Monthly Archives

January 2018

Franchisee Involvement – Better Together

By | Franchise Coaching

franchise coaching and franchisee involvementThe most beautiful thing in business is creating something from nothing in my humble opinion. There is something incredible about that man or woman who stands in the middle of an empty room and creates a business. And what underpins the success of most strong franchise systems is the “something from nothing” aspect forged by the founders.

Founders with Visions

In 1965, Fred DeLuca set out to fulfill his dream of becoming a medical doctor. Searching for a way to help pay for his education, a family friend suggested he open a submarine sandwich shop.   With a loan of $1,000, the friend—Dr. Peter Buck the business was born – which later became Subway. Where most just see a part-time job, a way-station en-route to a dream, he saw an opportunity that led to the world’s largest submarine sandwich chain with more than 44,000 locations around the world. The company started with just 16 corporate locations throughout Connecticut. When they turned to franchising, they began a period of remarkable growth that made history.

When I worked at successful document destruction franchise, Shred-it it actually began as an MBA project by founder Greg Brophy.  It started growth in Canada, then expanded to Los Angeles then across the US and around the world through franchised and corporate locations. At his 40th birthday party, I remember saying to Greg, “how amazing that this all started with you driving the truck yourself, and now you have over 1,000 trucks around the world!” He laughed and said “now I am going to cry” with a smile. Shred-it, later sold to Stericycle and is still a leader in the industry.

Franchisees with Visions

In 1963, long-time Michigan A&W franchise owner Dale Mulder saw his repeat customers were always requesting slabs of bacon on top of their cheeseburgers and put it on his restaurant’s menu. This was the beginning of the bacon cheeseburgers a favorite among burger lovers worldwide!

Ronald McDonald, a symbol for children which is recognized second only to Santa Clause was an advertising initiative for a group of Washington DC McDonalds franchisees at the time.

Finding the Balance for Franchise Coaching

As a home office franchise coach, a big part of the job is a balancing act between the franchisor and the frachisees. Ultimately, the franchisor and the franchisee can act in a symbiotic relationship. One feeds into the other. At its best, this is better than a corporate situation, because innovations grow and thrive. At its worst, the process can be cumbersome and full of conflict.

As shown here, in an “ideal world”, franchisors bring the following to the table:

  • Specialists: whether it be in IT, marketing, training, food and more
  • Network effect: the uniqueness of a franchisor is that you get a “bird’s eye view” on what is working and what is not in various parts of the system – especially if they are taking advantage of the franchising’s most up-to-date performance tools. This network effect means that many is much stronger than one.

Franchisees, for their part, bring the following:

  • Local Conditions: They are the closest to their community and their cash register.
  • New Trends:  They may see trends emerging that may benefit the rest of the network. If you want to learn about what is new and exciting, talk to your franchisees in California!

Based on my experience in the 10 years in franchising, I understand the temptation to push away feedback in order to move a project forward. However, for the best projects, it is a balancing act, and if done correctly, it is one done with grace, originality and “awesomeness”.

In the next few posts, we are going top put these ideas into action.

First, we will look at franchisee surveys. Second, we will look at franchise committees run the right way. Join us on this exploration!

Franchise Coaching Needs Franchisee Self Assessments

About Stefania

Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.

Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.



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Celebrate Success As a High-Impact Franchise Coach

By | Franchise Coaching

How to be a high impact franchise coach

For the past few weeks, we have been exploring articles on what it means to coach franchisees. In the first article, we explored building franchisee relationships, and why it is so important. In the second article, we looked to a couple of tactics, including active listening and co-creation. Now we are turning our attention to two more tactics in franchise coaching: broadcasting excellence and practicing discernment.

Celebrate Success

One way to build relationships is to “shine the spotlight” on success in the field. This cements already strong relationships with franchisees and creates internal “icons” for others to follow. It also fosters belief in the system and camaraderie in the field among the regions. Here are some neat ways to broadcast excellence in any system.

  • Videos of early adopters
  • Feature franchisee best practices on webinars
  • Feature successful field visits on internal Facebook group or by a president’s Facebook profile
  • Do Facebook lives showing best practices and share it broadly
  • Annual awards at franchise convention

Celebrating excellence creates a culture of success in your organization, and your franchisees can learn that this is a way to get their ideas get heard.

