Smartline Personal Mortgage Advisers has taken out the top spot in the 2012 Topfranchise Awards, with an industry expert offering his key tips on the secrets to the success of the top 10.
The awards were presented by Topfranchise.com.au, a consumer service powered by research house 10 Thousand Feet.
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Key criteria for the awards include the renewal rate of franchisees, recommendation, financial, lifestyle, passion, support and opportunities.
The top spot was taken out by Smartline, while Mister Minit took out second place. In third place was Anytime Fitness, followed by Snap-on Tools, Kwik Kopy, Snooze and Mrs Fields.
Rounding out the top 10 were Signwave, Gutter-Vac and Muzz Buzz.
Ian Krawitz, head of intelligence at 10 Thousand Feet, identifies three key tips from the top 10.
1. Cater to the economic climate
Krawitz says while it’s important to have a clearly defined offer, it’s also important to tweak that offer depending on economic conditions and consumer confidence.
“What will appeal to consumers in a way that works in economic conditions that are a bit mixed?” Krawitz says.
“One of our clients in retail has done a good job in understanding what’s important to their customers at this point… That’s been one of the trends that we’ve seen.”
2. Maintain franchisee support
According to Krawitz, one of the reasons Smartline has taken out the top spot is because the level of communication with franchisees is “just fantastic”.
“Mister Minit also continues to go from strength to strength because support levels are taken very seriously… They also make sure they put their stores in high-traffic locations,” he says.
Krawitz says it’s particularly important to maintain support and communication during a merger or acquisition.
“Mrs Fields dropped out of the top 10 [in 2011] after being a consistently high performer,” he says.
“When they reflected on it, they realised the impact of the acquisition of Cookie Man on existing franchisees – their support levels dropped off.”
“If you don’t have that [ongoing support], it will impact your franchisees.”
3. Promote work/life balance
In addition to ongoing support and communication, Krawitz says franchisors need to offer franchisees an attractive lifestyle.
“Anytime Fitness [is a good example]. In the last six months, they’ve gone from 100 clubs to 150 clubs, and satisfaction levels have gone up,” he says.
Anytime Fitness premises are open all hours. However, they are manned by security cameras afterhours rather than staff, which means franchisees can leave at a reasonable hour.
“I think the key here is having a really structured and planned approach to both your end customer, but also with your franchisees,” Krawitz says.
“People who don’t have that probably don’t do quite as well.”