Category

Franchise Business Plans

Franchise Business Plan Ebook

By | Franchise Business Plans
Ultimate Guide to Franchise Business Plans

In today’s world, we have learned to expect the unexpected. As the franchising environment changes, now, more than ever, it is important to help franchisees with their business plans. This Ebook, co-written with Franchise Relations Strategist Greg Nathan, we explore:

  • A step-by-step approach to create business plans.
  • How to move away from reactive franchisee support.
  • How to integrate your most important KPIs.

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This eBook will equip you with everything that you need to get started with Franchise Business Plans.



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Sample Objectives and Key Results (OKR) for Education Franchises

By | Education, Franchise Business Plans
Education Franchises Objectives and Key Results

Education franchises employ hundreds of thousands of people across the US and around the world. According to IBISWorld, there are almost 173,000 businesses operating as tutoring or driving schools in the U.S., employing 343,451 people. As the world shifts, some of this revenue will be coming from online sources.

OKRs

  1. O: Increase profitability through sales and marketing enhancements.
    1. KRs:
      1. Get cost/lead to $70 off of online sources.
      2. Have a trial conversion rate of 80% (new students/trial).
      3. Increase walk-in traffic by 10%.
      4. Get online reviews to 4.1 stars.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Have home office Marketing team review marketing campaigns.
    2. Work with property management company for brighter and more engaging signage outside of center.
    3. Have an email campaign directed at happy customers encouraging reviews.
    4. Self audit using “World-Class Service” audit in FranchiseBlast.
  1. O: Increase franchisee efficiency.
    1. KRs:
      1. Maintain coach cost at 33% or lower.
      2. Get Marketing cost to 10% of Sales.
      3. Increase coach to student ratio from 1:5 to 1:8.
      4. Increase engagement in online platform for students by 20%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Review coach cost on monthly FranchiseBlast scorecard.
    2. Do a Facebook live showcasing the new online platform.
    3. Train coaches on how to manage more students.
    4. Apply for government grant for hiring students.
  1. O: Delight customers.
    1. KRs:
      1. Have an NPS of 70 from parents.
      2. Have an NPS of 50 from students.
      3. Get three customers to post a review over 4 stars/month.
      4. Have 10% of customers enroll a second student from same household.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Launch a customer appreciation event including parents, students, and their family and friends.
    2. Create flyers for second student promotion to be handed out at the center.
    3. Create annual award for coach with highest NPS for parents or students.
    4. Train coaches to ask happy parents to post a positive review.

Hopefully these sample objectives and key results have helped you out. Do you want to take it a step further? Learn more about strategy and education franchises by checking out the following:



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Sample Objectives and Key Results (OKR) for Automotive Franchises

By | Automotive, Franchise Business Plans
Objectives and Key Results for Automotive Franchises

Automotive franchises make a significant impact on the economy. According to IBISWorld, there are 263,000 auto mechanic businesses running in the U.S., with industry employment counting over 500,000. Although the changing landscape is affecting these businesses, they are still making a meaningful contribution to the economy.

OKRs

  1. O: Increase franchisee revenue.
    1. KRs:
      1. Have a customer acquisition rate of 25% (new customers/total customers).
      2. Have a quote capture rate of over 70% (total sales/total quotes).
      3. Increase leads from online sources by 25%.
      4. Get a conversion rate from service texting reminders of 20%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Launch campaign with current happy customers to get more reviews.
    2. Enhance texting reminder campaign using new vendor.
    3. Have home office sales coach talk to Service Manager about best practices.
    4. Review quote capture rate on monthly FranchiseBlast scorecard.
  1. O: Increase franchisee efficiency.
    1. KRs:
      1. Have a productivity ratio of over 80% (hours clocked/hours available).
      2. Decrease parts supplier costs by 10%.
      3. Reduce marketing costs by 20%.
      4. Reduce staff costs by 15%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Hire junior technicians at a lower rate to pick parts so senior technicians save time.
    2. Reorganize the shop to improve technician workflow.
    3. Review productivity ratio on monthly FranchiseBlast scorecard.
    4. Review marketing spending by lead source and eliminate ones with high Cost Per Lead (CPL).
  1. O: Delight customers.
    1. KRs:
      1. Reduce cycle time by 10% (measured through Point of Sale from drop-off to delivery).
      2. Have a Customer Satisfaction (CSAT )score of 75%.
      3. Have 50% of customers come back for repeat business within one year.
      4. Have Employee Satisfaction Score of 60% (happy employees lead to happy customers).
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Have two “Family Days” with staff per year (summer and holidays).
    2. Eliminate the vendors with the slowest parts delivery record.
    3. Send text reminders for service.
    4. Self-audit using the Customer Care Audit with FranchiseBlast.

