Monthly Archives

March 2018

5 Tips for Better, Faster, Stronger Franchise Performance Reviews

By | Audits / Brand Consistency, Franchise Relationships

Franchise Performance Reviews in Franchise AuditsAre you working hard, or are you working smart when it comes to franchise performance reviews? The audit process continues to evolve for franchise coaches and technical tools are changing the game. We compiled 5 tips based on the announced performance review trends we are seeing out there. As more and more franchise systems embrace these practices, we are seeing the entire community propel its way into the future. Also, coaches get to spend more time on what they do best: face-to-face interactions.

1.     Collect information before-hand

It’s important for the efficiency of the audit process that you collect all information required before you arrive on site. This will ensure the audit is as quick, painless and effective as possible, as you’ll have ample time to review the material before arriving onsite. Taking a deeper dive initially means your audit will yield better results and be more useful to both you and the franchisee.

2.     Automate KPI Data Collection

The automation of KPI data is another essential tool for when conducting an audit. This should be done from source systems such as point of sale, suppliers, voice of customer, online reviews, and other sources. By automatically collecting this data, you can store it in a central repository scorecard for easy access. This will allow you to develop comprehensive benchmarks, which can be used to focus field visits, and accurate review suspected franchisee fraud.

3.     Review Past Visits

With this data easily accessible, you’ll be able to efficiently review past visits, and use the tools at your disposal to highlight repeat weaknesses in a specific franchisees business. You won’t have to dig through dozens of reports — now, this information will be easily available and help focus your field visits. Then, when you head into the field to review them in person, you can preemptively prepare reports and suggestions targetting the weaknesses you’ve identified.

Franchise Coaches and Combined Insights

4.    Use a Coach Knowledge-Base

Scrap the timer and just focus on multiple-choices instead. Have coaches leverage a knowledge-base of common solutions or corrective actions to perform when certain situations arrive. Because those solutions are developed in more detail and easily attached in the review, the quality of the help is higher, and the coach doesn’t waste as much time. Using the central repository reduces variability between auditors so franchisees benefit from the combined knowledge of the group rather than of just their individual coach. maybe use the term action plan in this description too w/ automated follow-ups to ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

5.    Eliminate and automate

As you take pictures during your visit, upload them right away to your platform, saving you the time and hassle of doing it back in your hotel at night. Try to avoid double-entry when sending a report to a franchisee — doubling this tedious work can really slow down the process. Additionally, by automating the report and corrective actions the franchisee must take, you can save yourself time, and enable the franchisee to react more quickly to the recommendations. Then, you can include a franchisee satisfaction survey, to compile feedback in a timely manner.

Enhance the franchise field audit process

Grow with Franchisee-Led Business Plans

By | Business Plans

grow with franchisee led business plans

Franchisees who set their own goals are more likely to succeed than those who simply follow the objectives set by the organization. Why? Veterans of the franchise community know that franchisees who set and commit to their own goals are more motivated than those that “hitch their wagon to the star of the franchisor.”

After reading a franchising expert discussing this in Franchising World a few years ago (it seems the edition is not now available, otherwise there would be a link), I thought of all of the most successful franchisees I knew over my 10 years in the space. While it was true that though many of them loved the brands, there was an even greater commitment to their own lives in terms of fulfillment and creating a better life for their families and loved-ones.

Power of Self-Selected Goals

Pioneering organizational psychologists draw a clear line between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation are those things that are on the outside, those “carrots” that managers are used to including pay raises, bonuses and benefits. While these have their place, they do not have the lasting effect of when motivation comes from the inside, or “intrinsic motivation.”

Intrinsic motivation, according to Ivey Business Journal’s Keith Thomas is absolutely needed in a world where people, now more than ever in franchising, are self-managed. An intrinsic reward has the following components:

  1. A sense of meaningfulness – it gives franchisees an opportunity to accomplish something of real value.
  2. A sense of choice – the franchisee feels like they have some choice in which way they approach their goal and the way in which they are measured.
  3. A sense of competence – they feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in terms of how well they are accomplishing their goals. The franchisor can then be a partner in helping achieve that goal.
  4. A sense of progress – they feel like their efforts are really accomplishing something and they can see that progress.

Tips on Goal Setting

  1. Make sure the franchisee is setting both business and personal goals. According to Street Smart Franchising, there is no franchisor who will have a goal counting how many nights a week a franchisee is home for dinner with her family. However, an innovating coach can help a franchisee attain both their financial and personal goals satisfying the franchisee and the organization.
  2. Franchising is full of “making mountains out of molehills”. If you are coaching with purpose, when someone is focusing too much on the nitty gritty rather than the big picture, you can bring them back to what is most important.
  3. A way to create a positive difference and loyalty for franchisees is to provide meaningful building blocks for their intrinsic rewards. Every single goal has it’s own path, and helping remove obstacles or stabilize a foundation for your franchisee will go a long way.

