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Franchisees face obstacles opening up new operations
[April 22, 2008]

Franchisees face obstacles opening up new operations

(Daily Mail (London) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Apr. 20--Most franchisees face a steep learning curve during the first few months of running a new business. But not Barry Cool.

When he took over Kall Kwik's Brighton and Crawley printing franchise in March last year, he knew exactly what he was doing -- because he had been manager of the West Sussex operations for two years.

"The plan was always for me to run it for a while and then consider the buyout route," says Barry, 36, who lives near Worthing, West Sussex, and had previously managed outlets in Guildford and Woking in Surrey.

"From everyone's perspective it was very much a win-win situation," he says. "The previous owners knew and trusted me and it was a very smooth transition."

For franchisees with ambitions to run more than one territory, or those considering taking a back seat because they want to sell or retire from their business, finding a reliable manager can be a problem.

Barry says: "While you want someone you can trust, curiously it also needs to be someone who is not just going to accept the same thing day to day. You are looking for someone who fits in with the team and the clients and understands the running of the business but who also has the ability to learn and achieve."

Domino's Pizza franchisee Paul Ashurst invariably looks first to his staff when he needs a new manager.

"I've dabbled with recruiting externally, but you know your own crew and they know the job and the business," says Paul, 33, who lives in Chelmsford and runs eight outlets across Essex with 270 employees and 38 managers.

"The most difficult step for me was going from one outlet to two," he says. "With the first one I was completely hands-on, but you must learn you cannot be everywhere at once.

"You have to decide what things you need to get involved with. It's easy to spend hours dealing with something that someone else should have done."

It is also vital that franchisees are sure their business model can support a multi-unit approach before taking the plunge, says Chris Chidley, chief executive of West Yorkshire recruitment franchise Driver Hire, which operates 84 franchises. While his business has seen four managers step up to become franchisees in the past year, Chidley does not encourage anyone to run more than one area.

"We have had franchisees who have run successful single businesses, but struggled in multiple territories," he says.

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