Hopefully these sample objectives and key results have helped you out. Do you want to take it a step further? Learn more about strategy and automotive franchises by checking out the following:



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Sample Objectives and Key Results (OKR) for Salon and Spa Franchises

By | Franchise Business Plans, Spa and Salon
Salon and Spa Franchises OKRs

Salon and spa franchises represent well over a million businesses across the US. According to IBISWorld in 2019, there are currently almost 1 million firms operating in the hair and nail salon industry within the U.S., providing direct employment opportunities for almost 1.4 million people.  The health and wellness spa industry has over 22,000 businesses employing over 365,000 people. As the economy changes, salons and spas still employ many people.

OKRs

  1. O: Increase franchisee revenue.
    1. KRs:
      1. Get retail capture rate to 25% (% of people who buy retail items vs. spa guests).
      2. Have 100 customers do injectables (high ticket item).
      3. Increase customers by 20%.
      4. Increase facial treatment sales by 30%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Increase prices by 10%.
    2. Get front desk staff engaged in sales training from head office.
    3. Review injectable sales on monthly FranchiseBlast scorecard.
    4. Engage in Instagram for lead generation.
  1. O: Increase profitability through marketing efficiencies.
    1. KRs:
      1. Make cost/lead $25 off Google.
      2. Get repeat guest rate to 50% (% of total guests who are repeat guests).
      3. Increase business from referrals by 25%.
      4. Increase walk-in business by 10%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Optimize Google AdWords landing pages.
    2. Run annual referral campaign with current customers.
    3. Give roses to customers for the month of February as a Valentine’s Day promotion.
    4. Add colorful decals outside of clinic.
  1. O: Increase employee satisfaction of frontline staff.
    1. KRs:
      1. Make employee retention rate 20% (employees who left/total employees).
      2. Get eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) to 30.
      3. Increase employee participation in group events by 50%.
      4. Increase employee participation in learning portal by 25%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Launch eNPS program.
    2. Review who has completed training using custom forms in FranchiseBlast.
    3. Have a staff holiday party.
    4. Allow team members to nominate each other weekly for “spirit” awards.

Hopefully these sample objectives and key results have helped you out. Do you want to take it a step further? Learn more about strategy and salon and spa franchises by checking out the following:



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Sample Objectives and Key Results (OKR) for Gym and Fitness Franchises

By | Franchise Business Plans, Health and Fitness
Gym and Fitness Franchise Sample OKRs

According to the 2019 IHRSA Global Report, worldwide, the industry saw membership grow to a “record-high” 183 million users, revenue totaling an estimated $94 billion, and club count exceeding 210,000 facilities in 2018. As the global landscape shifts, we will still see gyms making a meaningful contribution to the economy.

OKRs

  1. O: Increase franchisee revenue.
    1. KRs:
      1. Grow membership by 10%.
      2. Grow inbound leads by 20% from online sources.
      3. Book trial with 40% of inbounds.
      4. Get sales conversion rate to 80%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Create Facebook campaign with agency.
    2. Put front desk staff through sales training provided by head office.
    3. Perform monthly review of leads vs. trials on FranchiseBlast scorecard.
    4. Work on lead quality of PPC (pay-per-click) and display campaigns together with agency.
  1. O: Increase profitability through marketing efficiencies.
    1. KRs:
      1. Make cost per lead $50.
      2. Have a member retention rate of 70% (existing clients at the end of the period/existing clients at the beginning of the period).
      3. Increase community marketing leads by 20%.
      4. Increase leads from signage by 10%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Work with property management group to have an attention-grabbing sign out front.
    2. Participate in local wellness expo.
    3. Host benchmark workout session with members for ongoing performance improvement.
    4. Place flyers for “first week free” at businesses in the same plaza.
  1. O: Delight our customers.
    1. KRs:
      1. Maintain a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 50.
      2. Increase member engagement in group fitness by 10%.
      3. Put 90% of members through the outstanding onboarding program released by head office.
      4. Expand social media engagement by 50%.
  1. Initiatives:
    1. Host one customer appreciation event.
    2. Perform quarterly analysis of NPS with team on FranchiseBlast.
    3. Ask staff to post pictures on social media of members reaching milestones on a monthly basis.
    4. Engage in seasonal giveaway campaigns of branded merchandise with social media component.

