Category

Franchise Coaching

13 Interesting Quotes for Franchisors and Coaches

By | Franchise Coaching, Franchise Operations
quotes for franchisors

If you are looking for words of encouragement in your career in franchising, take a look at some of the quotes to help you get through the day. Some of these quotes for franchisors will make you think… and some of them will make you smile!

“Leadership is a process, not a position, and is ultimately and always about producing results with and through others.” – Jim Sullivan

“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.” – Maya Angelou 

“If you want something to happen it will take twice as long as you expect, if you don’t want something to happen, it will happen in half the time.” – Jim Sullivan 

“It is not enough to do your best; you must first know what to do and then do your best.” – W. Edwards Deming 

“If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese Proverb

“Multi unit leadership is like wearing a Speedo to the beach. Anyone can, but not everyone should.” – Jim Bueld 

“The people who truly make a difference in our lives are rarely those with the most hype, the most money, the biggest brains, or the largest accolades. The people who make differences in our lives are the ones who truly care.” – Unknown 

“Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” – Jim Sullivan 

“Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together.” – Brene Brown 

“Advice is like snow – the softer it falls, the deeper it goes.” – Jim Sullivan 

“How well you communicate is measured not by what you say but by how well you are understood.” – Jim Sullivan 

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt 

“Business is like a Dylan song; you don’t have to understand it to like it.” – Jim Sullivan 



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7 Things You Can Do to Achieve Franchise Goals

By | Franchise Coaching

“A company – and a region or territory – has a lifecycle that apes a humans,” says Jim Sullivan in Multi-Unit Management. “Infant, youth, adult, middle age, maturity. Each stage of this growth curve brings with it different leadership, knowledge and resource needs based on a company’s maturity and growth stage.” Leadership is therefore situational, and like a player coach, the Franchise Business Coach (FBC) needs to have different playbooks for different situations. In the tips that follow, we will go through 7 experienced-based tips on setting franchise goals from leaders in our franchising community.

1. Think Big When Setting Franchise Goals

According to Harvard Business Review, “High goals generate greater effort than low goals, and the highest or most difficult goals produce the greatest levels of effort and performance.” According to Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham, two of the best known academic researchers on goal setting, difficult, goals produce the highest levels of effort and performance.

2 Work Backwards From Your Goal

Visualization is a powerful tool in goal-setting. Imagine the world two years from now, where the goal is achieved. What steps would you need to get there? Some people see success as busy-ness, but so many FBCs are going 100 MPH in every direction. Sure, they look busy, but at the end of the day, they are not getting things done and worse, their regions are going nowhere, fast. Work smart and not hard. Figure out the end-game and determine the best path to get there.

3. Understand Your Franchisee’s Ecosystem

Are you an “environmentalist”? Context is key to help your franchisees in their goals. “To consistently be a goal getter, multi-unit managers should always consider how a policy or procedural change brought about by new policies, technology, competition, marketing, diversity and in-store leadership (or lack of it) will affect the internal “eco-systems” of each store,” says Sullivan. “An ‘environmentalist’ MUM clearly understands the unique inter-connectedness of people and processes at each store they supervise and how modifying one facet of its eco-system (equipment, training, talent, policy, procedure or resources) might positively or adversely affect other facets of operations.”

4. Hit Financial Targets by Conveying the Big Picture

Set your franchisees up for success by sharing the “why” behind the “what.” A real leader will help build their replacement, instead of trying to make themselves one-of-a-kind. Teaching others will create a culture of excellence and continuous improvement across the organization.

5. No Chipped Paint, All the Horses Jump

As Walt Disney developed his theme parks, he wanted to create a magical experience for people that came to the park, after a disappointing experience on a carousel with his own family with broken down horses and some of them frozen on the spot. “It is said he had a hand-painted sign over his desk that read ‘No Chipped Paint. All the Horses Jump.'” says Sullivan. “The little things mean a lot, don’t compromise your standards, know your non-negotiables, and never underestimate the importance of the mundane.”

