Monthly Archives

April 2018

Canadian Franchise Association 2018 Round-Up and Congratulations!

By | Awards, Events

cfa franchise choiceWe would like to take a moment to congratulate the recent win of our customer, Alair Homes at the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) this year!

We are so proud of Alair Homes for winning the Silver Award for Non-Traditional Franchisees in the 30+ Category!

Alair Homes offers professional Custom Home and Renovation services. They use a unique construction process that provides 100% transparency during design and construction. We are happy to support Alair in terms of their auditing programs.

We also had several other customers win, but the list would be too long to post here.

FranBash 2018 Winners

franbash 2018 winnersIt was a great CFA conference. The highlight was our premier event, FranBash, and giving away a unique prize, a Paul from Gorilla Property Management won the Grand Prize, a trip to Varadero, Cuba courtesy of Sunwing! Daun from Pita Pit Canada and Mark from Tutor Doctor won the two other prizes! Thank you to all who joined FranBash, and looking forward to next year! Also, thanks to fellow sponsors Noraxx Inspections Inc. Punch, ClickTecs and Neovation Learning Solutions. Looking forward to another FranBash next year! 

5 Ways to Boost the Impact of your Field Audits

But, the Canadian Franchise Association was not only about connecting with our friends in this community. We also had a session presented by our team which led to an insightful discussion about the franchise field audit process.  You can see the presentation here:

Franchise Awareness Day

We also took part in the Franchise Awareness day on Parliament Hill after the Canadian Franchise Association representing the supplier perspective. As a community, we support 78,000 franchised units across the country. We had the opportunity to discuss key legislative issues and how the model has affected our careers with some Members of Parliament.

Franchises at Parliament Hill

 

It was a fantastic CFA, and looking forward to next year!



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How a Founder Can be a Great “First Coach” to Early Franchisees

By | Battle Tested Strategies, Franchise Coaching

Angela Cote Franchise Coach LogoIn the early days of franchising, the owner often becomes the first coach. How do you drive results with early franchisees when you are an emerging franchisor?

There is a lot to learn from Angela Coté, who grew up with M&M Food Market, an iconic Canadian frozen food retail chain that grew to almost 500 stores across the country. We sat down with former franchisor, current multi-unit franchisee and Franchise Growth Catalyst, Angela Coté, to hear her thoughts.

Tell us about how you got into franchising?

Angela: My father founded M&M and having grown up with it, I have done everything from dressing up as our mascot, “Kelly Kabob” in the mid-80’s for grand openings, to running around Western Canada helping develop the chain in the late ‘90’s. This included opening stores, training franchisees, and getting them up and running.  Eventually this informal role changed into a field consultant one and I worked with franchisees on engagement and profitability.

Angela Cote Meeting

What stands out for you most about the early days of M&M?

Angela: I was a 20-year-old female field consultant and the franchisee was often a 60-year-old male who had just spent his life savings to be a part of the brand. I am certain that some of them were asking themselves “She is the boss’s daughter –  what does she know about taking a risk? What does she know about investing all this money in a business?  How could she possibly help me?” But I worked hard to help them understand the importance of following the operational system, which drove their results and eventually earned their respect.

In that role, I had to learn a lot by trial and error.  As their support person, I started to understand what they were going through, as they experienced a lot of ups and downs emotionally. They were tired and had invested a significant amount of money, making it a really big deal for them. I came out on the other end with some hands-on direct experience – in franchisee relations!

In 2000, I became a multi-unit franchisee which, reflecting back, helps me really understand the franchisees and their concerns – now it is my life-savings at stake!  As a result, I’ve got both sides of the ‘franchise coin’. I understand what it’s like to be an early-stage and established franchisor, and to actually live life as a franchisee as well.

Today, I help businesses with franchise strategy and I coach their franchise business coaches; profitability is the number driver of growth in a franchise, and it is something I am extremely passionate about.  I am super-excited to have had the ability to create the angela COTE Inc. brand, which enables me to tap into what drives me and what I’m truly passionate about.

Spray Squad TeamWhen a franchise first starts, the founders are often the first coaches. Based on your experience, what tips would you give to a founder or coach with these early franchisees?