Hopefully these sample objectives and key results have helped you out. Do you want to take it a step further? Learn more about strategy and gym and fitness franchises by checking out the following:



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Sample Objectives and Key Results (OKR) for Restaurant Franchises

By | Franchise Business Plans
Restaurant OKR Sample

According to the National Restaurant Association (NRA), there are 1 million+ restaurant locations in the U.S. with 15.6 million employees. Even in these changing times, the industry is still a major employer. See some sample Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for restaurant franchises below.

OKRs

  1. O: Increase franchisee revenue.
    1. KRs:
      1. Increase sales by 3%.
      2. Have 150 people buy the holiday promo.
      3. Increase average check size by 5% to $6.25.
      4. Increase catering sales by 10%.
    1. Initiatives:
      1. Put crew through upsell training.
      2. Increase coffee prices by 10%.
      3. Execute one holiday social media campaign.
      4. Cold call 100 local businesses to discuss catering.
  1. O: Adapt to changing operating environment.
    1. KRs:
      1. Make online orders 30% of total sales.
      2. 0 days shut down for sanitization due to an infection.
      3. Average cleanliness audit/self-assessment compliance exceeds 85%.
      4. Maintain 12 months of financial runway.
    1. Initiatives:
      1. Install plexiglass around all cash registers.
      2. Set up new employee temperature check processes before every shift.
      3. Perform daily cleanliness self-assessments in FranchiseBlast.
      4. Secure a $100,000 bank loan.
  1. Increase franchisee profitability.
    1. KRs:
      1. Make the seasonal beverage category 20% of total sales (or another strategic, high margin category).
      2. Keeps COGS (cost of goods sold) under 33% of sales.
      3. Keep labor costs under 33% of sales.
      4. Obtain an average online rating above 4 stars on Google.
    1. Initiatives:
      1. Reduce evening staff by two people.
      2. Engage in an online Facebook campaign about seasonal beverages.
      3. Perform weekly theoretical versus actual food cost reviews.
      4. Perform daily reviews of Google review feedback.

Hopefully these sample objectives and key results have helped you out. Do you want to take it a step further? Learn more about strategy and restaurants by checking out the following:



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Franchise Business Plans and Other Artifacts

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Coaching
Franchise Business Plans Artifacts

According to Franchising Thought Leader, Greg Nathan, “It doesn’t matter where business plans are held, as long as they are used and reviewed.” Unfortunately, business plans can sometimes live in isolation on an FBC’s hard drive or with a “set it and forget it” mentality of building it once, and never review it again. Integrating the business plans with other aspects of the franchise is a way to make them a “living document” that stays fresh and meaningful throughout the year. You can do this by connecting business plans to:

  • Scorecards
  • Field Audits
  • Self-Assessments

Keeping these pieces of the puzzle working together can make an integrated system to support your franchisees.

Scorecards

A franchisee scorecard is a limited set of about 15 key metrics defined by the franchisor. A business plan then selects a subset of these metrics for one of the following reasons:

  1. It is targeted for improvement for strategic reasons
  2. The franchisee that you are working with is weaker than others in the network.

Business plans expand on these metrics by adding more granular Key Results (KRs) that test the ideas, or hypothesis, you outline to drive up the main KR that the franchisee is targeting.

Metrics in the scorecard can also be a way to track business plan progress. For example, if you have a goal around check size, you can check those numbers together on the scorecard with the franchisee.

Field Audits

Imagine that you want to track the number of people who buy an energy bar with their coffee as a KR. Maybe you think that this will increase the average check size and you know that part of the strategy will be upselling.

