7 Traits That Make a Successful Franchise Owner

Being an entrepreneur holds the potential to provide boundless personal and financial rewards. Entrepreneurship is unique in its ability to equip business owners with financial security and dependability that’s difficult to find elsewhere. Unlike holding a traditional job, entrepreneurs possess an enduring asset that is entirely under their control.

This makes owning a business risky, difficult, and uncertain, at times. However, it’s also what makes it endlessly worthwhile. If it were easy, everyone would do it… But we’re not everyone.

The demographics of successful office cleaning franchise owners cover a wide range, but certain traits are usually found across the board. This is particularly true when we examine the details of Corvus entrepreneurs who have reached the point of success and commercial stability.

It’s important to note that not everyone possesses these important characteristics at the start, but they are able to effectively develop them through diligence, thoughtfulness, and tireless effort. In other words, the building blocks of becoming a successful Franchisee are not always innate, but they can be learned and developed by anyone willing to put in the effort.

Some of Corvus’s most prominent individuals generously offered their time and research skills to collect themes and specifics around what traits are, in fact, often found to be found in successful franchise owners, their attitudes, strategies, and approaches. Chad Weaver (Corvus of Louisville Executive Director), Kevin Fox (Corvus of Columbus Executive Director), and Matt Mong (Corvus of Charlotte Executive Director) have done the research and gathered the evidence for us, so all we have to do is follow the lead of their inspiring and successful Franchisees.

Here is what they found:

1. Successful Franchisees Commit to Improvement

This category can look a little bit different for everyone and it can be described in many different ways: coachability, a focus on learning, drive, ambition, and so on. However you choose to describe it, almost all Corvus Franchisees showed a commitment to learning from their mistakes, evaluating their own performance areas, and implementing plans to improve.

If we’re seeing these traits across so many individuals, they must be important. But why? Because in business, we are always going to face obstacles and setbacks. This is a normal part of every aspect of life, whether these issues surface as a result of potential errors or events that are entirely out of our control. What matters more is how we handle these difficult situations.
Successful business owners look at obstacles and setbacks as an opportunity to learn something. The best business owners operate in a constant state of both self-improvement and organizational improvement. They don’t give up or ask, “why me?” They may adjust their operating strategies, attempt to learn a new skill or tactic or seek the advice of a trusted colleague instead.

Successful franchise owners will look to glean insight as to how they can improve and move forward.

2. Successful Franchisees Welcome Feedback

As human beings, we naturally don’t enjoy being told that we’re underperforming. We enjoy being praised, being good at every task we attempt, and reveling in glory. Unfortunately, underperformance is something that we have to deal with, whether we like it or not. It’s a natural part of life, despite the hit to our ego or the uncomfortableness of receiving constructive criticism. The key is to fight every instinct we have that suggests that we should become defensive and unwilling to admit that we’re human and we make mistakes.

When it comes to evaluating outstanding cleaning franchise owners, it’s easy to see that they handle these uncomfortable situations a bit differently. Successful Franchisees don’t hide or get defensive, they seek out feedback and embrace it, whether it’s negative or positive. They are bold and consistent in asking those around them what they could do differently and how they could avoid negative situations in the future. In approaching the situation this way instead, they turn what may have been a frustrating moment into an opportunity for growth and future success.

3. Successful Franchisees are Optimistic, Pragmatic, and Resilient

Business owners who perform at the highest levels, earning high financial reward and personal satisfaction, typically show a few of the same critical personality traits. Successful Franchisees typically show a blend of pragmatic realism and enthusiastic optimism, despite any difficulties or setbacks. No individual, team, or organization can go through life without facing challenging times, but the best will understand that these moments will come, and they’ll accept them as they arise.

This pragmatic perspective has the somewhat ironic effect of creating a mindset that better equips entrepreneurs to deal with these inevitable pain points when they occur. The successful entrepreneur does not take failure as a broader indication of his or her own ability or flaws, but as a simple reality of running a business – a reality, as discussed above, that represents an opportunity to grow and flourish.