Angela: Showing early franchisees that you appreciate them is critical. I think that people take them for granted. In the early days, acknowledging that, “Hey, thanks for believing in this when no one else does.  Thanks for understanding that we’re not a well-oiled machine yet”. Here are four tips for franchisors regarding their early adopter franchisees:

  1. Get clear on expectations: When an emerging franchisor first starts, there is frequently a lack of clear expectations on both parties. When I say expectations, I mean, for example, what support the franchisees are going to get because it hasn’t even been built yet. Franchisees are expecting support because they bought into a system and they have pre-conceived thoughts based on popular perceptions of more established franchisors. Setting clear expectations up-front is a great first step.
  2. Recognize early adopters: Recognize that these first franchisees are early adopters according to the Rogers diffusion of innovation bell curve, and ensure that they know the systems are not set up yet. Clarifying that is huge in the early days. Often the early adopters are clients.  For example, maybe it’s a fitness studio and they love being a member, love the culture and think “I want one of these for myself.”

rogers diffusion curveIn response, a great way to put it is: “We would love to have you but know that we are still working towards building out our systems and processes for optimal efficiencies and profitability.  and you’re going to be part of creating that with us. Don’t expect it to be built. On the flip-side, you get to help us build it by telling us what you need and getting a lot of say in what is created.”

The early franchisees get the opportunity to scratch their “entrepreneurial itch” more, but still have to understand and balance the fact that it’s still a system.

  1. Set up systems through trial and error: Regarding setting up the systems, I think people feel as though to coach their franchisees, they need to have very formal systems established. I think it works best to do it as trial and error. I’m a big believer in the “lean start-up”, or the “minimum viable product”.

At the beginning of being an emerging franchisor, you don’t know what the franchisees want so don’t go out and create this massive “support system” that you use to coach your franchisees without asking them. Instead, work with them, try it. If it didn’t work, don’t “freak out”. That’s fine. We’re going to adjust this. We’re going to tweak that.

You really want to wow them, so that they talk highly about you, so you can grow the brand.

  1. Under-promise and over-deliver. It may sound cliché, but it needs to be said – under-promise and over-deliver to your first franchisees when you are an emerging franchisor. You really want to wow them, so that they talk highly about you, so you can grow the brand. So that when other people come and say, “What’s it like here?” they reply with, “it’s awesome!”

What are common pitfalls for coaches and founders?

Angela: The other pitfalls that a first early coach and founder is losing touch with your corporate location. This isn’t good for profitability and business growth. Additionally, from a perspective of a franchise coach, franchisees will think that you can’t relate anymore because you’re not working in the business.

The way to avoid that pitfall is to have a general manager at your corporate location who really understands how to grow the business. Be in touch with that person, communicate regularly with what’s going on in that corporate location so that when you’re talking to franchisees, you can say things like, “Yeah, we’re going through that same problem at our corporate location.”


With everyone we interview, we ask a series of fun questions! Here is Angela’s Q&A!

What new beliefs, behaviors, or habits adopted in the last five years have most positively impacted your life?

Angela: Getting a coach!  I hired a career coach three years ago to help me tap into my passion and figure out how to make that into a career. That was the best decision I made in my entire life. Later, I got an amazing performance coach. No matter what your income level is, it is super valuable to have someone with experience help you stay on track.

Purchase of less than $100 that’s improved your life.

Angela: My monthly membership to my local floating franchise, The Float House. You float in a tank with high level of salt. Sensory deprivation is a dark, warm and relaxing experience and is great for those stressful days.

What would you want to put on a billboard?

Angela: “Contrary to popular belief, franchising is NOT turnkey. Franchising a business requires someone with expertise who understand the complexity of the model. Buying into a franchise as a franchisee requires hard work, leadership skills and true grit.”

What books have you most gifted to other people?

Angela: It is a bit embarrassing, but it is a business book: Traction by Gino Wickman. This helps clients with vision, short-term and long-term plans.

More Info:

  • To learn more about Angela, you can go to her website at angela COTE Inc.
  • To learn more about FranchiseBlast field audit and scorecard software, go to our website.
  • Would you like a PDF of this article? Download PDF here.

Battle Tested Strategy link to download

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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How Focusing on Better-Performing Franchisees Helps Maximize Franchisee Performance Region-Wide

By | Battle Tested Strategies, Field Audits, Franchise Operations

Which franchisees have the highest potential for growth? In this battle tested strategy, we discuss how Amy Perkins, Senior Business Consultant from Ben & Jerry’s, focused on “middle-to-top” franchisees helping lift results across her region.

It is easy for franchise coaches to focus on the weakest performers, since they are in need of the most help, and are often the squeakiest wheels. But, it is the top performers who have the most potential impact. We sat down with Amy to discuss what she did, and what other coaches can learn.

How did you get into coaching, and franchising in general?

Amy: I started at Ben & Jerry’s right out of college and was in the trenches from the ground up. I did all kinds of roles –  I started as a scooper then moved up to assistant manager, manager, regional manager and area manager for all of Vermont. Later I moved my way out West and became a business consultant and have been doing that for 12 years based out of the San Francisco Bay area.

amy perkins scoop shop

What do you like about working at Ben & Jerry’s?

