across all areas of franchising. When it comes to a franchise, passion is what will provide the emotional drive to a franchisee in heading towards their goal as well as providing a sense of purpose for everyone involved in the team. This is because a passionate franchisee is able to transmit their enthusiasm to their staff and it has a knock-on effect on to customers, who are then likely to return and become more loyal to the franchise business.

When we talk about passion, we emphasize to all future franchisees that it is important not only to be passionate about customer service. In my experience as a franchise business manager and as a business coach, the most passionate franchisees have belief and conviction in the product they are selling. This helps in providing a much higher level of customer service because the franchisee has a deep understanding of the products on offer.

Potential franchisees should always be mindful that when franchisors conduct qualitative interviews for potential franchisees, attitude and passion is often more valuable than skill sets and qualifications. Having passion is what will help you cross the line and get into a franchise. This is due to the fact that skills can be easily trained, while passion, although it can be cultivated, it is more of an innate feeling towards a product or service.

"Passion begins at the grass roots level in any business." 

Finding and maintaining your passion

What factors determine a franchisees level of passion? A recent franchising industry survey showed that Mrs Fields franchisees are among the most passionate about their franchise business.

In the case of the Mrs Fields franchise model, the high level of passion can be attributed to two critical factors.

Firstly, franchisees work in a positive environment where they are providing a 'treat' product to their customers. This provides a cheerful atmosphere for the employees to operate in and the rewards are often intrinsic - because job satisfaction comes from customer satisfaction. Secondly, passion is driven by its presence at all levels in the chain of command. For example, at the support office level, instead of corporate titles, we use food related titles (I am affectionately known as the 'Head Cookie') and place high importance in maintaining passion throughout the Mrs Fields franchise.

Passion begins at the grass roots level in any business. We pass on our passion towards great customer service and product integrity through our franchisee training program. Our experienced franchisees who facilitate the program share their insights into what it takes to become a passionate franchisee.

To keep the morale high within our franchisee network, it is also important to have little moments of celebration and acknowledgments of success. We pass on the passion through success stories of our high performing franchisees through quarterly newsletters which document the achievements of franchisees in the network. During franchisee meetings we have a system of providing recognition for employees who have met brilliant achievements, which may consist of a positive feedback letters from customers, or achieving a new monthly sales record.

Counteracting down moments

In many businesses there will be moments when things just aren't going your way. In these moments, the franchise support team should also be there when a franchisee may lose focus of their passion towards the product and service being offered, and encourage them by reminding them of the positive events happening elsewhere in the business and the great customer service or products that can be offered.

Aside from being the Managing Director of Mrs Fields, I also provide coaching for other small to medium enterprises. Hearing stories from other coaches, it is surprising how many ordinary non-franchised businesses fail due to lack of passion. Passion is a value that should be instilled in franchisees to reduce the chances of business underperformance. It is too risky attempting to run any franchise when you don't have your heart in what you're doing. Look for franchise business systems that provide franchises with continual support. Without support and guidance franchisees, naturally, lose sight of their passion for the franchises products and services. Their passion can be rekindled, fortunately, through appropriate mediation and motivation.

So when you are in the process of doing the due diligence, remember to ask yourself whether you can be passionate about your new role as a franchise business owner but also about the product or the service you would be selling. Buying a franchise business is a long term proposition and assessing your enthusiasm from the outset will make a difference to your job satisfaction and your life as well.

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