When it comes to winning business owners, that realistic perspective is almost always coupled with a healthy amount of optimism. Yes, an experienced Franchisee is clear-eyed about the hardships of running a business and the inevitability of difficulties, but they are almost uniformly enthusiastic about their ability to find personal development and commercial success anyway. They don’t allow themselves to be beaten down or discouraged, no matter how pronounced or severe the difficulties, and instead look forward, with optimism, to a bright future.

4. Successful Franchisees Have a Long-Term Vision

Of great importance to any entrepreneur’s success is their long-term vision, both for themselves and their businesses. A vision is a mental image of a desired future and it’s an important piece of the entrepreneurship puzzle. The vision encompasses a business’s “why”: the reason that the company exists and the important purpose that they serve. A franchise owner’s vision should align their personal goals with their business goals.

Vision is the foundation of a business and it determines the strategy, resource allocation, and culture of the company. It should be ambitious and clear; an ambiguous vision is incredibly difficult to fulfill. Defining your vision is a great first step, but there’s still a lot of legwork needed to implement, pursue, and ultimately realize your vision within the company. A successful Franchisee is a passionate leader, energetic about their vision, and ready to spread their vision across the organization to elicit passion and energy from their dedicated team.

Once a team “buys in” to their leader’s vision, the vision becomes an integral part of the company culture. A clear vision is not only the backbone of the company culture, but it also outlines the company’s path to success. Short-term and medium-term goals should always be set to align with the business’s long-term vision. These goals are stepping stones that push the organization in the right direction.

Pursuing a vision keeps the business and all individuals involved focused on long-term success. It helps to guide the decision-making process and keep everyone on the right path. When asked about the importance of vision to the success or failure of Franchisees, the Executive Director of Corvus’s Louisville office, Chad Weaver, states, “There is a clear advantage associated with franchise owners who have defined their vision right out of the gate. These entrepreneurs have a much better grasp of what will drive their long-term success and they are able to confront adversity in a way that pushes them closer to fulfilling their vision.”

5. Successful Franchisees are Organized

Any entrepreneur working toward fulfilling a vision or reaching a goal understands the importance of keeping themselves and their businesses organized. Being organized is more than keeping your workspace tidy and using a state-of-the-art filing system. A truly organized franchise owner is not only on top of all of their paperwork, scheduling, and other daily tasks, but they also have an organized and methodical approach to their business strategies and management philosophies.

Successful Franchisees create and implement systems to help them organize critical business functions, making it easier to stay organized day-to-day and for others when they’re out of the office. An important factor in the success of a franchise (or any business, for that matter) is thorough financial planning and preparation. Although the initial fee is clearly outlined to the entrepreneur at the start in a franchise system, first-time business owners often underestimate their ongoing variable operating expenses. Failure to organize and adhere to a strict operating budget can lead to the failure of a business; a slow start or an unforeseen event can quickly drain capital from the venture.

The best business owners always plan for the worst and they’re never caught off guard by a sticky financial situation. However, financial functions aren’t the only areas that require systems for organization and execution. Individual employee and team management is an area that is often overlooked when it comes to business organization. Elite Franchisees hire the best individuals they can find, regardless of their qualification for the job on paper.

Once they have the best team in place, successful franchise owners will put their people in the roles where they will excel the most. They’ll move teammates around if they have to and they’ll find the role that they fit the best. Good entrepreneurs know how to organize themselves; great entrepreneurs know how to organize others. This is a critical skill in building a business.

6. Successful Franchisees Communicate

Effective communication is key to any successful business, particularly in the unique franchise industry. Franchisees not only have to communicate effectively with their employees, customers, and suppliers, but they also have to keep in frequent contact with their franchisor. The best franchise owners understand the importance of both internal communications (teams and franchisors) and external ones (customers, vendors, and other key stakeholders). The success of any business is a team effort and great Franchisees recognize this.