Practicing Discernment

Donald’s Trump’s rise to Presidency and Brexit will be analyzed for years to come. Today, people are looking to break down structures of old. Even experts such as Doctors and Lawyers are not seen in the same light as before, and there is a certain streak of rebellion across all industries. However, there needs to be some wisdom here in terms of approach. Some pitfalls that can happen if you lack discernment include:

  • Swaying from one idea to the next
  • Listening to the herd
  • Following the competition too closely and becoming “me too”
  • Rushing implementations
  • Coaches getting combative with management

As discussed in the point about co-creation, there is a time to listen, but also a time to not listen. It is important to stay clear-headed about what is right for the company, its customers and team members and what is not. To do this, it is important to remember your company’s core values and mission, and determine whether or not the benefit of the new ideas will outweigh the cost from both a financial and a time perspective.

Conclusion

While relationships in franchising can be complicated at times, the rewards are great in business and in life. I look forward to continuing to chat about coaching in more blog articles to come!

How to Be a High Impact Franchisee Coach

About Stefania

Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.

Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.



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How to Build Franchise Coaching Relationships

By | Franchise Coaching

How to Be a High-Impact Franchise Coach

Franchise Coaching - How to Build Relationships

Last week, we took a look at Coaching and Franchisee Relationships, and why it is so important to create real connections with the franchisees whom we serve. This week, we are going to dig a little deeper so we can learn about a few key ways to create beautiful relationships in franchise coaching. Everything I recommend here I have lived myself – so this article contains no ivory tower or theorizing – just hands-on life experience.

Active Listening

Even at the best of times, it is very hard to be a good listener. In fact, studies show that we only remember between 25-50% of what we hear. In franchising, each owner brings their own strengths to the table because owning a franchise is typically a second career (or third, or fourth!)

In some cases, a franchisee may be a natural salesperson, whereas in others, they may be solid on the operations side. No matter what, listening actively is key to building a great relationship. As the quote from Maya Anjelou goes “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

It actually takes a lot of concentration to be deliberate in truly listening to what the other person is saying. Here are some tips:

  1. Give them your undivided attention. Put your phone away and if you are remote and you are taking notes, it is a good courtesy to let them know that that is what the typing sound is. Also – sometimes it is hard to resist imagining rebuttals while someone else is speaking – try to avoid that.
  2. Let them know that you are listening by using body language or words of encouragement.
  3. Provide feedback by reflecting what you have heard. Your goal is to understand what is said as much as possible, so clarifying is a good thing.
  4. Respond appropriately – be candid and open in your response, while asserting your opinions respectfully. Treat the other person the way you think he or she would like to be treated. Often, when you are really listening, the speaker may think that you are agreeing with them, so if you are disagreeing, be sensitive in your delivery.

Active listening, and seeking to understand first is the foundation of a great coaching relationship.

active listening checklist for coachesFranchisee Co-Creation

Co-creating projects with franchisees is the single best way to get buy-in on initiatives. Not only is it possible for you to roll out your projects more successfully, but when skillfully done, it will also help you build stronger and more effective initiatives. Here are three neat examples of co-creation in a franchise environment:

  1. For a franchisee microsite project, I created a special “committee” of franchisees who wanted to be involved. We met on a regular basis to see what sections would be most important and what content they would like as a default. The committee included key members of the Franchise Advisory Board, so if people disagreed with decisions, it was a “franchise built” idea.
  2. For a book written by the franchisor, we created a special voting platform for people to submit ideas, and up-vote and down-vote the ones submitted by their peers for the title. Then, we took the most popular 5 and created a Google Display campaign out of them, letting the CTR on the campaign determine the most successful result. Instead of it being a “top-heavy” home office initiative, it was grass-roots, with the analytics help decide the winner. For the cover art, we used Crowdspring to generate ideas, and got Franchise Advisory Council members to vote on them. Additionally, different franchisees from around the world wrote chapters for the book.
  3. When introducing Google AdWords for the first time, I got franchisees to brainstorm on text creative. We created some ads, ran them, then circled back showing which ones were successful. We were a tightly-knit organization, so we even had franchisees and managers place “friendly bets” such as snacks or drinks on which one will prove most successful in the campaign.

Active Listening and Co-Creation are just two ideas on how to enhance engagement. Next week, we will look at a couple of more interesting ideas to enhance your coaching impact.

How to Be a High Impact Franchisee Coach

About Stefania

Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.

Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.