6. Embrace Change

Changing with the times is a the hallmark of a FBC who goes for the goal. In this age of digital disruption, and “retailocalypse”, accepting and embracing the new is key.

7. Live Your Passion

According to Sullivan, “the most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” Customers want to patronize inspired companies, with leaders that “light the way with a blowtorch, bringing energy and fun to the experience.” Employees want to find meaning in their day-to-day. If that is not you, your customers and employees may find somewhere else to go that lights up their motivation.

Last Word

The best way to help your franchisees reach their goals is to measure performance along the way. Take a look at FranchiseBlast’s leading performance tools to grow your franchisees and make a positive difference in your system.



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How to be a Collaborative Franchise Coach

By | Franchise Coaching, Franchise Culture
collaborative franchise coach

The Collaborative Franchise Coach

Franchise coaches bridge a lot of gaps, including:

  • Franchisor and franchisee
  • Franchisee and key departments, such as Marketing
  • Crew members and training resources

The word synergy has fallen out of fashion in recent years, but the spirit of it of the sum of parts being greater than the whole is still going strong in the franchising community. Explore some of the ideas below to see how you can build more collaboration, and more effectiveness, into your role.

Look Below the Iceberg

As you take a look at a problem that you observe, you want to look into the root causes of each. Sometimes, the problem is shallow and a simple fix works well. But, other times, the problem is part of a something bigger – it is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, a franchisee may have their Holiday season promotion up in February – and who wants to see Santa when you are still paying the bills and losing the weight after an indulgent season? So – the simple solution is to get them to take it down and update it with the healthy winter promotion. But, what happens if it hits summer, and you as the coach see the February promotion sitting there? So – in this case, the wrong seasonal LTO is the top of the iceberg. Below the iceberg could be the following:

  • Maybe there needs to be training on obtaining and updating the promotion.
  • Perhaps the franchisee does not see the LTO as important – so it is a lack of priorities around it.
  • It could be that there is a weak relationship with the coach and they can say “yes” in the moment, but he or she does not respect the coach enough to actually follow through.
  • Finally, there could be a culture of “don’t care” going on in the case of a combative relationship between franchisor and franchisee.

There are many other things that could be under the iceberg. It is up to a smart coach and team to figure those out using both experience and intuition.

Focus on the Shift

Everything comes down to the shift – that is the simplest way to create more connections. Although many are “allergic” to math, connecting the math to the product can create a surprising level of motivation.

Numbers

Imagine you have a revenue goal of $5,000. Your crew can see that number, and maybe even remember it, but it may not translate into results until you give it meaning. To break it down, you can do the following:

  • Imagine you are a donut shop with a breakfast and lunch shift. In a month with 30 days, you can break that revenue goal down into $83/shift ($5,000/60=$83.)
  • Say your donut shop has a price for $11.95 for a dozen, 6.75/half-dozen and $2.35 for a large coffee. So – you could break it down to aiming to get 3 customers to buy a dozen more donuts, 3 to buy 1/2 dozen and 12 to buy large coffees.
  • Now, wheels can start turning. A guy who has a gift for connecting with customers, can recommend the delicious new cinnamon donuts for a customer who is getting snacks for a meeting – and boom! one of the dozens is complete. A crew member who is popular in the community invites a group of hockey moms to the shop for a coffee-chat – boom! the 12 coffee goal is complete. The guy delivering an Amazon order dwells near the donuts and is noticed by the associate at the counter – boom! another 1/2 dozen is sold. Accomplishing goals is better with everyone on board in a real way, and you can enjoy the victory together by offering recognition or even simple incentives.

Day Of

According to Jim Sullivan in Multi Unit Leadership, “many never consider the architecture of the revenue-generating shift and how managers need to vary their approach and style to effectively get the most out of each. It’s time our managers stop “running” shifts… and begin leading them. See the excellent video below for more tips on shift management.

