Monthly Archives

June 2019

How to Resolve Franchisee Problems Effectively

By | Brand Consistency, Field Audits
resolve franchisee problems

It is true, when selling a franchise we sell systems, and then we coach them on how to navigate through those systems. But, what happens when there is a problem? This model of franchisee problem solving starts with determining if the franchisee problem is actually important. Surprisingly, sometimes you can determine that the franchisee may not be following the system perfectly, but it doesn’t really matter that much in the big picture. If it is a problem, then it is either a skill deficiency or a knowledge deficiency. If it is skill, then there should be some sort of training – executed by the training team, or by the coach themselves. If it is a knowledge deficiency – you want to figure out if it is a case of simply providing the information that the franchisee needs,or if you need to go into performance management.

This highly rational process is great to share with both new franchise coaches and experienced ones alike. It is also a positive spin on problem resolution. Instead of starting up a round of no one’s favorite activity: the “blame game” between franchisor and franchisee, going through this process analyzes what is going on, and moves towards a solution.

Franchisee Problem Resolution Process

When a franchisor first starts, the first question is often, “how do I sell more franchises?” Once that goal is achieved, there is a next challenge, “how do I solve problems with the franchisees that I have?” As with many phases in business, one challenge is often followed by a new, and sometimes even more difficult obstacle to overcome. In this post, we will take a look at a simple but powerful process for solving franchisee problems. We also worked with some of our friends in the franchising community to enrich the article with experiences.

Now for the fun part, let’s look at some examples:

Signage Example

Due to the popularity of off-premise sales, all stores are required to have a “Online Pick-up” sign. During an audit, the FBC saw that the store did not have that sign or a special area at all.

Is it a problem?

Yes – the fastest growing stores include online ordering. The store is also struggling to reach their growth goals.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Skills: The franchisee was more established in the system, and was not aware of this change. The FBC took some time explaining the benefits of off-premise, and talked about one of the franchisees long-time friends who was gaining a lot of traction in this area. After getting a post-audit task via e-mail, they promptly ordered as sign and created the designated area.

Outcome

Although the franchisee was violating the system, it was a more recent development, and they made the change promptly. It also gave the FBC some time to educate them on the off-premise opportunity, and get them engaged in the idea.

Customer Service Example

A customer calls into Home Office complaining that the franchisee is not picking up the phone. The receptionist smartly takes the order over the phone and e-mails it urgently to the franchisee. However, the Franchise Business Coach (FBC) has a problem. 

Is it a problem?

Yes – taking customer orders through the phone is key to the business.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Both: the FBC connected with the franchisee, and found that they did their customer calls at night, and could not pick up the phone. They followed the appropriate process in that they did not answer the phone while with a customer. However, the franchisee also did not check their voicemail regularly to call customers back in a timely manner. They knew that this was a bad habit, and that it violated the system – but sadly they did not see themselves making a change. 

Outcome 

The FBC recommended that the franchisee work with an answering service to resolve this problem. This way, calls get answered without the need for the franchisee to “break the flow” of their conversation on site with the customer.

Learning

Going through the process this way helped build a stronger relationship with the franchisee, and helped the FBC understand them better (such as a dislike for multitasking).

Sales and Marketing Example

Franchisee was using out of date marketing material which included an old logo and outdated message points.

Is it important?

Yes – keeping marketing material current is key to a strong brand.

Is it a skills deficiency or a knowledge deficiency?

Knowledge: The FBC discussed the issue with the franchisee, and discovered that she was putting saving costs ahead of keeping the brand consistent. Years earlier, she had invested in a large amount of flyers due to the economies of scale with printing. But, now those flyers were holding the business back from complying with brand standards. The FBC worked with the Marketing team to help the franchisee understand the importance of a consistent brand, and Marketing provided a recommendation of approved vendors who did smaller printing runs so this would not happen in the future.

Outcome

Due to this handling of the issue by everyone involved, the franchisee became an advocate in her region about brand consistency. Treating it fairly helped strengthen the system as a whole.

Parting Thoughts

This simple and smart process can help your franchise on many levels. It is also even better if it is automated. Check out FranchiseBlast’s brand consistency tools, which includes post-audit tasks, to learn more.



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7 Common Franchise Business Plan Mistakes

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Coaching
Franchise Business Plan Mistakes
Making a mistake in franchising is both painful and embarrassing – especially when you really care about your franchisees and their success. So… as a Franchise Business Coach, are you really setting your franchisees up for success with their franchise business plan or are you just going through a “tick-box exercise”? We discussed planning with several franchisors, and we came up with some of the biggest mistakes, and how you can avoid them.

1. Mistaking Cash for Profits 

Franchisors around the world have been focusing on franchisee profitability over the years, but it is good to remember that cash flow is very important in any small business. Profit is an accounting concept and not necessarily money in the bank. You want to make sure that you are tracking both as you are balancing cash-in and cash-out with your franchisee.

