Battery World Surging Ahead
Australia’s specialist national battery retailer, Battery World, is embarking on a new era of rapid expansion. Unveiling a bold growth strategy, new general manager Rowan Hodge has kicked off something of a cultural revolution in the 18-year-old market leader centered on driving franchisee profit.
“Franchise profitability is the tide that lifts every boat,” Mr Hodge said. “It must be our number one decision rule. This will fuel our expansion from within, and attract the new human and financial capital critical to take the business to the next level.”
Drawing on prior experience with market leading franchisors, Domino’s and Quest, the GM’s mantra is clear, ”If you don’t work in a store, you work for those who do.”
Battery World fights for franchisee wealth creation by fortifying what makes the business special. That specialty stems from product knowledge.
“When customers have a battery related problem, they don’t need to be the experts,” he said, “We are the trusted problem solvers for everything from car batteries to mobile phones; caravans, marine; even golf buggies.”
With over 8,000 batteries and accessories for all the above and more: franchisees really do offer expert products and advice that are continually evolving.
Battery World has a new focus on Operations and Training to scale up product knowledge, particularly as new technologies introduce different challenges to their customers.
Starting as a retail offshoot for Australian car battery manufacturer, Century in 1997, Battery World has evolved its product and service offering to meet the changing needs of consumers. Today the chain of 83 stores nationwide, serves small customers and large for applications from hearing aid batteries to industrial stand-by power along with providing a competitive 24-7 roadside service – keeping Australians on the move.
“When something like your car or phone stops working, your whole world grinds to a halt,” Mr Hodge says, “Battery and device technology is increasingly specialised. Our customers tell us what they value above all else is for us to demystify things, help them work out exactly what they need, and what they don’t to let them get back on with their lives. This is not always reactive. All stores provide free regular battery health checks as a community service so you don’t have to wait until you’re caught out.”
In keeping with the company’s origins, early franchisees were drawn from the automotive industry but today the business attracts entrepreneurs from all walks of life, with a common desire to be their own boss, and a fascination with solving problems.
Battery World Franchisee’s are also making an impact in the community: crediting this involvement critical and key to the successful business model. Most franchisees will invest more than 1% of annual revenue into community sponsorship and engagement. From providing batteries to volunteer coastguard organisations, wheel chair batteries for those caring for the disabled to funding for singlet’s for sports as varied as soccer to baseball – the franchisees dig deep.
The Battery World growth strategy includes a target of scores of new territories across Australia by 2020.
“We have a strong USP, and record low interest rates,” Mr Hodge said. “We also have an unbelievable talent pool of existing and prospective franchisees. Add to all of this the affordability of a Battery World franchise, our relative resilience to macroeconomic and technology trends: and you can see why we believe this is our time for rapid growth.
“This expansion will be a lot of fun but to be sustainable we will always need to keep coming back to franchise profitability. The most exciting thing about franchising is when you help a franchisee grow their personal wealth; there are very few experiences in business that are quite as rewarding as that.”