Ask Purposeful Questions

Imagine you have a coach and a franchisee interacting. The coach imparted his knowledge at length, and came out of the conversation feeling like he had made an strong, meaningful change in the franchisee’s life. The franchisee, on the other hand, came out of the conversation feeling like the coach talked a lot, and he didn’t get a chance to share his biggest concern. The point is, no matter how brilliant or insightful the coach’s words were, they fall flat if the franchisee does not receive them. That is where purposeful questions come in. Here are some questions that Sullivan recommends:

  • What do you need to accomplish? Why is that important? How do you know? 
  • What do you think might be getting in the way of your success. How would you know? 
  • How would you know whn you were successful? What would it look like? 
  • Why do you think it is a problem? Have you noticed it before? If so, for how long? 
  • How have you addressed the problem? What happened? Why do you think that occurred? What if we can’t find a solution? 
  • How could you approach the problem differently to attain a different outcome? What are we assuming? 
  • What don’t you know that might be helpful to resolve the problem(s)?
  • What do you need from me to help you? How will you use that? 
  • What do your junior managers need? Why? What are their major obstacles? How do you know? 

This is not to say the coach is not to speak when there is a point to make. It is a balancing act between asking questions and speaking.

Last Word

The franchise coach’s role is known as the hardest job in franchising. While that pressure, sometimes there is a sense of needing to “know everything.” But there is a freedom to collaborating and connecting – it is the freedom to find answers and do the work together. It is also the freedom to share responsibility for the success that you build together as a team.



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Crucial Elements of Franchise TLC (Teaching, Leading, Coaching)

By | Franchise Coaching

Veterans of the franchise community know that the franchisee dynamic is different than that in the corporate environment. Rules are not followed automatically as a matter of course. There is a need to convince and find agreement.

According to Jim Sullivan’s practical book Multi-Unit Leadership, “Excellent companies don’t believe in excellence – only in constant improvement, constant change and constant training.” With this in mind, franchisee leadership is a thinking job, not a doing job. It is not an autocratic role for what food service Toni Quist calls “Inspect, Direct and Correct”.

The role of a Franchisor is to be a teacher, trainer and motivator. People come to the role with natural strengths, so as you read the below, keep those in mind, and see how you can strengthen them. Otherwise, you may come to the role with a need to learn. These tips on Franchise TLC should help you fill the gaps.

Teaching

A franchise leader has opportunities to teach franchisees every day, and every communication, including text, e-mail, store visits and e-mails can represent a potential training opportunity. That is why the “T” is for training in Franchise TLC.

Engage in Blended Learning

For every training objective that you have, it is a good idea to have three learning activities to support it. Sullivan calls it the “three-to-one rule of teaching.” For example, if you want people to get better at Online Marketing, you can ask them to watch a video from Google, do an exercise on managing vendors and answer question after reading through a case-study. To learn more about financials, working through a spreadsheet, doing a quiz then coaching with someone on your finance team is much more powerful than a monologue-style lecture.

Subject Matter Expertise Round Robin

Are you looking for a simple way to be a learning organization without wasting a lot of time? With just one hour a week on Fridays, your team can spend independent time growing the organization’s learning and connect that with the rest of the team. Each quarter, you can assign a key subject area to a franchisee in a given region such as hiring, retention, training, safety, marketing or service, for example. Once a quarter, hold a group webinar where the results are shared among each other. As the expertise rotates, different people will bring different perspectives, creating an interesting learning organization.

Leading

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things,” said Ronald Reagan. “He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” Let’s walk through the “L” in Franchise TLC, Leading.

Define Symbols and Rituals

How does your franchise organization recognize achievements in terms of sales, service or teamwork? Whether it is certificate, pins, mentions at group meetings or even awards at the annual convention, it is a good idea to make a big deal out of achievement. After all, the more that you reinforce a behavior, the more of it you will get.

