*Preface: Me (Rune) and Anton started Fantastic Services in 2009 as a London-only cleaning business. Back then it was called Fantastic Cleaners. Here are our biggest mistakes (and what we have learned from them) in the last 11 years.

“With hindsight, I would never have done this”. Hindsight would be great to have before starting a business. The thing is that it only makes events seem more predictable than they seemed at the time they were occurring.

So, it happens. Every single human being makes mistakes. Every single company, too.

We also made mistakes.

There are articles advising people what mistakes to avoid when starting a business, or what are the most common mistakes when building a company from scratch. However, this article is not like them. Why? Because we believe that mistakes are awesome.

No, we are not insane. At least we like to think so.

We perceive mistakes as healthy because every small mistake is a stepping stone to success. It may sound like a cliche but in our defence – cliches are cliches for a reason.

As Mark Zuckerberg once said: “Don’t even bother avoiding making mistakes, because you’re going to make tonnes of mistakes and the important thing is to learn quickly from the mistakes you make and not giving up.”

We know that bad experiences give valuable lessons. They enable growth, progress and give us strength and confidence.

In this article, we decided to share with you our biggest mistakes and how we solved them. Not because those are the most common ones but because we believe that transparency is a core part of who we are as a company.

Mistake #1: Considering the theoretical training not important

When we started franchising Fantastic Services, we focused solely on training new partners hands-on.

We thought that practice is the key to success. And we still do think so. However, we figured out that practice takes time and it comes with the experience. Our franchisees cannot learn the ins and outs of providing a service simply by showing them the best way to do it.

So, before diving deeply into their job, they need to learn some fundamentals. That’s why….

The Fix: We created Fantastic Academy – the platform combining theory & 11 years of experience

We invested a lot of time and resources into building the ultimate online training platform for our franchisees. Fantastic Academy gathers all the necessary lessons on how to become a skilful professional and deliver excellent services but it also contains numerous lessons on how to grow a business.

Don’t get me wrong, we still provide them with on-site training. And our franchise guru – Aoife still conducts one-on-ones with each franchisee. However, we believe that the combination of theoretical and practical knowledge is vital and we found the balance of providing both.

Mistake #2: Having the wrong offering

Typically, franchise structures are hard to understand by someone who isn’t familiar with franchising. With the spread and evolution of the franchising in the last decades, you may come across numerous types of franchise formats.

The problem is that the majority of people didn’t understand what’s the difference between master franchisee, area developer, area representative, multi-unit franchise and sub-franchisor, etc.

We, as founders of one of the biggest franchise companies in the UK, decided to change that. It was very difficult to create a good offer when there’re no clear boundaries between these.

The Fix: We created our own franchising system

In order to make things simpler, we’ve built a franchise structure, suitable for our business needs with just three types of franchises. We’ve got Working, Area Development and Master franchise options.

Mistake #3: Placing innovation as an afterthought

We got so caught up in daily tasks that we forgot how important innovation is. The successful exploitation of fresh ideas is crucial to a business being able to improve its processes.

The main problem with the company back then was maintaining effective communication between franchisees, teams and customers.

The Fix: We invested millions in our custom-built CRM system and automated the whole working process

Our customer relationship management software, the so-called XRM, synchronises all internal systems to ensure seamless workflow. Its features include real-time access to availability, payment automation, call centre automation, video consulting and more.

Mistake #4: Pretending to be something we are not

We were afraid of failing. That’s why we used to selectively showcase our positive side, our victories and accomplishments. We thought that this way we have the best chance of getting the attention of customers, companies, and franchisees. We were wrong!

The Fix: We became open and transparent

The minute me and Anton saw where this was going, we figured out that we messed up, again.

That’s why we decided to be honest about what’s going on in the company with the whole world. No matter what happens, we believe that our values and principles are of utmost importance. Each individual who understands and appreciates our unique culture would be a great partner in future.

Mistake #5: Trying to carry two watermelons with one hand

In the beginning, shortly after we established Fantastic Services, I and Anton used to have a very small team of professionals who were doing the impossible. A single person was responsible for multiple operations. We felt like we could do this just by ourselves. We were wrong. Shortly after, we realised that in order to turn our company into the leader that is today, we have to surround ourselves with an arsenal of talented and creative people.

The Fix: We now have a team of over 500 in-house experts

We started looking for passionate franchise experts, marketing and SEO gurus, business and sales professionals or just young motivated people who are eager to learn. Step by step, our team started growing.

Today, we are proud of our huge team of more than 500 advisors, who are responsible for all business ideas, strategy and progress of Fantastic Services. So, our advice is to trust people a little bit more and you’ll find it more rewarding here and in general.


Embracing our mistakes

Yes, we’ve made a lot of mistakes but we built a global franchise company by fixing them. They tell the tale of how much we have learned. We will continue to make mistakes and that’s okay because they will be different ones and we’ll learn more lessons. Our company will become even better.

Sometimes you have to tell people the truth even when it makes you feel uncomfortable.

Sometimes, you need to fail in order to grow.

That, to us, is building a successful company.

  • Last update: September 10, 2020

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