Who: Kevin Derella
What: Derella is senior vice president of Coverall, in Fort Lauderdale, a commercial cleaning service franchisor servicing the cleaning needs mostly of traditional offices, daycare and medical facilities and other small businesses.
Boca Raton-based support center. He hosts the company's annual convention featuring guest speakers, training and networking for vendors and franchisees.
The back story: Derella grew his career in franchising at a small business consulting firm where he would help entrepreneurial clients develop their franchise ideas.
The most important thing for franchisee investors to understand – and sometimes the most difficult – is the relationship between the franchisee and the franchisor, said Derella. "It's more of a partnership."
"People want to be in business for themselves, but not by themselves," Derella said. "Still, you have to relay information in a way that conveys this is their business."
The take away: To be a successful franchisor, corporate must blend accessibility and consistency with listening with responding, said Derella. Successful franchisors show their commitment through up-front training; and continuing education and communication,
Develop customer loyalty by allowing franchisees the tools to work with their clients as needed. In a weak economy, customers need to be heard, said Derella. When clients cut back on the frequency of services, tailor a service plan to fit their budget.
Franchisees don't want to be forgotten or ignored. Share the corporate news throughout the system. Provide feedback, responses and solutions. "Franchisees are sometimes surprised by the criticism they get from their customers," said Derella. "That can be difficult for franchisees who are looking to be their own boss, but are also now in the position of needing to please the customer too."
Be easily accessible online, by phone and in person. said Derella. Franchisees need information at their fingertips they can reference over and over. Provide administrative processes such as billing and collections to technical information like floor care and stain removal tips.
Cindy Kent can be reach at firstname.lastname@example.org or 954-356-4662. Follow her on Twitter.com @mindingyourbiz