Franchise-led business plans is the foundation for sustained growth and create an exciting and vibrant culture for your franchisees. They also lead to more franchisee satisfaction, since they are seeing their own desires become reality. As a coach, it can also be great for your own fulfillment as you help your franchisees and their families on the road to their dreams.

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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Franchise Coaching for 5 Generations

By | Franchise Relationships

Franchise Coaching Among 5 Generations in the WorkplaceI’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something different. When it comes to franchise coaching, different generations tend to have different strengths, communication styles and ways of receiving messages. In this blog, I will go through coaching tips from the youngest, in the iGen generation through the Millennials, Xennials and Gen X, through to the Boomers.


Years: 1995-2012
Ages: 6-23

The iGen generation is the youngest of franchise owners, and you will typically find them in family businesses, or in franchise systems that cater to young people (summer painting for example). This generation, who saw the millennials graduate to few jobs are more cautious and crave stability. They see work as constantly evolving. They are also highly collaborative, and see technology as a tool. As a result, these folks like to have a more direct relationship with their coach. I have worked with iGen franchisees where we would text each other and I became a kind of “on call” coach rather than scheduling lengthy meetings. Being available in short bursts at all hours helps this generation, who prefer to think for themselves over an authority figures, get what they need to succeed.


Years: 1980-1994
Ages: 24-38

Known as the “Me” generation, the millennials were raised to believe they were “special”, but were welcomed into a world which had few “good” jobs along with high housing and educational costs. Millennials have an aspiration for freedom and flexibility and see work as a means to an end. To motivate Millennials, it is best to connect with the meaning behind what you are saying. More than the other generations, the Millennials are seeking purpose, and connecting that to the coaching goals is key. “Shining the spotlight” and celebrating the successes of Millennials in terms of awards and announcements can go a long way based on my experience. Having a leaderboard can also motivate Millennials.


Years: 1977-1985
Ages: 32-40

The Xennials are a “micro-generation” who are a bridge between the cynicism of Generation X and the optimism of the Millennials. The category was invented because people born in this group relate neither to the Millennials nor Generation X and wanted to have a clearer identity. Xennials are a pleasure to work with since they are entrepreneurial, highly resourceful and care about purpose. When you work with them, you want to communicate the “why” behind everything. If you are patient and understanding with that, you will see extraordinary results.

Generation X

Ages: 39-53

The most resourceful generation and also the most cynical, Generation X grew up and went to school with limited internet, but quickly adjusted. This generation sees their career as a difficult challenge and crave work-life balance and flexibility. When coaching someone from Generation X, you want to level with them and be “real”. When coaching a Generation X franchisee, one phrase I have used is, “we are both on the same team, because we both want the brand to do well. That’s just the way it is.” Being down-to-earth like this helps Gen Xers feel comfortable and at ease. They tend to be loyal to a profession, not a brand, so that is good to remember.


Years: 1946-1964
Ages: 54-72

Being the wealthiest generation that history has ever seen, the boomers bought 2/3 of new cars sold in the US in 2011 and earn more than double the income of their parents. Boomers are loyal, hardworking and enjoy mentoring. They prefer training in-person rather than online, and they prefer more formal, scheduled meetings, which can be lengthy. Sales contests with enticing prizes such as luxury holidays can be motivating for boomers, who are used to corporate environments. When coaching Boomers, it is good to take a professional approach, even quoting experts when needed.

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Franchisee Involvement for Franchisee Engagement

By | Franchise Relationships

Franchisee Engagement FranchiseBlastIn the first article of our series “Battle-Tested Strategies”, we are going to take a look at franchisee involvement for franchisee engagement. We are focusing in on “battle-tested” since we want to make sure that we are discussing what really matters. Instead of talking theory or ideas, we want to highlight what happens in the field, when you roll up your sleeves and do the work.

There is strong evidence in favor of involving many different stakeholders in decisions but sometimes it is tough to put into practice.

Franchisee Involvement: The Evidence

According to the Center for Human Resources Effectiveness in Berkeley, California, there are several reasons why including others in decision makers work which extend naturally to the franchise model. I am putting a list of the most relevant ones below:

  • Participation may result in better decisions. Workers often have information that higher management lacks. Furthermore, participation permits a variety of different views to be aired.
  • People are more likely to implement decisions they have made themselves.(2) They know better what is expected of them, and helping make a decision commits one to it.(3) Participation may lower the disutility of effort, by providing intrinsic motivation.
  • Participation enhances people’s sense of power and dignity, thus reducing the need to show power through fighting management and restricting production.