Getting unique symbols from your franchise’s own history  can also be an interesting exercise. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure social media pictures are also saved to a shared drive. In 5-10 years, those will be “history”!
  • Archive old menu editions, franchisee manuals, employee newsletters and other documentation.
  • Do a “call out” to franchisees to share the unique stories going on at their location. This can turn into classic tales of selfless service later.
  • Do a photo collage at head office showing key milestones such as first franchise, first recognition of diversity, 1,000th truck, first master franchise etc. This gives the feeling of being part of something bigger.
  • For key awards at conference, such as “franchisee of the year”, create a photo collage. It can be fun, if someone is a multiple winner, to show them going through life’s natural passages of time (though they may not always love the “crow’s feet” decorating the corners of their eyes, they will love the memories.)

Remember “SWAWC”

“When does somebody finally ‘get it’”, says Sullivan. “It all depends on how self-motivated they are to learn whatever it is you want them to “get.” Although, as a leader, you feel the pressure to motivate others, the hard truth is that people are self-motivated. That is why the acronym So What Who Cares (SWAWC) matters. When working with a group, imagine a cynical member asking that question, and find the answer. Once you determine the SWAWC, you can “meet your people where they are” and create positive change.

franchise knowledge gap

Coaching

Planting seeds of knowledge in the future is much more efficient than living in “reaction mode” and fixing problems from the past. Coaching is the “C” in Franchise TLC.

Assess Knowledge Gaps

Sullivan says, “Head Coaches start by assessing and clearly defining what their team already knows, what their team doesn’t know and what their team doesn’t know what they don’t know.” Assessing these knowledge gaps, the coach can create a game plan to realistically prioritize development needs and focus.

Tough on Standards, Easy on People

“Don’t confuse being disciplined with being a jerk,” Sullivan says wisely. A franchisor staff does not compromise on brand standards but is kind to the people involved. It is also a good idea not to focus exclusively on the weaknesses of your franchisees – you want to help them enhance their strengths as well, so they can be “the best of the best”.

Last Word

To stay competitive today, it is critical to keep learning alive in order to stay on track. “Coaching is another way of serving,” says Sullivan. “It’s a way of listening, nurturing, of passing on the lessons learned from experience to those who look to us for leadership.” Continuous improvement is about maturing within the organization and letting that wisdom contribute to everyone involved, while enjoying the journey.



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12 Surprising Things You Can Do On Your Next Franchisee Visit

By | Field Audits, Franchise Coaching
Franchisee Visit

A visit from an Franchise Business Consultant (FBC) can stir up a lot for a franchisees. Some can see the FBC as a checklist-wielding intruder, while others may see it as a major disruption, like the Kool-Aid man bursting into the side of their operations when they are trying to get stuff done. While using your checklist is needed, why not provide them with some surprise value during the franchisee visit? Check out the tips below to learn more.

Your Next Franchisee Visit

It’s Not What You Think 

1. Recognize Good Performance

A powerful, but underutilized tool is recognition. During your visit, the franchise and their team may think you are going to “catch them doing something wrong.” What if instead… you “catch them doing something right”? Reading out an e-mail from a happy customer, or a nod of appreciation from the President or one of the Directors of the organization can go a long way. Some franchisors even send their FBCs on the road with travelling trophies. After your visit is over, a thoughtful and gracious e-mail, text or even some fun and memorable photos circulated on social media or on your internal message board can be powerful. You can also provide some recognition to the hourly team such as a verbal thank you, an Amazon gift card or a “shout out” on Social Media.

2. Teach to Fail Forward

“When challenges and problems occur, find a lesson,” says Jim Sullivan in his game-changing book Multi Unit Leadership. “Find the lesson, share it with your team and discuss how to prevent the problem from occurring again. Problems are opportunities to learn from not get upset about.” Taking this approach will get your franchisee and their team to step back, and hopefully realize that you are there to help, not judge.

3. Know Details Matter

Have you ever guessed on the cleanliness of the restaurant as a whole based on the standard of clean you see in the washroom? Reminding the franchisee that the details matter is a great message from an FBC when conducting an audit. It is easy to let things slide a bit as an operator, and having a different set of eyes can make a big difference. For example, when you walked in, did the first person you meet greet you with a welcoming smile, or were they focused in on their phone? A customer, who has driven 20-30 minutes, past dozens of restaurants, would have that same experience – whether good or bad.