Amy: Like most coaches, I spend the majority of my time talking about sales and improving business operations. Because Ben & Jerry’s focuses on so much more than that, I also get to have really unique and interesting conversations with our franchisees.

Ben & Jerry’s isn’t just the name of our brand – the guys that give it their name are two very colorful people with a lot to say. Ben once said, “business has a responsibility to give back to the community.” I love that I can go into a franchise business consultation and talk about social mission and what the franchisees are doing to change the world within their community.

And something that I think about every single day – Jerry said, “If it’s not fun, why do it?” and I’m pretty lucky that that’s how I get to live my day-to-day life – it’s a pretty awesome experience!

Which franchisees do you focus on when coaching?

Amy: I tend to focus on the group of franchisees that hovers above the middle, but not quite at the top. Results don’t often come from the folks that are already at the top because those franchisees are typically already doing what it takes to be there. But if you can focus on this middle-to-top pack, you can see some spectacular results.

Normal Curve for FranchiseesWhy does that make a difference? 

Amy: I think that those franchisees have a higher opportunity to move the needle; they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get themselves to the top – they‘re both hungry and thirsty -they have the drive and the desire. They’re the ones that are usually the most adaptable and willing to take on new strategies or ideas. You’ll see them putting their necks out more.

They just know that the harder they work, the more they’re going to see the results.  So, these folks are not necessarily comfortable just sitting at the middle of the pack since they can see what top performers can do. They want to be a top performer and they strive to be up there. They want to be at the top as much as they think they deserve it. Of course I support all of my franchisees, but I put a special focus on this group.

What do you think is a common pitfall for other franchise coaches?

Amy: I think we’re all guilty of this, but a lot of franchise business consultants and coaches spend way too much of their time focusing their efforts on the bottom 20%. It’s easy to get sucked into this. You get stuck focusing on that bottom 20% and they don’t really go anywhere. They’re not necessarily detrimental to the business, they’re just kind of comfortable living in a space that isn’t really affecting any sort of real change.

Can you tell us about some concrete examples of when this strategy has worked for you?

Amy: As part of my yearly plan, I chose three franchisees that I knew lived in this middle-to top space that I thought I could make the most direct impact on. I knew that they already had the drive and the desire, and I knew that with a little bit of extra support, they could really have an incredible year.

For the whole year I was hyper-focused on sales and trying to get as many touches in as possible. I called them more. I reached out to them more and asked them more questions. My favorite question – especially at my first consultation of the year is “what is your goal” followed up with “how are we going to make it happen”. I do this because it’s easy to create the goals, it’s much, much harder to figure out the execution plan. I made my field visits with them super-focused and direct, and I wanted them to know that I was rooting for them.

I also didn’t necessarily need them to know that they were on my top 3 list, they were simply getting additional support from me, and even though they didn’t know it, their results were pretty incredible.

Amy Perkins Ben and Jerry'sTell us about the results…

Amy: So, of the three, “Shop #1” off-premise sales, which includes business catering and events, were up 25%. Her scoop shop was also up 5%. Her staff was happier than ever. They were selling more of the right product mix, which resulted in a higher average check, a lower cost of goods sold. She also won one of our biggest awards at our annual meeting this year. She was completely shocked, but she deserved it!

For “Shop #2”, their off-premise sales were actually up over 100%. We tier all of our franchisees in our off-premise world, ranging from “Tier 1” if they’re just starting out, to “Tier 4” if they are the best of the best. Shop 2 actually hopped tiers – from Tier 2 to Tier 3. That’s not easily accomplished so I was really proud of them.

For Shop #3, she was a multi-unit operator, and she’d been in a unique situation in that she has three very different types of operations:  one neighborhood scoop shop, one that’s a high-volume tourist shop, and thirdly she has a strong off-premise program. She managed to grow all three, which is pretty amazing.  In doing this she really had to execute three different strategic marketing plans simultaneously.

Shop sales grew, transaction counts were up, average check was up, and off-premise was up. Their P&L was the tightest I’ve ever seen it. They were able to invest in their staff and grow a manager as well. She found herself putting out less fires and was able to focus more on driving business results. A whirlwind year for her!

What was your biggest challenge in terms of implementing this strategy?

Amy: It was hard to determine who to pick. Every organization has really strong franchisees and management teams and determining who you really want to put high amounts of effort into can be a bit of a challenge. But if you can determine the the middle-to-top performers, you’re going to see the most return.

ben and jerry's truck outside

What advice would you give another coach who’d want to try this strategy

Amy: At the beginning of the year, choose three to five franchisees and their management teams that you know are invested in their business and have what it takes to move that needle. Depending on your work load, this could represent from 5-10% of your franchisees.