Although most of the research is conducted in corporate environments, this can easily be extended to franchising.

Franchisee Engagement: The Challenge

Stefania Sigurdson Forbes at Shred-it Office

In the mid-2000s, Shred-it, a document destruction franchise system with over 150 units and 1,000 trucks in North America, the UK and Europe,  was at a crossroads. They had a Flash-based website which was getting few leads. The site, though attractive,  had issues with both SEO and usability and was a source of frustration for the franchisees. As one American franchisee said:

“This website deserves to be in a history museum for websites it is so old!”

It is one of those statements that is hard to forget… these many years later. As a result, we knew that we had to make changes. But, instead of fighting or refuting the franchisees, we decided to bring them into the fold.

Another challenge, was one of those unspoken ones, yet very real. I was a younger Marketing professional at the time in my 20s where the franchisees were mostly 50+. While there wasn’t really ageism going on perse, I was aware that I was the same age as many of their children, and I had to use the power of persuasion to get them to listen. I had to “lead from behind” to quote Nelson Mandela. According to Harvard Business Review:

Leaders can encourage breakthrough ideas not by cultivating followers who can execute but building communities that can innovate.

All of this set the right conditions to innovate together.

Meeting with Franchisees

A series of structured meetings was required to get the project going:

  1. We involved a group of vocal franchisees to be part of a special committee. We selected franchisees who were both vocal and constructive so we could focus in on the shared goal of having a great site, rather than the meetings devolving into “gripe sessions”. All meetings had a goal, an agenda and notes were set out afterwards.
  2. The first meeting was about brainstorming what sections of the main website, and the franchisee microsites they wanted to see. This was a “free for all” – and I let them know it was time to be creative. After the meeting was over, I sent the group a sample website navigation diagram, along with a microsite diagram. I gave them an extra week to provide more feedback, but none of them did.
  3. At the second meeting, we got sample SEO keyword from the volunteer group. We asked how other franchisees would like to provide these to us, and they said that it was through a survey.
  4. At the third meeting, we did a design review of the microsites. We took quite a bit of feedback here on what should be modifiable by the franchisees, and what should be modifiable by the home office team.

Overall, the tone of the meetings was creative and professional. It was all about completing the thing that the franchisees wanted us to complete as a Marketing team. I knew that the more I did that, the more they would be satisfied with the co-creation project.

Working with the Experts

While the meetings were going on, I also connected with experts. After all, they invested in the adfund for marketing expertise. As a result, I had the following experts in place:

  1. SEO
  2. PPC (this was the same gentleman as above in this case, but they could be separate)
  3. Usability
  4. Design

Working with all of these moving parts was a project unto itself! However, I want to be clear that I was not taking direction from the franchisees on expert areas. I was taking direction in terms of business and local marketing needs, and looked to the experts for the marketing expertise. The franchisees in this system were very professional, and were quite understanding. For example, you will note that they had a feedback opportunity on the microsite, but not the homepage or the other main sections of the site, where direction came from the Founder and President Greg Brophy.

The Results

As a result of this project, a number of incredibly exciting things happened:

  1. Traffic on the site increased 10x, from 500 visits/day to 5,000 visits/day.
  2. We got over 150 leads/week forwarded to franchisees, up from next to none.
  3. The website won an award from the industry association, the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID).
  4. Relationships between the Marketing team and the franchisees warmed up in part because of the website.
  5. We had a huge party at the home office with a screenshot of the website on top of the cake.
  6. As a result of the success of the site, I got to work on the #1 marketing tool for the company – the truck! I was very unprepared for this task, but it was a lot of fun eventually.

Key Takeaways

This project had many lessons for m, here are just a few:

  1. Think deeply about where the franchisees can add value, and where the experts can add value. If you have clear boundaries, they will not step on each other.
  2. Find great partners who understand the dynamics and give-and-take required in franchising. The design firm for example, understood that we needed to be down-to-earth and flexible, and they were recruited to the project partly because of this open-minded attitude.
  3. The best way to overcome people’s doubt in your leadership is to help them achieve their goals.
  4. Being organized (such as having agendas for meetings and a core project plan) is key. This helps you not get “caught off guard” if things go to the side.
  5. If there is someone who is very concerned, a 1:1 conversation is best. If you sense that there is going to be a “gripe session”, it is a good idea to talk to the people that you are concerned about 1:1 before-hand, so you can get aligned and on the same team.
  6. If you are a manager, believe in your young people! My Marketing VP, Bonnie Shettler, at the time believed in me, and without her support, this project would have never happened.

Do you have a Battle-Tested Strategy?

This is just the first of our series on Battle-Tested Strategies. If you have one, please contact us.

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