Celebrating outstanding franchisees: these top performers have been recognised across the country in a series of regional awards culminating in a national awards ceremony.
Spotlight shines on winning franchisees.
TThe Franchise Council of Australia (FCA) holds an awards program that commends brilliant franchisees and puts regional winners in a line-up for the top slots at a gala awards night in October.
Mary Aldred, CEO of the FCA, is full of praise for the award-winning franchisees.
“With a lot of small businesses, the owners are so flat out running their business that they often don’t take the time to take a step back and actually look at the fantastic things they have achieved,” she says. “Hopefully it gives them a sense of confidence and endorsement.
“They are delivering fantastic outcomes for other people, employing people, giving them a shot at a job; the living embodiment and gold benchmark of franchising is on display.”
New South Wales/ Australian Capital Territory
“I like to excel at what I do.” Those are the words of Dan McKenzie, an award-winning franchisee with Kwik Kopy who took the opportunity to buy a struggling franchise business and turn it around.
And it’s paid off, with Dan scooping up the Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff in the Fastway Couriers FCA 2018 NSW/ACT Excellence in Franchising Awards.
“We got to take a franchise that was ranked number 100 out of 100 centres and within three years take it to the Kwik Kopy Franchise of the Year, and now to win this within four years with a fantastic team and wonderful support blows my mind actually,” Dan says.
Husband and wife team Jim Kelly and Crystal Petzer had more than a decade of experience as convenience store franchisees when they made the decision to change direction. This decision ultimately led them to where they have been franchisees for nine years, winning multiple awards within the franchise network along the way. Now they’ve scooped the regional multi-unit award.
The secrets to their success are simple: following the Hire A Hubby franchise system, understanding and making the most of their respective strengths and a passion for the brand.
“Together we’re a really good combo,” says Crystal. “Jim’s skills are that he’s amazing with the customers, they all love him, and he’s great at managing the staff side of things. I’m awesome at the marketing and business side. We find time to promote the brand and we’re passionate about the brand.
“The franchisor has a really good system and we follow that system to a tee. Maybe that’s our secret – we take that system and we work it,” she says.
Single Unit Franchisee (less than 2 staff) award winners Mel Flavell and
Grant Maloney both bring strong business backgrounds to their Frontline franchise, but according to Grant the support of the franchise system is still invaluable.
“I think when you have that entrepreneurial view of things, having that franchise structure and having that accessibility is just amazing,” he says. “We are very supported within our franchise system. Our franchisors are always there if we require them, and we have 39 agencies nationwide that we can reach out to as well.”
Manish Gupta came to Australia from India in 2010. With an extensive hotel and hospitality background, he was initially deemed overqualified for his first job at Hog’s, but after overcoming this early setback and getting his first job within the
network, he eventually bought his first Hog’s store in Mandurah in 2014.
Now he is the franchisee of Hog's Breath Cafe, Mandurah/ Eaton, Hog's Express, Mandurah, and Funky Mexican Cantina, Mandurah, and named the WA Multi-Unit Franchisee of the Year.
“My dream was to be a restaurant owner. Once I got into Hog’s I saw it’s a good company. They care about you as a franchisee. They want you to grow,” says Manish.
He cites hard work and determination, a supportive franchisor and his team of staff members as fundamental to his success.
“You are nothing without your staff. Look after your staff members and they will look after you,” he says. “At the same time, you have your values and goals set by the company. Without the support of Hog’s Australia, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.”
WA Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff, Kenneth Ting grew up in Malaysia helping out in a small family-owned bakery, before moving to Australia in 2005, where his passion for retail and hospitality continued to develop.
“I like going out and eating at restaurants and that sets my standards. How I feel I want to be treated is how I treat my customers,” says Kenneth.
“For us as a cafe it’s very important to have great teamwork and everyone buying into that goal. I put 100 per cent in and ask my team to join me and create that great vibe in the cafe,” he says.
Aaron Gunthorpe brought 20 years’ experience as a franchisee at Harvey Norman with him when he purchased the Pack & Send Midland franchise in 2016.
“The franchise model always makes the path and the progress very easy,” Aaron says. “You don’t need to change anything, you just follow how it needs to be and that’s where you get your result.”
Aaron scooped the WA Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, less than two staff award for 2018.
WA’s 2018 Franchise Woman of the Year, Emily Slevin of Aussie Pooch Mobile, started out as a franchisee but when the chance to become Western Australia’s regional master franchisee for the brand presented itself, it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
“I didn’t go into franchising with the ambition of becoming a master franchisee,” says Emily. “It was a progression of me finding something that I loved and being supported through it all. The personal growth that I’ve had through franchising has been huge.”
EFM Health Clubs Unley franchisee Kirri Clark picked up the award for South Australian Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, less than two staff with Battery World Morphett Vale franchisees Mark and Cindy Edwards receiving the South Australian Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, more than two staff award.