2. Ignoring the Bad Year Before 

An experienced franchisee knows the long-term ups and down. If you have owned a business, you also know that it can sap the motivation right out of you and you can start the year feeling like a deflated balloon. A wise franchisor once told me at an IFA Convention: “To help the franchise out, tap into why the bought the franchise in the first place. Were they creating a vacation fund, a life of more abundance or a legacy for themselves? Reharness that energy to help them overcome that challenge and move to the next phase.”

3. Not Sweating the Details

You want to get the details right. In fact, the value of the franchise business plan is to understand details including who is doing what, and when that is going to happen. Business planning is the opposite to throwing caution to the wind, it is a time to sit down and look at the specific key results that will link to each objective or goal, and who is accountable for each. This helps understand workload and balance it out for everyone. Contrary to the popular book, in this case, you DO want to sweat the small stuff!

4. Hitching their Wagon to the Franchisor’s Star

As discussed earlier, franchisees hitching their wagon to the franchisor’s star will not help them in the long run. Franchisees are much more likely to be successful if there is a personal element to their plan, such as saving for another unit or becoming a mentor to others.

5. Overvaluing Experimental Ideas 

While it is exciting to work on a new initiative, such as a National Account or a new SMS Marketing initiative, overvaluing projected results to be at their most optimistic level will not help the franchisee in the long run. Before you know it, when the campaign plays out to a below-par result, the finger-pointing will begin. Be conservative with the projected results of the campaign, and then if they are better at the end of the day, you will be pleasantly surprised.

6. Not Experiencing New Initiatives 

Sometimes a franchisee needs to see to believe in terms of recommended elements in the franchise business plan. Code Ninjas, for example, has franchisees attend two grand openings before they go live themselves, and one after. This not only creates a realistic expectations, but it also helps with the practical side of budgeting to have the event that is right for them.

7. Mistaking Deviation for Adaptation 

Sometimes a franchisee will have a creative initiative in the plan, which can be a good thing. People have to adapt to their market, such as McDonald’s Teriyaki burger in Japan, or serving wine in France. However, sometimes those initiatives will deviate from the Franchise, and create confusion in the market about the brand. When looking at initiatives, you want to understand if it is bringing the brand forward, or setting it backwards.

Last Word 

Planning the right way means tracking progress throughout the year. Check out FranchiseBlast’s Audit and Brand Consistency tools to learn more about tracking progress along the way.


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6 Tips to Keep Franchisees Motivated Throughout the Year

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Engagement
franchisees motivated

Did you start your New Year’s resolution to create a franchise business plan across your system? Guess what – it is half-way through the year.

Question… how are those plans going?

While most franchisors recognize the value of franchise business plans, with competing priorities, they can be hard to stick to.

The good news is, we are not down to the wire. It is not too late. Your franchisees can still achieve their goals – but they have to start now!

So get energized and get focused on these 6 actionable ways for franchisees to stay motivated towards their goals.

1. Leverage Triumphant Franchisee Stories

In the daily grind, sometimes it is hard for franchisees to stay motivated. Hearing stories of fellow operators who pulled through a challenge and succeeded can be a fantastic way to motivate. This can be done through webinars, pictures in one of your regular eBlasts or even through internal social media.

2. Encourage a Healthy Routine

Exercise, nutrition and sleep are fantastic for mental and physical help. Exercise alone has been scientifically proven to create more confidence and a more positive demeanor. Some franchisors have taken this idea and ran with it, creating fitness contests for their franchisees, encouraging them to submit a new healthy habit to be put into a draw, for example. Everyone likes to do business with someone who is healthy and confident, so this will be positive for the system as a whole.

3. Reward Regions on Achieving Milestones

Milestones are so important when it comes to motivation. In franchising, we have the unique opportunity to reward whole regions! This could be with an appealing Marketing initiative from the Adfund that would boost business further, such as money towards exhibiting at a prestigious regional show. It could also mean a visit from the CEO, or a motivating learning opportunity. Rewarding a region will also create harmony there, which helps everyone, including your customers!

4. Encourage Personal Time

With an increasing mountain of workloads and an “always on” culture, sometimes we lose track of our franchisees and what is going on in their lives. We have discussed before on this blog about co-creating plans and keeping the personal in mind. You may want to remind franchises to have a little personal time – whether it is getting out fishing, going to the game on the weekend or practicing yoga, asking about these activities can cement relationships and help prevent franchisee-burnout.

5. Remain Positive

It can sound trite, but it has to be said. Although franchise networks can be an incredible support structure, sometimes they can also get negative. The stakes are high – getting into a negative mindset can hurt even the most successful business. It is important to listen and respond to challenges, but you also want to balance that with a bright view of the future and a clear vision of where the franchisee can go. Introducing franchisees to a group of positive friends can make a world of difference, if they are open to it.

6. Set Reminders

Part of staying motivated is having reminders on what to do. We spend so much time distracted by reminders, having ones that keep the franchisees focused on the business can “break through the clutter”. You can do this with software, with FranchiseBlast’s automatic reminder system, for example.

Last Word

Ready to learn more about franchise business planning? Check out our collection of articles here.



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