4. Be a Thermostat, not a Thermometer

Jim Sullivan talks about the idea of controlling the temperature, instead of reflecting it. While you want to meet the franchisee where they are, you also want to be the voice of reason. If you are getting as “hot” or as “cold” they are, you are not going to help. Having some self control, and remembering professional boundaries creates a win-win all around.

5. Consciously Collaborate

Like it or not, with Social Media and our “always on” society, our world is more and more collaborative. Information does not flow from the top down anymore; instead it flows bottom-up and laterally. Instead of resisting this idea, roll with it. Consciously collaborating means that you help the crew be a team feel energized after your visit and there is a little more glue connecting them together. You can also create collaboration with their fellow franchisees or other people who can broaden their professional or personal expertise.

6. Put a Loudspeaker on Great Ideas

When you see great ideas at play on your field visit, why not amplify them, and share them with the rest of the system? Of course, you only want ideas that don’t go against brand standards but it can be surprising how creative great operators can be within them. Don’t forget that for McDonald’s, Ronald McDonald, the Big Mac and the Egg McMuffin were all franchisee ideas. From Marketing to operations, there are ideas you could take and run with.

7. Judge People on their Best Days

Have you ever felt unfairly judged by someone? It is a sinking feeling, which you may be unconsciously be creating for your franchisees. “Be balanced, be fair, observe often,” said Sullivan. “And consider all the grey areas before you make a decision in either black or white.”

8. Encourage Excellence

While you want to create an atmosphere of acceptance, at the same time, you want to follow the management precept of being “hard on issues, and soft on people.” That means that if you see food being prepared at a level 10/10, encourage that again. Don’t forget that being on a “dream team” feels much better than being considered second-rate.

9. Foster Financial Goals

Unit Level Economics is a hot issue at franchise conferences because it matters from both a franchisee and franchisor perspective. Franchisors are typically paid on revenue, which can create a perception among franchisees of even the most well-meaning of head office teams. Helping your franchisee meet or exceed profitability targets will show that you are there to help in the most meaningful way possible.

10. Create a Not-to-do List

Productivity experts such as Tim Ferriss talk about having a not-to-do list. In fact, these can raise performance more than adding more to your schedule.  That list will demonstrate that you are not there to put more on an already full plate. You are there to help them succeed.

11. See Service through the Customer’s Eyes

It helps to see the operation from a customer’s point of view, rather than through that of the manager’s or staff. After all, a great customer experience, may not be what you think it is.

“Not having to ask for anything,” says Sullivan. “Is the ultimate definition of customer service. Most customers don’t actually ‘want service’. Based on the thousands of customer we interview annually for the service projects we do for clients, what customers want first and foremost from business is to eliminate dissatisfaction. Yep, that’s right. They don’t want ‘excellence’, to be ‘wowed’, ‘delighted’, ‘blown away,’ or whatever the service buzzword du jour is. Customers want consistent positive experiences characterized by the absence of complaints.

12. Mind the Gap in Alignment

“Mind the Gap” is something you see at the subway station, but that advice is also good for FBCs. An exercise, suggested by Sullivan, may be exactly what you need for your next franchisee visit.

  1. Before your visit, answer the following questions: 1) what are my customer’s top ten complaints? 2) what are my customers top ten expectations? Be sure to write down your answers.
  2. Ask the franchisee, their managers and the hourly associates the same two questions.
  3. Your service challenges and opportunities will become crystal clear, comparing the synchronicity, overlap and/or disconnect among the different groups.

Last Word

Looking for more ways to enhance your service? Check out our 5 Boosts eBook on how to enhance your Franchise Audit at every phase.