Kirri Clark says the supportive attitude at EFM Health Clubs helped her get started and make a success of her business. "I loved fitness and had been involved as a fitness professional for some time, but I knew nothing about business,” she admits.
"Starting up was daunting but thanks to the guys at EFM I had ready access to the support I needed, especially in many areas of business that I didn't know and that you don't really think about."
"The biggest thing for me with franchising is that it gives you the access you need to a supporting network with the franchisor's backing, and helps you get the runs on the board."
Battery World Morphett Vale franchisees Mark and Cindy Edwards bought a struggling store and within months turned it around and doubled the turnover. Mark says that the key to their success has been teamwork and sharing the workload.
Cindy says that after 20 years together they realised they did not want to work for anyone else and decided to put their heads together to run their own business. "The Battery World business has allowed us to work together in a strong franchise business that we are proud is being successful."
Evan Davis of RAMS Home Loans says being named FCA Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff was a "very humbling recognition of years of hard slog".
"The RAMS franchise has been a terrific opportunity as the network supports people from all walks of life and, in supporting me, has allowed me to support others around me in my business,” he says.
"Through the RAMS brand I've been able to open doors and help my staff create businesses within my business and I've been able to enjoy their success as well as my own.
“Client needs come first. If we look after our clients, everything else becomes comparatively easy."
After 12 years in banking and finance
Dan Blacklow was ready to move out of the corporate world. “Being asked to do 20 per cent more with 20 per cent less, every year, you just get enough of it,” he says.
So he bought his own Hire a Hubby business and this year he was named the Vic/ Tas FCA Multi-Unit Franchisee of the Year.
“I’ve renovated properties and been very hands on and the property market was very appealing. It’s something I’m passionate about.
“Once you’ve got the field selected, and research what’s available, you obviously can go out on your own but it’s a tough start, it’s a long period getting to where you need to go, and for me Hire A Hubby stood out from the crowd.”
Dan had found a senior corporate role on the road with a young son allowed almost no family time. So the investment was a lifestyle, as well as a career, choice.
“It’s much more satisfying, I have time to pick up my son from school, take him to swimming. I couldn’t be happier.”
Glen Cammiade’s passion for confidence-building in his clients has paid off. The Single Unit Franchisee of the Year, less than two staff, ran his own business before becoming a franchisee with EFM Health Clubs.
He believes it was the best thing he did.
“My biggest success is just growing a business. That’s why you get into franchising in the first place.
“It’s all about relationships, with your support staff, your franchisor, clients. Relationships carry you further.”
Multi-Unit Franchisee award winner Dione Mauric joined Finn Franchise Brokers as the network's second franchisee and a decade later remains passionate and positive about the sector and its ability to help families achieve their small business goals.
"We are very proud to receive this award for the second year," says Dione. "We believe that franchising provides a fantastic model for families to fulfill their dreams of having their own business. We're very honoured to receive the award but we're very, very proud to be able to help so many families change their lives on both the Sunshine Coast and in Northern Queensland.
"I think the key ingredients to be a successful franchisee are really being passionate about your brand, being passionate about what you're doing and really being involved in your business and leading it from the front," Dione says.
These qualities, along with a positive relationship with his franchisor, have also been key components of QLD/NT Franchisee of the Year, two or more staff, Russell Hampton's success.
Russell joined Hire A Hubby after a 24-year career in management at Woolworths. The decision to walk away from a well-paid corporate job was a tough one, but eased with the franchisor's guaranteed income.
And the risk has paid off, with Russell rapidly growing his Bayview business into the best performing Hire A Hubby franchise in the country.
"When I joined the franchise, Brendan Green, who is the CEO, actually flew up from Sydney to Brisbane, so I had the opportunity to meet him from day one. We worked on a plan from there," says Russell.
For Michelle Graham, who has been a Poolwerx franchisee for 15 years, it's the network's systems and structure as well as a culture of inclusiveness that have helped to achieve her business goals.
"Franchising gives you a structure that I don't think you would find in any normal business," says Michelle.
"And you're not on your own. We've been with Poolwerx for a long time, and along the way we've had them for guidance and systems support, which has been massive for running our own business and achieving our goals."
For Michelle, who is involved in two Poolwerx advisory councils as well as being a mentor for women within the Poolwerx network, the feedback and assistance process between franchisees and the franchisor is a two-way street.
"Poolwerx is an inclusive environment. We're in this as a team to get the best profitability for every franchise partner," says Michelle, named QLD/NT Franchise Woman of the Year.
Poolwerx franchisee Michelle Graham, centre
Grant Maloney and Mel Flavell
Mark and Cindy Edwards, Kirri Clark
Dan Blacklow, centre
Jim and Crystal Petzer