Determine what your goals are for each, and then formulate your plan. Track the plan and check in regularly on the goals. Make as many touches with these franchisees as you possibly can, and watch their results play out. Don’t feel like it’s ever too late to start this process – it can be started at any point in the year!

What is the biggest benefit to you as a coach?

Amy: I think it also allows you to control the conversation from a field rep position. Sometimes franchisees think the role of their business coach is solely compliance and I think that’s short-sighted.  I think it’s part of my job, and I think it’s an important part of my job, but I don’t want to focus exclusively on that.

To the contrary I want to say to the franchisee: “if you’ll let me be your business coach, we can do something pretty magical here.” This strategy allowed me to support each of the franchisees in my region, but by focusing on these high-potential franchisees –   see the results!  I could not be happier and I am much more fulfilled as a coach. It just felt good.

With everyone we interview, we ask a series of fun questions! Here is Amy’s Q&A!

What new beliefs, behaviors, or habits adopted in the last five years have most positively impacted your life?

I have been a pretty die-hard Orangetheory Fitness fan for almost two years now. I’m healthier, I’m lighter, I’m stronger, I’m happier, I have more energy and all of those things are great. But I feel like it’s changed who I am – it just keeps me in check and it makes me a better person. Since they are a franchise with locations across my region, I always have a little piece of home when I’m on the road.

Purchase of less than $100 that’s improved your life.
Melatonin. It’s changed my life – because I sleep a whole lot better than I used to!

What would you want to put on a billboard?
“Buy the plane ticket.”

What books have you most gifted to other people?

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris

Kissing in Manhattan by David Schickler

To learn more about Ben and Jerry’s, and about catering Ice Cream to your next business event, go to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Catering page! To learn more about Amy Perkins, go to her LinkedIn page.

Want to download this Battle-Tested Strategy? You can get it here.

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4 Ways Franchisees May Commit Fraud and How to Prevent It

By | Franchise Fraud, Franchise Operations

Franchisee fraud - what to do about itAlthough they are in the minority, franchisors have to be aware of potential fraud from franchisees. Those who may be hitting hard times financially, will find ways to undermine safeguards instead of reaching out for help. While approved technologies utilized by franchisees may appear innocuous, ambitious ones can leverage them to their advantage to commit franchisee fraud.

  1. Uber Eats

The GPS technology that revolutionized local transportation now conveys food as well as passengers. Such third-party delivery services broaden the customer base with the convenience factor, but the sales they generate are beyond the confines of the franchise framework. Therefore, with sales reported separately.

  1. Parallel Businesses

A common way for franchisees to hide money is to have two businesses running in parallel – one where they pay royalties to the franchisor, and one where they do not.

  1. Loyalty Cards

A great device for rewarding the repeat customer with points toward a free frozen yogurt. But when cashiers swipe their own cards on transactions for non-members, they are rewarding themselves on the customer’s dollar…and on the franchisor’s.

  1. Employee Cash-Back 

Shockingly, some franchisees get their employees in on the scheme. In a recent case in the UK, a franchisor was allowed to terminate a franchisee, based on an illegal cash-back scheme he was running with his employees. After getting amounts deposited into their bank accounts, employees were asked to return cash to the franchisee in a manual safe drop at the store.

How to Prevent Fraud

Metrics

In baseball, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard, and the same goes for franchisees. In lieu of being on site all day, every day to monitor best practices, franchisee activity can instead be tracked. As a franchisor, you can arm yourself with performance tools to keep a close eye on your unit-level economics.

With a dashboard and a monthly metrics scorecard, you have a customized, at-a-glance review of established benchmarks that also flag irregularities and recommend guidance on how to resolve those issues.

When specific ratios are standardized, fraudulent activity can be identified. Only a full franchise management system will provide the evidence that supports subsequent actions: be they legal proceedings or managerial intervention.

Surveillance

Another way to track fraud is through surveillance. Innovations in today’s industry have led to direct connections between Point of Sale transactions and video surveillance – simplifying the monitoring process.

If you are looking for a fast, simple and intuitive way to protect your business from fraud and regain lost revenue take a look at Solink. Many of the world’s biggest brands are working with their video surveillance solutions.

Embezzlement or Inefficiency?

Most franchisors charge royalties based on sales. If numbers begin to plummet or even fluctuate, what is the cause?

  • Is it an honest franchisee who is genuinely struggling, doesn’t know their numbers or orders supplies they don’t need?
  • Or is it a franchisee who is making a concerted effort to reduce the declared sales amount and line their pockets?

It is hard to say unless valid comparisons are made with intuitive software that produces easily digestible data.

 

You can read more of our posts on fraud here:

 



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