How Nanotek took eight years to find a NZ master franchisee

The founder of Nanotek has revealed what the company is looking for in a master franchisee, after admitting it took eight years to find the perfect candidate for the New Zealand market.


Founded in Australia in 2004, Nanotek is a car cleaning franchise that uses a spray-on liquid polymer nanotechnology, eliminating the need to use water.


Having launched in more than a dozen countries, including Russia, the Middle East and even Greece, Nanotek has made a move closer to home, finally launching in New Zealand.


Nanotek’s New Zealand operations officially began on June 1, with the service initially available in Auckland. However, Nanotek is now offering franchise territories throughout the country.


According to Nanotek founder Jim Cornish, it took eight years for Nanotek to find a master franchisee for the New Zealand market. That person is Richard Snow.


Snow has an extensive background in the automotive market, including nine years as the national sales manager for Bosch.


Cornish told StartupSmart New Zealand is a very different market to Australia, despite claims to the contrary, and therefore required a different approach.


“Kiwis look at Australia and say, ‘Don’t think we’re just like you’. Being Australian and being successful in Australia didn’t carry a lot of weight with New Zealanders,” he says.


Cornish says while many Australian companies venture to New Zealand, they don’t always do as well as they could. He became determined not to let this happen to Nanotek.


“It’s an incredible market for us but we needed someone incredibly New Zealand-focused. We had a number of applicants over the last eight years but none really stood out to us,” he says.


“We’re always looking for the right person for the right market… Richard has the combination of being a team player but the autonomy to oversee the New Zealand market.”


According to Cornish, only an “overwhelming minority” of prospective master franchisees get through the screening process. Cornish claims he can “literally count them on two hands”.


“When someone is sitting in front of you with a cheque, it can be very tempting [to say yes]… If it’s the right person, it’s more about that than the cheque,” he says.


“We look for someone that’s very coachable but at the same time has the initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. They have to be willing to be hands-on, especially in the beginning.”


“We don’t want anyone who’s trying to remote control it.”


“They must have an extensive background in their current market. They also need to have a level of sales experience and training experience.”


“They have to able to train the franchisee and coach them in sales… They’re the big [attributes] – they’re the ones you can’t really teach.”


Cornish says the average starting fee for a master franchisee is around $250,000, and the system is designed to generate return on investment within one to two years.


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