Owning a franchise has plenty of a advantages.
Both owners and franchisees are in business for themselves, but they’re not alone. Franchising blends the best of independence and supportive partnerships to foster incredible gains for everyone involved.
However, the same independence that makes the franchise system an incredible business model can become a weakness if people start to feel disconnected, which can happen all too easily when the number of franchisees grows and locations begin to spread across distant regions.
Franchises are about building a brand that’s seamless and whole, but this isn’t possible if franchisees aren’t plugged in. When balancing expansion with making sure every player knows their part of the team, these five strategies will help your organization stay unified instead of splintered.
Start with the right franchisees
The most difficult part of running a franchise usually isn’t sales, but quality control—of people. Choosing the best candidates to launch locations is not only essential to your business’ long term success, but to your personal and professional sanity. Invest not only in franchisees you know and like, but those who are qualified to run the business. To make every franchisee feel like part of the team, they should have earned a place as a player.
If a franchisee is ready to write a check (or is your brother-in-law) but doesn’t know the basics and can’t keep up, it will be that much harder for them to stay relevant in the lineup.
Lots of time and financial investment goes into recruiting the ideal franchisee, but the overall cost of lower franchise revenues, smaller royalties and even a failed franchise that could lead to litigation is far higher. Though turning down a check may be painful, working with someone who can’t keep up or isn’t playing to win will be far worse.
Keep in touch
Don’t rely on conference calls, annual meetings and one-off retreats to keep people in the loop. Have executives from your team reach out to each franchisee once a week to touch base on specific issues or just ask how everything is going.
Even if they only leave a message, it will show the franchisee they’re part of the club. Electronic communication through email and texts is all well and good, but nothing can replace personal contact. Reaching out personally not only makes people realize they matter, it also provides more opportunities for franchisees to explore issues, discuss what’s working well and what isn’t, and voice ideas or concerns they may be too timid to share in a group.
Foster helpful connections
If people didn’t want to be part of the gang, they wouldn’t have signed up to run a franchise in the first place. You already have a network of business owners who want to be part of something, so the rest is about setting up the right circumstances so they can connect. A weekly conference call, retreats and quarterly or annual meetings that include team-building activities each help franchisees get to know each other. When business friendships are fostered, every franchisee is more engaged.
Bridging gaps between franchisees also benefits the business as a whole. A bad reputation with one unit damages the brand, but when franchisees share relationships, they can help one another and pass along information, past experiences and suggestions.
Empower regional developers
You want your franchise to grow, which means at some point you can’t be everything to everyone. That’s why it’s critical to trust regional developers who will not only recruit and grow the business, but emphasize creating communities among franchisees.
Regional developers should be another faction in the corporate team that checks on franchisees about once a week.
Invest in great staff at every level
From the CEO to the janitorial staff, every single person who has a hand in your business matters. If you have a fantastic executive team but an administrative assistant with a bad attitude, morale will sink faster than a ship full of pinholes.
Focus on finding the best fits for top tier staff, but also make sure everyone at the company wants to contribute to a culture of positive productivity. Franchisees will likely interact with everyone in your company on some level, so every person who works for the business should represent the brand, company culture and corporate values.
Take the time to hire the right people at every level; if your corporate band isn’t playing well together or there is a high turnover, that energy will be obvious from any distance. You can’t expect franchisees to feel like part of something great if your corporate office is out of whack. People start businesses to make money, but the most noteworthy companies are those that create something more impactful.
Whether you want to call it a team, a great culture or a family, the companies who win big are those that bring people together for a shared cause and purpose. If you’re only in it to make money, you risk forgetting about the people, and people are the true drivers of success.
Kyle Zagrodzky is president of OsteoStrong, the health and wellness system that boosts bone and muscle strength in less than 10 minutes a week using scientifically proven osteogenic loading concepts. OsteoStrong introduced a new era in modern fitness and aging prevention two years ago and has since helped more than 1,000’s of participants between ages eight and 92 improve strength, balance, endurance and bone density. This year, the brand signed commitments with nine regional developers to launch 500 new locations across America.
For more information visit: www.osteostrong.com