You could track if the franchisee staff have done upselling training courses. But nothing beats observing ‘in the wild’ if the actions that they have been trained on are truly being performed. This is best done by listening to each transaction to see if suggestive selling techniques are used.

You can do this with a field audit performed by the Franchise Business Coach (FBC) or the district manager. That is someone external to the franchisee that comes into the unit and observes, marking things off a digital checklist. This helps evaluate if the franchisee is actually executing the strategy properly. Whether or not the strategy will work or not is still unknown, but you can at least measure the execution.  The final analysis is done during the postmortem.

Sometimes the KRs that you want to drive are related to your audit scores directly, such as increasing online review scores by improving unit cleanliness.

However, at times your audit questionnaire does not include any questions to evaluate if suggestive selling is applied.  If that is the case, and the need is common across all units, you can advocate improving the questionnaire by adding this new standard. This relates to the questionnaire continuous improvement process. It is a good practice to churn out old standards that never fail and add new ones, aligned with strategic initiatives.

Self-Assessments

In some cases, field audits are not a good complement to business plans. This happens in the following scenarios:

  • The problem is not widespread and really is localized to this individual franchisee.
  • You need to pay closer attention to this process, instead of just one or two spot checks during the period.

In these two cases, self-assessments are a better fit.  Sometimes these are designed as audits on the franchisee themselves, and some of them are simply asking front-line workers to record a number (such as the number of energy bars sold during the shift). By doing this, that number and goal remain top of mind and they can course-correct on the next shift.

Conclusion

Overall, the scorecard guides the key KR of the business plan. The business plan expands on that with a different set of KR representing theories to test. And you ensure you properly execute those theories/initiatives by doing audits or self-assessments.  During your postmortem, if you didn’t reach your goal, you’ll have a better idea if you need new theories or if you need to focus on buttoning up your execution.



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How Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Work with Business Plans

By | Franchise Business Plans, KPI
Franchise KPIs and Business Plans

Business plans contain Key Results (KR).  A subset of these key KRs are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used by the franchise to measure its performance. It may seem a bit like “alphabet soup”, but knowing these acronyms is key to growing your franchisee. Naturally, KRs and KPIs used by a franchisor are very tightly related to their vertical.

If you are looking at a restaurant business, they will be looking at food costs and labor costs as the key drivers for the business. Other verticals focus less on controllable costs, as they are not as impactful as simply increasing top-line sales. In environments such as commercial printing, for example, the focus shifts to KPIs which drive the sales team such as number of calls made, quotes submitted or quote conversion ratios.

Similar to the detailed discussion in FranchiseBlast’s Scorecard e-book, we can define KPIs that are always important to watch. There are normally 12-15 of them at most, to avoid flooding the franchisee with information.  What is different with business plans is that based on your focus areas, you may bring back a subset of these same indicators, but you’ll normally dive deeper in your weaknesses.

The business planning cycle gives you the opportunity to take a step back and observe an area where you want to focus. Your base KR will be around the KPI you’re already tracking in your scorecard, but you’ll develop ideas around this which will augment this KR with other KR which will measure the impact of Initiatives you will be doing.

Example KRs for Restaurants: Check Size

Restaurants typically look at average check size as a metric in the scorecards. Imagine you are building a Business Plan for a franchisee. You look at their scorecard and observe the average check size is their biggest weakness.

One KR would be to increase the average check size to the same level as the average franchisee.  That is a great idea, but it is not actionable if that number has not been moving in a while. So it is a good opportunity to think through some potential root issues. This is best done as a brainstorm together with the franchisee.

In this case, imagine that together you came up with the following ideas:

  1. Staff is not upselling enough, and they need training.
  2. A larger proportion of your morning customers pick up only a coffee and then leave.
  3. Your night staff offers too many discounts.
  4. You increase prices as recommended by the brand last year because a cheaper competitor set up shop next door.

