Mike Racz is a multi-unit, multi-brand franchisee, based in the North East with a passion for building businesses and developing people. He’s helping people build brighter futures and bringing life back to areas that have sometimes been neglected by investment. Mike currently owns Domino’s, Costa Coffee and Anytime Fitness franchises across the North East.
Name: Mike Racz
Location: North East England
Franchise: Domino’s / Costa / Anytime Fitness
What is your business background?
I don’t have one. Everything I know, I learned from experience; I started from the bottom, selling stickers in school when I was 6, started my first business at 13 under my dad’s name, and later moved into Domino’s and worked my way up from being an in-store assistant to manager to area manager and finally opening my first store and becoming a franchisee, learning as much as I could on the way.
Why did you choose Domino’s, Costa Coffee and Anytime Fitness franchises to invest in?
I loved Domino’s since I started working there in 2004. I didn’t pick it because it was a safe option, I just love the brand. I spent quite a while looking for Costa and Anytime Fitness, I needed to find the right businesses to achieve my vision and accelerate growth. I didn’t always get it right, I had another two franchises that failed but I think it only counts as failure if you don’t learn anything from it. I took those lessons and I made my other companies stronger.
What’s the best thing about being a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee?
People. Finding talent is a very rewarding aspect of being a franchisee. I get to challenge people, give them opportunities and watch them grow. Most of my Head Office team started at the bottom. If someone has passion and ambition, I want to push that and get the best from them. No two days are the same within the Racz Group, everyone has the chance to develop, learn new skills and be who they want to be. A Barista at Costa could become a PT at Anytime Fitness if they wanted, there is always opportunity to try something new. Attitude is everything, you can’t build a successful company without enthusiastic team members and there is nothing better than finding someone who is a perfect fit.
How would you describe your role as a multi-unit/multi-brand, franchisee? What is your management style/method?
Strategic. Almost exclusively. I don’t involve myself in hiring and training etc., I have an excellent team whom I trust completely to take care of those things. I hold Marketing and Finance close to my heart, I focus on growing my profit level and my revenue, I like to know what the top and bottom lines are. Everything in-between is in safe hands with my Head Office team, Area Managers and Managers.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing from your franchisors?
I was an Area Manager when I opened my first franchise of Domino’s and I’d learned a lot on the job. I knew I wanted more, I wanted to progress, so I made sure to do my homework and educate myself on how to make a business thrive. Obviously, I’d been trained at an operational level but becoming a multi-unit, multi-brand Franchisee has largely been a self-taught venture. It’s been a hard journey but it’s definitely worth it.
What are some of the challenges you have faced being a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee, and how did you overcome them?
When you expand quickly, you have to learn to let go of things. It’s very easy to think I know better than everyone else and that I’m the best at everything, but it’s just because I care so much and it’s not true half the time anyway. Learning to delegate and completely hand over control of some things was a tough one. Now I have a solid team, each of whom are experts in their respective fields. I can trust them to take even the vaguest idea and make it happen, and I know they’ll do a great job.
When you own a business, you need to take a holistic view. Make sure you have purpose and vision, define it and work on it. I had to not let myself get bogged down, finding a way to make my vision a reality would have been impossible without the team I’ve built.
What are your long-term plans for your business and what are your goals for the future?
I want to provide opportunities, I want to change the lives of my team members and our customers. I want to give people the chance to be who they want to be and achieve their goals. Ultimately, I want Racz Group to be the largest company based in the North East of England by turnover and number of team members. If you want me to put a number on it, I’d say £300 million in sales is step 1.
What is the most invaluable piece of advice you could give someone looking to become a multi-unit/multi-brand franchisee?
Do not have an exit strategy. Every business guru will tell you to have one but it isn’t for me. You can’t build a visionary company by having the mindset that you’re only there to make money. You need purpose, passion, vision and values. You should focus on the company culture, build something meaningful. Enjoy what you do! You need to know where you want to go and what you want to achieve. It’s clich, but they’re right when they say you should never stop chasing your dreams.