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Recruit the Ultimate Franchise Business Coach (FBC)

By | Franchise Coaching, Human Resources
Recruit Franchise Business Coach

The Franchise Business Coach (FBC) can make or break a franchise organization. As Jim Sullivan says in his seminal book Multi Unit Leadership:

“The best multi unit managers work wonders, bringing consistency to chaos, building bottom lines, wringing good things from bad locations, and strengthening the span of control between the owner and operations. The worst can just as easily bring the company down through inattention, inexperience and ineptitude, forgetting that all operation problems boil down to people problems.”

Like Multi Unit Managers, Franchise Business Coaches are key to helping franchises succeed, but finding the right one, and training them appropriately is not an easy task. Check out the tips below on recruiting the ultimate FBC, and setting them up for success.

Franchise Business Coach (FBC) Recruitment Process

Write a Killer Job Description

Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and beyond still dream about the “killer app” but, what does it take to have a “killer job description” for a Franchise Business Coach? It is all about people. In a nutshell, in 2020, fashion mavens may tell you that sage green is the new black. But business experts will say that marketing is the new recruiting. As a result, recruitment has surprising similarities to marketing copy. Here are some tips for a killer job description:

  • Do your research: According to Sullivan, “talk to people who have already ‘bought’ your product (your current team members). Find out why people want to work for your company; is it the culture, growth, people, pay?”
  • Be descriptive yet concise: As an employer, it is important for your employees to understand their role from day one. It is better to overcommunicate than undercommunicate.
  • Hire for culture: Are you a “sales first” culture? Then talk about that in your description. Are you driven by a deep entrepreneurial spirit at the office? Put that in there. You want to hire for culture, otherwise, the person could create some unwanted waves.
  • Focus on benefits: If there was one nugget of information from a career in Marketing, it is to focus on benefits instead of features. For example, Uber’s job description focuses on money, flexibility and “no boss”. When people are seeking work, they are looking for “what’s in it for me” so empathy is a good skill to draw on when building your description.

Screening Candidates

Now that you have your description, you can begin screening Franchise Business Coach candidates. Traditionally, this starts with a phone interview, then gets whittled down to face-to-face. Since candidates will be remote, some opt for video interviews either as the first or second stage. Creating a team is like crafting a meal – you want to have all of the elements balanced for it to be delicious. So – for a “dream team”, you want to think of how the skills of the FBC connect with the Director of Operations.

Some people opt putting this dream team on paper, sketching out the skills of each team member. FBC candidates can come from inside or outside of the organization. The ones from outside may bring in new skills and a broader perspective; they will also bring both good and bad habits.  So keep in mind that those outside hires may need less step-by-step guidance, but more indoctrination into the culture.

Selecting

According to Sullivan, “people are not your greatest asset, the right people are.” You can never be too picky – the franchising community has long held onto the axiom “hire slowly, fire quickly”. With 90% of candidates C and D players, you want that A or B player urgently. Because realistically, a C or D player does not surround themselves with A players so a FBC with recruitment responsibilities will have an exponential effect in either direction. After the selection is complete, you can offer employment.

Onboarding

A widely recognized challenge in the world of FBCs is the lack of formal training available. An FBC is part coach, part manager and part auditor. This multifaceted role means that already defined training program will not reach. The sad truth is, that often people new to the organization will get a one-day driving tour a training binder and an org chart as their orientation. Then, it is trial by fire. Alternately, here are some best practices when it comes to onboarding:

  • Assess both the knowledge base and the knowledge gaps of each new hire. Role plays, case studies, interviews and questionnaires can be used to test knowledge and motivation given the work setting.
  • Executives should share their long-term visions giving the new hire the same information as the current FBCs have. This will give them insight into their future responsibilities and assess their own physical, mental and emotional abilities in the new role.
  • Consider mentoring your FBC an ongoing process. The orientation process should start with a thoughtful 30, 60 and 90-day onboarding plan. Having both vertical (bosses) and horizontal mentors who have some coaching skills can also be a great help.
  • With the supervisor, the FBC can review the following:
    • Quarterly business plans: the good, the bad, and the difference between the two.
    • Sample visit: review how much time the FBC is expected to spend at their stores and conduct a sample site visit using your mobile operations field audit app. Time should be spent afterwards debriefing and deconstructing the visit.
    • Strategy: the supervisor and the new FBC should do a SWOT analysis on each location and discuss the idiosyncrasies of the location and the history of the surrounding market. Looking at analytics based on previous store visits is a great benefit, using your operations software.