After the brainstorm, you and the franchisee can pick one or two of these to tackle at the same time. So, your business plan could have the following KRs and Initiatives:

  • 100% of the staff redoes the upselling training course before the end of June
    • Related initiatives include: Setting up a training day, having 90% of the crew completing the training, etc.
  • An average of 10 people per day buy a locally-sourced energy bar before 11 am this quarter.
    • Related initiatives include: Stocking enough energy bars, ensuring every customer is offered one, and maybe the energy bars could be included in the above training on upselling, etc. (yes… one initiative can affect multiple KRs).
  • Increase the price of 10 of the 20 top-selling items by 3% before the end of July.
    • Related initiatives include: Review competitor prices to find the easiest price increase opportunities, change menu boards, etc.

As you can see, these key results are very specifically related to your theories about what you think you can do to drive up the average check size.

Measurement

You need to be sure you can easily measure these KR from the line of business application which generates them, as they will not be as convenient to access as the metrics from the scorecard.

A major advantage of this approach is that when you do your post-mortem at the end of the period, you can go back and see if you achieved your main objective –  Increased the average check size. At the same time, you can review each of your theories that you had outlined to drive that growth. The value of franchising is in the network effect. If you find something that works for one franchisee, it can also be applied to others in the system.

If you did the upselling training and no one is buying additional elements, then either you’re not executing properly or training was not the right idea.  In the next period, you’ll want to find new theories to try.

Last Word

Overall, KPIs and business planning are tightly integrated. Throughout the process, it is good to be a guide for your franchisee as they navigate business planning.



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Proactive Vs. Reactive: The Franchise Support Spectrum

By | Franchise Business Plans, Franchise Coaching
proactive and reactive

Franchise business plans accelerate performance so more and more brands are encouraging people to use them.  This is something that we all strive for, but first, let’s take a step back and talk about franchise support from the big picture.

In a franchise environment, the Franchise Business Consultant (FBC) is the bridge between the franchisor and the franchisee.  They have the toughest job in franchising, having to balance emotions with pure numbers, compliance with coaching, and more.

If you think of their interactions with the franchisees on a spectrum from reactive to proactive, the franchise business plan is the most proactive element of their job.

Most Reactive to Most Proactive

The following list outlines the most reactive to the most proactive activities that can happen in the course of supporting your franchisees.

proactive reactive spectrum

Acting as a front-line employee

FBCs are often team players, and when they see a unit that is busy or otherwise needs help they just jump in and help, such as making sandwiches with the hourly staff. This sends a down-to-earth helpful signal, after all ‘no one is too tall to pick up the luggage.’

The downside of this approach is that it is highly reactive. The FBC is not utilizing their skillset, and not offering their true value to the unit.

Responding to problems

Getting calls, emails, and texts about problems can be a big part of the FBC role. While it provides excellent support, it does little to better the circumstance of franchisees. A business is like a project, and if you are not helping franchisees move forward, they will start moving backward.

Performing field audits to ensure compliance

Compliance-oriented audits are a core part of the FBC’s role. Walking around and finding problems to fix is important for a range of reasons, from health and safety to brand consistency. At the same time, this is reacting to what is not happening, and ultimately it is looking to past behavior, rather than on future actions.

Training staff and franchisee on compliance

Training staff on compliance and brand consistency, which is the baseline is something that is focused on future behavior. This activity is definitely moving towards proactivity and we know that it is the hundreds of little things that make support outstanding.  At the same time, training on the minutia of operations doesn’t give the franchisee the opportunity to look at the forest for the trees, like environmental or competitive changes, for example, which could be of great importance to their survival.

Reviewing the scorecard and coaching to improve performance

Taking a step back and reviewing KPIs, strengths, weaknesses, and coaching to bridge the gaps is one of the most proactive things that you can do as a franchise coach. On a scorecard, there will be leading indicators and lagging indicators, and a combination of both will help your franchisees.

Business planning

Putting a process in place to define the right goals and execute towards them is future-focused, so it tops our list of proactive franchise support activities. Business planning is working on the business, instead of in the business.

Balancing Act

FBCs, like the rest of us in business, can get”too busy mopping the floor to turn off the faucet.” Although the role will likely never be 100% proactive, balancing proactive and reactive activities is a great first step.



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Objectives and Key Results (OKR) in Franchising

By | Franchise Business Plans
OKRs in Franchising Intro

Forward-thinking franchisors are now embracing Objectives and Key Results or OKR .The framework was originally developed by Andy Grove at Intel and has been used by organizations such as Google, Twitter, and LinkedIn. While the framework has documentation in the form of videos, bestselling books, and worksheets, the three main concepts will help you through their use, for the purpose of Business Plans.

