I started at 7-Eleven as a team member at the Pakenham store in December 2016 where I mainly worked night shift. After nine months I applied for an assistant manager position in the district in October 2017. I ran the Pakenham store as an assistant manager for six months and was promoted to a corporate store manager when the Cranbourne Amstel store opened. After managing Cranbourne Amstel I recently have moved back to manage both the Pakenham and new Narre Warren store.
Store leader profile: Ganesh Natarajan
Inside Franchise Business
Working close to home in regional New South Wales and being able to balance his family responsibilities was important to Ganesh Natarajan.
After training in engineering and science, Natarajan spent time living in Singapore, and moved to Australia in October 2015, securing a job close to his home in Newcastle. In 2015, he joined 7-Eleven Australia and was already thinking about owning his own business in the future.
“It is very important for my wife and I to have work life balance. We have two daughters who are six and one, so we were thinking about a business that would let us juggle our family responsibilities and lifestyle to suit our family needs,” Ganesh said.
“When I was in Singapore I worked for one of my friends who had a 7-Eleven store. The brand really worked for me, my wife and I were interested in owning a business, and we wanted to work together.”
With the guidance of his retail business manager, Ganesh was able to build his skills and knowledge of the industry and the 7-Eleven Australia system as a corporate store manager.
“I got guidance and so much more from my retail business manager. She was my coach and was so much support, a real role model. She’s taught me how to manage a small team, how to get the most out of my team. She’s also taught me the standards that help my business to grow, it’s incredible.”
While the 7-Eleven system provides extensive training and support to all incoming franchisees, Ganesh said as a corporate store manager, he was able to get extensive experience with 7-Eleven’s standards and how to operate a store successfully before he become the franchisee of the Edgeworth store.
“My experience when managing the store, helped me learn the system. Before becoming a franchisee, I knew how it worked and what support I would get. I got the opportunity to prove myself in the network, my RBM taught me a lot in that year. I said to her, if there’s a chance to get a store, I’d like to be part of it,” he said.
Ganesh said that throughout his training and initial franchising steps, he was encouraged fully to reach his goals.
“Everyone was supportive of what I was doing. I could really look into growing the business because of the assistance I had. I’ve been able to retain my previous team from the store, and they work really well with me.”
Leadership of his team has been key to the success of the store and Natarajan said it was also important to be supportive of the team members’ individual circumstances.
“Leadership is critical. I give the team the example and show them how I want them to do things. I coach and support, to give them the idea. I let them see that they can show leadership too, by doing what’s best for the store and the company. We need to work as a team, everyone is the boss of their shift, so they need to take ownership of the store and lead. I encourage them to do their best, there’s no limits to the success they can have.”
“Many of my team are studying, so I am flexible to their needs, and they show me lots of support in return,” he said.
Creating a bit of healthy competition amongst the team and leading by example is also working well to build the business.
“We’re focusing on our co-buy, by helping each team member to upsell and provide our customers with value. Day part upselling is really important, you need the right offer to suit the time of day to give the customer great value. We keep it simple and easy for the team, encouraging them and coaching them with their results. I encourage them to keep going and try every time to increase sales. They feel achievement when they keep having successes, they share their news with each other and that encourages them to keep trying,” Natarajan said.
Natarajan also said that he has built great relationships with his local community and regular customers, which is also helping to grow the business.
“We’re growing well and meeting the targets we’ve set. Our standards and service are tracking really well. Our customers really love it, I know about 80 per cent of my customers, and nearly everyone is local. The area is continuing to grow with I think lots more to come, which is going to be fantastic for our store. 7-Eleven is the right opportunity for my family to help us achieve our goal of owning our own business.”