Franchisee turned franchisor shares his top tips after nearly 20 years in franchising

David Truby

While most people starting out in franchising can only dream of decades of success in business, David Truby, the franchisor and managing director of Greensleeves who originally joined the company as a franchisee, says he has overseen his network through its most successful year ever.

Truby, one of the first franchisees of Greensleeves who become a minority partner in the lawn care company in 2004, had run his East Riding territory for four years before transitioning into the head office role when the company founder retired.

Any franchise brand’s success is reliant on the success of their franchisees and having started as a franchisee, Truby found that by adopting a certain set of habits and following the right advice, you can make your franchise journey successful.

Having spent the last few weekends supporting his son who now operates his original Greensleeves territory, Truby said it was a great reminder of what he wished he had known when starting out. Here he shares his top five tips after nearly 20 years in franchising.

1. Keep things simple
Anyone can own a franchise, but not everyone can make it successful. However, a sure-fire way to give you the best chance of success in any business is always to keep things simple. Keeping it simple can mean anything from setting yourself and your team sensible goals, using established processes, developing a routine or simplifying how you communicate things.

People with easy-to-follow procedures can operate faster and with a better understanding of what they are doing, which in turn leads to higher productivity and shortens learning curves, accelerating the time to mastery. Once this occurs, a company is ready for explosive growth.

2. Follow the franchise system
When buying a franchise, it’s important to remember that franchise systems are set up the way they are for a reason … they work. Taking on a franchise means adopting another person’s proven business model. So, you don’t need to try and reinvent the wheel to be successful.

Having a proven system already in place eliminates the guesswork and errors a common business owner would typically face. So, use the system! Ensure that you understand the operations manual thoroughly and attend all the training offered by the franchisor so that you know the franchise system and all its components completely – by doing this it’s almost impossible for you to fail.

3. Be prepared to take advice and never be frightened to ask
Never be afraid to ask questions or take advice from your franchisor. It’s not uncommon for people to struggle to ask for help or take advice. This is because they don’t want to seem weak, needy or even be a burden on anyone. Some people even feel that taking advice and asking for help means they must surrender their control.

However, in franchising, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Any good franchisor allows a free flow of information, ideas and feedback. Why? Because a franchisor can only be successful when you’re successful. So, it really is in their best interests to help you solve any problems you may have. You won’t know everything straight away, so increase your chance of success by being open to help and ask questions.

4. Take advantage of franchisor support
A good franchisor will offer you training, ongoing support, and expert advice every step of the way of your franchise journey. So, in order to be successful, it’s best to take advantage of this support.

By utilising the operations manual, field consulting, marketing and other support offered by a franchisor, you’re already ahead of the curve compared to independent businesses just starting out. Also, take advantage of the ongoing training sessions and conferences on offer and watch company training videos if available.

It’s the franchisor’s job to ensure that each franchisee operates to system standards by providing them with all the tools to run their business model successfully. It’s your job to make it work.

5. Believe in yourself and push the boundaries
The number one thing that limits the potential of your business is your mindset, which is why it’s essential to back yourself and to keep pushing your boundaries to expand your comfort zones. As a business owner, aim high by actively setting and accomplishing new goals and objectives and never stop challenging yourself or striving for more.

An example from Greensleeves is when I stepped out of my head office environment and went back out on the lawns after 12 years. This allowed me to put myself in the position of our current franchisees and I was able to see things from their perspective again. While this got me out of my comfort zone, ultimately, it allowed us to improve the relationship between head office and franchisees, creating a more successful work environment.

And my final piece of advice … choose the right franchise for you
Making sure you chose a business you’re passionate about is the most important thing when selecting a franchise. For some, it may be challenging to decide between a company they are passionate about versus a business that has the potential to generate higher profits.

However, my advice is to value passion over profit every time. Why? Because if you don’t have any passion for your work, your new business will become the daily grind and no amount of money will make up for that sinking feeling of heading off to work you don’t love on a Monday morning.

There are so many great franchises to choose from in the UK, so if you take the time to find one you can be passionate about operating and follow these tips, you’re sure to make your franchise a success.