Objectives and Key Results Key Terms

Objective (O)

The Objective is your goal which aligns everyone in simple terms.

Example: Grow business with sales and marketing.

Key Results (KR)

Key Results is how you measure success, which you cannot control 100%.

Example: Add 250 new customers to our loyalty mailing list.

Initiatives (I)

Initiatives are activities trying to achieve objectives, which you can control 100%.

Example: Perform three marketing campaigns on Social Media.

How to Use OKRs in Franchising

The birthplace of OKRs was in the technology sector. Today, OKRs are used across different industries and business models. Franchising has some unique elements to it that matter when it comes to business planning.

  • Shared Risk: An advantage of the franchise model is shared risk – since the franchisee signs the lease and commits to various contracts. This shared responsibility matters when thinking of many aspects of the business, from profitability to marketing expenses.
  • Motivation: No one is more motivated than a person who has invested their money into the business. But, when engaging in planning activities, you want to remember that the person standing before you is not an employee, they are a business owner. With that, including some set objectives from a franchisor level of reasonable. At the same time, franchisees who set some of their own Objectives, Key Results or Initiatives will ultimately be more engaged.
  • New Markets: Franchising allows brands to expand to new markets, where customs and tastes are not necessarily understood by the franchisor. So when setting OKRs with your Master Franchise, or franchises in markets that have significant differences from your own, you may want to keep those in mind in terms of what to keep consistent, and what to change.

At the heart of these considerations is to include collaboration when building your plans.  OKRs are also loved for their transparency, which will further accountability and engagement.

Getting Started with OKRs

Setting OKRs together with your Franchise Advisory Committee (FAC) and other key stakeholders from the franchisor level is key. Some choose to have an OKR workshop including collaborative documents if online, and whiteboards if off. At the end of the session, you want to have agreement on what you want achieved by the beginning of the following year.

How to Set Objectives

When sitting down to write objectives, the first question you want to have in mind is “what challenge am I trying to solve?” John Doerr, who famously implemented OKR at Google, and wrote the authoritative book on the subject, Measure What Matters, had the following formula:

I will (Objective) as measured by (this set of Key Results).

Objectives should be aligned, high-impact and time-bound. They don’t necessarily need to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Results-Oriented and Timely). In fact, they can be more of a big picture. If you think of yourself steering a boat, the Objective is the place where you are aiming to go.

How to Set Key Results Aligned with Objectives

Creating key results can be tough to untangle from initiatives. A simple rule of thumb is to think “how can I measure it”. For example, if your objective is to Create an Extraordinary Customer Experience, then your key results could include: Receive a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 30 for the Year.

Notice that this is not telling you the “how” it is telling you how you will measure it. Similarly, a Marketing objectives may be measured by conversions, but it does not get into specifics around “how”.  Key results should be high impact, specific and within influence.

How to Set Initiatives Aligned with Objectives

Initiatives are in the form of tasks or projects. For the NPS objective above, for example, you can have the tasks that will make your customers happier. Related to that Objective, you could have a new Customer Service training to improve that experience.

An example of a Marketing initiative is a Facebook Campaign. Initiatives are just a “best guess” or a “hypothesis” on what may deliver the highest impact because a veteran marketer knows that a campaign will not always get the results that you are looking for, since ultimately the control lies with the prospect (and tastes can be fickle).  Initiatives should be specific and within control.

Reviews

Franchise-Wide planning for OKRs usually happens annually. On the location-level, frachisors can choose Annual Objectives or Quarterly Objectives. Finding the right rhythm depends on how quickly your target market changes or if your business deals with more uncertainty than most.

If you are new to the process, setting an Annual rhythm can be a good start. Either way, engaging in monthly or quarterly reviews of goals with franchisees is helpful.

Tracking

Having OKRs in a central location is key to the process as is tracking them every step of the way. This way, you can see a history of check-ins, and understand what was discussed in previous meetings. FranchiseBlast’s Business Plan application is a fantastic tool to further this goal. Click here to learn more about Business Plans in FranchiseBlast.



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