Top-level communicators know the importance of engaged listening, extending the benefit of the doubt, one-on-one interaction, feedback loops, and constructive criticism at every level. Business leaders that excel at communication understand that it must be constant and consistent. They take advantage of multiple channels to deliver information to relevant parties and provide them with reminders reinforcing the information. Important details, announcements, and updates are provided on a consistent, recurring basis, enabling stakeholders to anticipate changes, be open to incoming information, and be better prepared to take action, as necessary.

Communication is a two-way street. Successful business owners recognize this and are willing to accept feedback and criticism just as well as when they give it to others. They’re not upset by criticism but rather recognize that it’s an incredibly valuable opportunity to improve themselves and their business. Most importantly, top-performing franchise owners aren’t afraid to ask for help when they could benefit from some extra support. The ability to understand your own limitations and weaknesses is a great strength in and of itself.

One of the most beautiful and beneficial things about the franchise system is that many others within the same system have been through the process already. Others who have experience, training, and skills in the industry are a valuable resource for Franchisees, as they can tap into this knowledge base when they’re struggling or in need of fresh input. Kevin Fox, Executive Director of Corvus of Columbus adds, “I can’t stress enough the importance of communication, especially in the cleaning industry. The best franchise owners in Columbus are extremely communicative; I trust that if an issue arises in an account, I will be able to reach out to the franchise owner, relay the issue, and they will not only take care of the problem for the customer, but also inform their team of the deficiency, follow up with the customer, and inform our operations team of the actions they’ve taken. These Franchisees make everyone’s lives easier.”

7. Successful Franchisees Work Hard

At the end of the day, there’s one aspect of running a franchise that’s more important than any other: hard work. No matter how clear your vision is, how well you communicate, or how skilled a team you develop, no business can survive and thrive without it. Being a business owner is challenging and growing a franchise is no exception. It’s not enough to do the bare minimum on a daily basis. The most successful Franchisees see each day as an opportunity to go above and beyond what’s expected of them.

Successful Franchisees aren’t content with just doing a good job; they’re not satisfied with anything less than perfection. This pursuit of perfection drives them to continue to work harder and never become complacent. An exceptional work ethic pays dividends in many different areas. A business owner who always puts forth 100% of the effort they have to offer is one who sets an example and organizational expectations for their employees to follow.

But employees and partners are not the only ones who notice a great work ethic. Consistent hard work goes a long way with customers, as well. It not only reflects well on the Franchisee, their business, and the system at large but it also builds trust and loyalty between the customer and the business owner. Human connections drive businesses and we would be lost without them.

Customers who see the dedication, hard work, and effective communication that goes on within a successful franchise are much less likely to leave it. When they know that everyone involved in the business, top to bottom, is working their absolute hardest, it creates the accurate perception of a company with a strong work ethic and solid integrity. These are important qualities for consumers.

Corvus of Charlotte’s Executive Director, Matt Mong, highlights how an exceptional work ethic can make all the difference for a franchise owner, “It [success] all comes down to how hard the individual is willing to work. A person with zero experience in the cleaning industry who gives 100% effort and goes above and beyond for their customers and teammates will outperform any industry veteran that doesn’t work hard 99 out of 100 times – and I’d pick the high-effort individual 100 out of 100 times.”

The Takeaway

We’ve learned a lot about the traits it takes to make a successful franchise owner, and we hope you have too. Owning a business, running a franchise, and being an entrepreneur are challenging but they’re also incredibly valuable, worthwhile, and fulfilling pursuits. The important thing to remember is that you have to be willing to put in the work.

Successful Franchisees possess an awareness of their abilities and they’re looking to refine and improve them whenever they can. An openness to feedback and the mindset that everything is an opportunity for growth and future success can open up entire worlds of possibilities for you and your business. Choose to never stop learning, think optimistically while remaining realistic, align your goals with your long-term vision, and keep communication open and constant.

These are the secrets to success from real-life franchise owners who have found their way. No matter where you’re starting, you can develop the skills you need to be successful, too. And remember, when you’re unsure, scared, or stuck, talk to someone who has been through this process before. When you choose to be a Franchisee with Corvus, you’re never alone.