According to Sullivan’s research, coaches that take outside training courses annually perform better, produce more and stay with their companies longer.

The Next Step

Are you ready to take the next step? Check out our eBook, 5 Ways to Boost the Impact of Your Franchise Field Audit.



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357 Franchise Field Audit Questions

By | Franchise Audits, Franchise Coaching

Are you looking for inspiration on your field audits? You are not alone. In fact, people have been asking for audit question resources since we started the company 12 years ago.

  • To meet the demand, we created a comprehensive resource, where you will get sample questions from the top franchisors around the world, and much more:
    357 Field Audit Questions including Customer Service, Marketing, Food Safety and Quality, Cleanliness and Management.
  • How to make sure that your questions link back to your processes.
  • How to “audit your audit”, ensuring it is as effective as possible.
  • Where to find your processes – it is easier than you think!

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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57 Management Field Audit Questions Your Franchise Needs to Know

By | Franchise Audits, Franchise Coaching

What is a core value that franchisors bring to franchisees? Management, training and systems including Human Resources (HR). Any franchise field audit is not complete without this section included. This post is part of a series on audit questions, that also included:

To wrap this incredibly popular series up, we examined over a dozen audit questionnaires, and found the following great questions that you can add to your audit:

Procedures

  1. Is there a program in place to ensure daily cleanliness, including checklists?
  2. Are monthly inventory counting procedures being completed and records retained?
  3. Is the location using the CRM, and do they have a dedicated CRM person in place?
  4. Are bank deposits made on time?
  5. Management actively monitors culture, and takes steps to further develop a positive one consistent with that of Home Office.
  6. Is there a “complaints or compliments” file?
  7. Adequate travel time in place for all schedules.
  8. Are staffing ratios to standard?

Communications

  1. Are all technical alerts from Home Office being signed for when required?
  2. Are Home Office communications being held and documented?
  3. Does the business owner and management communicate in a respectful manner towards the Home Office staff?
  4. Client schedules sent to staff by Wednesday of every week.
  5. Call monitoring system is in place.

Team Communications

  1. Is the 7 Steps Poster displayed in the center for all staff to see?
  2. Has every member of staff signed a copy of the Rules of Engagement document with copies kept in the center?
  3. Emergency phone numbers listed.
  4. Are team meetings being regularly scheduled?
  5. Are policies and procedures easily accessible?
  6. Does the management team have dependable and regular communication with the owner?
  7. Is the business owner physically in the location on a regular basis?

Compliance

  1. Are all necessary state inspections up to date?
  2. Is there an inspection rating posted in a prominent location?
  3. Is the insurance certificate displayed?
  4. Is payroll compliant with applicable regulations, corporate policy and completed on time as required?
  5. Is the location generally in good standing with the Home Office, financial or otherwise?
  6. Is the location generally in good standing with all strategic partners?
  7. Are finances analyzed on a monthly basis with deficient areas highlighted in action plans?
  8. Are there any specific significant deficiencies that require urgent attention? If so, please describe them here along with a plan on how to address them.

Performance

  1. Is KPI information in use?
  2. Are monthly management financials being sent to Home Office within the appropriate timeline?
  3. Is the franchise business plan reviewed, updated and submitted by March 31st of each year?
  4. Is the minimum performance criteria of 85% of urgent orders completed within one hour?
  5. Are task audits being conducted?
  6. Are there any corporate orders over 1-month old with no action-items in the CRM?
  7. Does management know how the store is trending relative to the current month’s sales targets?
  8. Does management know what last week’s sales were?
  9. Does management know how their store’s performance compares to similar ones?
  10. Are finances analyzed on a monthly basis
  11. Are staff scheduled based on projections?
  12. Review franchisee’s cash flow projections to ensure that they have adequate funds to cover expenses during the summer.

