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How to Build a Winning Team Expert tips on recruiting and retaining top-notch staff for your franchise.

By Jeff Cheatham

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Once you transition from emerging entrepreneur to the owner of your own franchise, you'll quickly discover what it means to have a staff of your own. While it's true that some franchise brands don't require any staffing, a majority of them do. So, how do you face the reality of managing a team of employees all on your own, especially if it's your first time being the boss? To start: through careful consideration and a newfound dedication in being responsible for more than just yourself. In The Franchise Bible, authored by Rick Grossmann and Michael J. Katz Esq., the authors dedicate the entire ninth chapter to this topic, the highlights of which are distilled below. So go out and purchase one of those "World's Best Boss" coffee mugs, and do everything in your power to live up to the new title.

Related: What It Takes to Be a Great Boss

Switching seats in the interview process

Your franchise operations manual will likely include important details on the staffing needs of your new business, including specific roles you'll need to fill. As with many aspects of franchising, stick to the script and follow the hiring advice of your brand representatives and the other franchisees in the system. Once the initial stage of recruiting begins, you'll be on the other side of the desk for job interviews. Set up a consistent process for these interviews and do your best to judge candidates fairly and accurately. Above all, look for prospective employees who carry themselves well and demonstrate enthusiasm about the opportunity and interest in the brand. Keep careful records of all job openings and candidates to stay in compliance with local, state and federal employment regulations.

Set up an organized filing system

Keeping accurate and current files on your employees is extremely important, as each individual should have their own employment record with your organization. As Grossmann and Katz explain, "robust recordkeeping should start early so you and employees have a clear reference point for any major HR decisions you make." Your franchise should also provide you with guidance for compensation, benefits, time-off and performance reviews – information that should apply to all full-time employees. If your business offers a benefits package, make sure all of your workers are aware of how to enroll and participate in these programs. Once you've got a crack team in place, you've officially established a payroll to meet. The subsequent withholding and tax-related paperwork is extremely important, and the authors suggest that hiring an outside payroll service may limit your headaches down the road.

Related: How to Build Successful and Enduring Organizations

Establish your company culture

One of the most gratifying perks of being a business owner is the opportunity to develop and nurture your own company culture. Not only is this a "have to" item, but it should rank fairly high on your "want to" list. If you've enjoyed a long career working for others, you've undoubtedly experienced a spectrum of company cultures – from enviable to toxic. Try to stay on the former track. What do most leaders get wrong about company culture? They underestimate the role of quality and consistent leadership. Your company culture should be unique to your operation, a reflection of the values, character and vision for your franchise. While the brand may dictate the type of culture you should strive for, its success will ultimately be measured by how well the culture supports the operating goals of the business itself.

Manage things, lead people

The leadership qualities you bring to the table will go a long way towards establishing your managerial style. Effective leadership requires dedication and hard work. Obviously, you don't want to be a tyrant, but you shouldn't be a pushover either. Above all, be fair and even-handed in how you treat, manage and maintain your workforce. Grossmann and Katz emphasize the importance of your leadership and management style, stating "it has been said that you manage things and lead people." The chapter closes with final advice for readers – leadership development and managerial styles are two qualities well worth exploring in further detail.

Rick Grossmann and Michael J. Katz Esq. are the authors of The Franchise Bible: How to Buy a Franchise or Franchise Your Own Business. Buy it now from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Related: 7 Ways to Become a Better Business Leader

Jeff Cheatham

Founder and CEO of Creative Content

Jeff Cheatham is the founder and CEO of Creative Content, a full-service copywriting and public relations firm. He's based in Dallas and works with multiple B2B clients and over a dozen franchise brands to develop proprietary content campaigns for lead generation and sales development programs.


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