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Coaching and Franchisee Relationships

By | Franchise Coaching

How to Be a High-Impact Franchise Coach

franchise coach

Some things in life will surprise you. While skills, dedication and a lot of “sweat equity” can get you promoted, the further you move up the hierarchy in business, the more Emotional Intelligence (EI) matters. This is true in all of business contexts, and is well documented in management literature, but in franchising, it is not possible to succeed without outstanding Emotional Intelligence skills.

Franchising is all about relationships, and success depends on the strength of them. With 10 years in the industry and 20 years in marketing as a whole, starting off in an entry-level Marketing role and growing into a Director I have taught digital marketing to hundreds of people from all walks of life. One of the most beautiful moments was when an older couple approached me in my office one day saying “thanks to the digital programs you taught us, we were able to afford the retirement that we wished for.” This was after their healthy and growing business was sold at a competitive price.

But, one thing that was a bit different in terms of approach, that in a Myers-Briggs test, I was a “T”, in terms of a “Thinker” instead of a “Feeler”, whereas most people in this industry are decidedly “Fs”. But, coming from a “Thinking” perspective and moving more towards the center has proven to be somewhat of a secret weapon and helps me distill it all into a formula. For me, the key is a combination of:

  • Active listening
  • Co-creation
  • Broadcasting excellence

Here I have weaved together a combination of research and in-the-field experience. For this first part of the series, we will take a look at the research that underpins everything else in terms of being a franchise coach.

Connectivity – the Research

Researchers across the business literature are recognizing the power of connectivity in any business relationship. In fact as stated in a recent article:

Researchers surveyed employees from 84 U.S. companies about the character of their CEOs, using compassion and forgiveness as key indicators. Comparing the company’s financial performance against the employee’s judgement of the CEOs character, the researchers found that CEOs with a strong character outperformed their poorly ranked peers by nearly 500%.

CEOs and ConnectivityEven though almost everyone recognizes that connection and engagement are important, boards and management in the corporate sector are not responding, leaving it a cold place.  In fact, Gallup estimates that actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity per year. Seasoned veterans of the franchising industry know that corporate disengagement is actually a driver for franchise business ownership. So there is a high cost to be paid by franchisors who ignore franchisee disengagement as well in terms of lost royalties and even exits.

A 2008 article published by Hay Group titled Emotional Intelligence: Leadership prescription for tough times, detailed four common behaviors of good EQ leaders. They found that, “…highly emotionally intelligent leaders tend to:

  • listen more than they talk
  • emphasize the how’s and why’s instead of simply telling people what to do
  • engage team members and recognize their contributions rather than continually criticizing their mistakes
  • understand what energizes and engages people on their teams and create environments that foster that energy.”

Consider a case study of Domino’s Pizza in India. According to Forbes, they went from teetering on the edge of bankruptcy to the second largest Domino’s market outside of the United states with a 70% marketshare in India and more than 55 million deliveries annually. A part of that success was taking a core focus on happiness of the workforce, led by CEO Ajay Kaul.

To measure happiness, Ajay instituted a monthly pulse survey called the “happiness score.” Basically, customers and employees’ happiness is measured monthly. Leaders consistently know if either group is happy, unhappy, or indifferent. They know what to do more of, less of, and what needs tweaking. This is the metric Ajay cares most about.

So – the research shows that the relationship side of business is hugely important. Now is the hard part, how do we put these ideas into practice?

In the next part of this series, we will discuss one of the most important skills that a high-impact coach can have:  listening skills. If you have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to comment!

How to Be a High Impact Franchisee Coach

About Stefania

Stefania is the Sr. Marketing Director at FranchiseBlast. She comes from 20 years in the Marketing world, 10 of them in progressively Sr. positions in Marketing – most recently as the Director of Marketing and IT Development at Tutor Doctor. During the course of her career she has worked with companies like Microsoft, 3M, Shred-it and the Intercontinental Hotel. While at Shred-it, Stefania was recognized by Google as operating a best practice in managing a franchise PPC campaign and her website at Tutor Doctor won an “Outstanding Achievement in Internet Advertising” award by the Web Marketing Association in 2016.

Stefania has taken part in several speaking engagements across North America about entrepreneurship, franchising, marketing and technology and has volunteered for numerous organizations helping children, artists and educational institutions; she is a volunteer with Futurepreneur as a mentor, and does a number of community initiatives. She was also the past Communications Chair of the Queen’s Alumni Association of Toronto. She holds an MBA from Queen’s University and a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. She lives in Vaughan, Ontario with her husband, Matthew and two children, AJ and Violet.



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