HR and Training

  1. Are all hiring and recruiting processes being followed?
  2. Do all staff have a contract of employment?
  3. Have all staff received and signed for an employment handbook?
  4. Review all job descriptions.
  5. Are job descriptions available to all staff?
  6. All new hire paperwork and background check processed before staff begin training?
  7. Are all performance reviews filled out and turned in on schedule?
  8. Are all personnel files secured in a locked filing cabinet?
  9. Management is following all current mandatory corporate compensation and benefitspolicies including extended health benefits, wages, commissions etc.
  10. Management is in accordance with human rights and employment standards of the region.
  11. Every team member has enrolled in team training and is either on track to, or has already finished their learning plan.
  12. Technical training is occurring on a quarterly basis.

Health and Safety

  1. All accidents being recorded in the center accident book and previous entries available.
  2. Have there been any lost time accidents within the last 12 months?
  3. Is there an appointed First Aider – is the ratio appropriate and information available to all staff?
  4. Emergency phone numbers listed?
  5. Was the safe locked upon arrival?

Last Word

Franchisee audits are much easier when you have the right tools in place. Check out FranchiseBlast’s Auditing software for more information.



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How Franchisors are Managing Franchisee Fraud

By | Franchise Coaching, Franchise Fraud

Before getting into franchising, you may have had an image of what would happen if you were to catch someone committing fraud within your business. Picture a Law & Order episode, where the person committing fraud is on the stand, peppered with questions until they confess in a dramatic fashion.

But, after spending some time in franchising, you likely have realized that this is not how things go – because relationships are everything. After our popular articles on 4 ways franchisees commit fraud and how to detect fraudulent acts, we decided to add some insights on how franchisors are handling fraud once it is found.

A Family Dispute

Most franchise systems operate as families. The annual convention can feel like a family reunion. Longstanding friendships are formed beyond business, and there can be relationships, and even marriages between franchisees. As a result, franchisors and franchisees know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They also know how to push each other’s buttons.

A fraud can then seem like a family dispute. And, far from being a “bad guy” franchisees who are committing fraud can simply be in a difficult financial situation based on a spouse’s job loss or unexpected medical bills, for example. On top of this, franchisees, especially those that commit fraud, can be highly leveraged.

A View from the Outside

Customers often have a fuzzy understanding of the relationship between franchisor and franchisee. After all, they may simply enjoy your food, and don’t need to understand the inner workings of your business. As a result, a loud and public dispute could have a negative impact on the local business, and others in the region or nation, not to mention the brand as a whole – potentially creating a self-inflicted wound. Suppliers can also get a negative perception of an internal dispute.

The Risk of Not Acting

As a result of the “family” issue, and the customer issue, sometimes fraud when discovered, goes unmentioned. In fact, a known fraud can justify poor treatment of a franchisee, or other franchisees can take notice, creating an erosion of respect and even loyalty.

Mediation

Often, the best resolution is to work together. According to law firm Nixon Peabody,

“In most instances, brand value can be preserved by quickly channeling a dispute through mediation – with all the major constituents present at the table. This type of intervention often leads to results-oriented solutions without suppliers or customers ever becoming aware of the dispute. A successful mediation can result in a successful business transaction, such as the sale of the franchisee’s locations, that can further bolster the brand’s strength. The earlier the third party is brought in to expedite the negotiated business resolution, the better it will be for the brand and the bottom lines for all concerned. “

Information is Power

While managing this situation, having a paper trail through a series of audits and corrective actions, for example, can strengthen the process. Additionally, having a record of good faith, such as a franchise coach taking an active role in helping the franchisee, can make a big difference. FranchiseBlast’s Brand Consistency software can help create that digital record.



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