Why it’s so important that franchise partners are the “right fit”
When I talk to potential Franchise Partners I have always, and continue to stress, that Nurse Next Door is a business that is just as much about passion as it is about profit. We are not “selling” franchise opportunities but rather, awarding opportunities to partners who are intrinsically aligned with our purpose, our culture and our brand. Partners who believe in Making Lives Better, in the strength of systems and processes, crafted over years of discussion, trial and implementation, yet who are entrepreneurial by nature, prepared to try something new when necessary, and to take risks.
As we head into the second month of this new ‘normal’ business environment, I am struck by the importance of these traits and the part they each play in ensuring the success of any business.
Operational excellence (a long-standing tenant of any successful franchise system) provides the foundation for growth. Right now, many small business owners are distracted as they navigate various government stimuli, negotiate rent with landlords or discuss mortgage and other financial relief options with their accountant. Day to day operations and possible future opportunities fall by the wayside as people seek the quickest, rather than the best, way forward.
It’s easy to take your eye off the actual operation of the business, even if it’s thriving in these unprecedented times. Although an essential service, this pandemic is not without its challenges for those of us in health and home care. Particularly in the first two weeks, with uncertainty around health and safety measures, there was some fear and concern from franchise partners, staff and clients which had the potential to create confusion about the best way forward, or indeed, anyway forward.
In a 2018 article in Smart Company, Janine Allis noted that “business owners are more likely to be successful when starting a franchise, compared to an independent business” but cautioned that the actions of the franchise partner are more a determinant of the success of a franchised business than those of the franchisor. At Nurse Next Door we talk about “one best way”. That’s not to say we get stuck doing things one way and only that way, but we work together as a system to ensure we’re all in agreement with the best way forward, for the system as a whole, at any given time. We’re working together to ensure the systems and processes not only work today but will help us come out the other side of this crisis stronger and ready for what lies ahead.
It has been this ability to come together, and more importantly to learn together, that I believe will define Nurse Next Door as being a business that will thrive, rather than just survive, in this current situation.
Fear, Risk and Entrepreneurship
Distractions and challenges aside, the underlying issue facing any business during a crisis is the rapid pace at which the environment changes. Ironically, for a business whose core purpose is to ensure people can stay at home, our biggest challenge continues to be ensuring the safety of clients, staff and franchise partners in the home! The need to think outside the box and pivot systems and services quickly to meet new and changing requirements for care at home is, and continues to be, critical to our ability to serve our communities as the pandemic unfolds.
Yet, in a crisis, fear can be the demise of even the best systems. It can hold us back from seeing the opportunities and stop us from being open and alert to what’s actually happening around us. Without entrepreneurial franchise partners even the strongest systems may struggle when overcome by fear.
Over the past weeks Nurse Next Door franchise partners from Australia, Canada and the USA have challenged each other to flip things around and look for the opportunities, and we will continue to do this, long after COVID-19 is behind us. As a network of small business owners, we’ve allocated time every day to discuss and debate possible solutions to each other’s individual problems, sharing answers to questions that some franchise partners may not even realise they needed to ask. Just like having a belief in the systems and processes that have been refined and honed over many years, finding franchise partners who are also aligned with our entrepreneurial spirit is an important part of the equation to building a strong and successful franchised brand.
Leaning In To The Brand
Above all, a franchise system is only strong when franchise partners are engaged in the brand for the right reasons.
Nurse Next Door’s “why” has always been, and continues to be, a belief that home is the best place to be for older people, and people living with disability. Regardless of any crisis, our core value proposition hasn’t, and won’t, change. In this interview with Nurse Next Door’s Vice President of Global Franchise Development Arif Abdulla Franchise Lawyer Charles Internicola talks about “knowing what your brand is all about” and that, from a brand perspective, whatever you’re doing right now with the brand should not be new. A business trying to tell a story right now, that doesn’t truly resonate with their core values, is pretty much drowning, (not waving). Navigating through any time of rapid change must be led by the core beliefs of the brand and each of our franchise partners has a responsibility to live up to our purpose.
It’s interesting to step back as a franchisor and reflect on what you want your franchise system to look like. The bottom line is that any franchise system is only as strong as its partners. The opportunity for franchise business owners right now is to lean into their brand, work together as a system and look to each other to stay focused on positioning their business for success post-COVID.
Never has the need to embrace “why we do what we do” been more important to each and everyone of our Franchise Partners. Now, more than ever, is the time for our core purpose of Making Lives Better to truly shine through.
With a core purpose of Making Lives Better®, Nurse Next Door Home Care Services, under the leadership of Melbourne based Master Franchisors Matt Fitton and Amber Biesse, provides in-home aged care and disability support services built on our philosophy of Happier Ageing® focusing on possibility rather than disability.