Home' Forge : Vol 2 No 2 Contents On the road with Blue Toro
Janelle Gonzales is the founder of Blue
Toro, a national franchise of mobile
mechanics. She explains that the ability
to systematise the business is the reason
it could be franchised.
'We were able to build a series of
processes to operate the business. For
any franchise, it's crucial that you can
document every part of your business
in a step-by-step process, and then be
able to document that in an operations
manual and put effective training and
measurement in place. Franchisees are
buying into a ready-made business, and
customers are buying into a consistent
experience,' says Gonzales.
'The other crucial element was building
systems that allowed us to systematise
our workfows. What works for a single
independent operator does not work for
a national franchise,' she warns.
Gonzales says that one reason that the
franchise is a success is because there
is suffcient market demand in enough
geographic regions to allow it to scale
across multiple markets.
'We believe we're in a growing,
recession-proof business, applicable
anywhere that there is a suffcient
number of cars. Australians are becoming
more time-poor and service-savvy, and
the number of cars is increasing year-on-
year. Most people rely on a car, and all
cars need to be serviced and repaired on
a regular basis. We also took into account
the relatively low competitor base
currently servicing the mobile market, as
well as the increasing market shift away
from dealership servicing.'
Gonzales says it's important that the
business model is sustainable. 'We
had to develop a model that ensured
that our franchisees were making a
strong income, that their expenses
were minimised, and that we could
fnancially support the business and
ensure that we were also able to make a
The other consideration, says Gonzales,
is how the business model stacks up
against an individual who wants to start a
business. 'Our franchisees want to know
that they are more likely to be fnancially
better off, and see a good return on their
investment by joining our franchise.'
When it came to systematising the
business, Gonzales says the focus was
on IT and processes. 'We had to look at
the areas of capability in our business,
scoping what systems were required,
and then sourcing and building
For example, Blue Toro could no longer
rely on advertising a mobile number. It
had to purchase a 1300 number, set up an
interactive voice response (IVR) system,
and be able to route those calls via
postcodes to the appropriate franchisee.
It then put in place an answering service
as an overfow for when the mechanics
could not take a call.
'The CRM and booking system were
our biggest system builds. Every job
had to be managed on a central system
so that all franchisees could share and
have visibility of customer records.
We then wanted to be able to invoice,
communicate to customers and run
marketing campaigns from that. This
required a large up-front investment and
sourcing the right people.'
Everything in the business had to
be mapped out into a process that
franchisees could follow. 'We wanted to
make sure that our customers have
a consistently good experience, and that
our franchisees were able to use our
systems and best represent our brand.
Every part of our business was mapped
out, documented and built into a
Gonzales advises potential franchisees
not to be too aggressive when recruiting
potential franchisees. 'A typical sales
funnel follows the 7/11 rule -- that is, a
prospect typically has seven touch points
with your business and invests 11 hours
researching prior to buying. Buying a
franchise is not only a huge investment
-- it's a complete lifestyle change.'
She says the recruitment strategy needs
to help prospects to slowly walk through
a process and spend time getting to
know the business before they invest.
But her top tip is to outsource as much
as you can. 'I thought I could manage
most of the business myself in the early
days, and that I couldn't afford help.
This has become a false economy and
did stall my growth.'
FEATURE // 53
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