Category

Franchise Coaching

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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Which Tool is Right for your Franchisee Comeback Plan?

By | Franchise Audits, Franchise Coaching

Much of the franchising world went on lockdown in the Spring of 2020. As franchisors set their sights on reopening the economy, we received a few requests on which of our modules (field audits, self-assessments, polls, projects, business plans, etc.) are the best to use for their scenarios in the new world.

Overview

Coach Interactions

If the coaches are driving a short interaction, call, audit or review with a franchisee, you should use a field audit. This is the baseline tool for coach-driven scenarios.

The exception is if you want to record an interaction and keep it confidential – meaning you do not want the franchisee to see it. In that case, you would use a comment in the info depot or on the franchisee’s record within your system. 

Franchisee Interactions

If the franchisee is the one who is initiating the interaction, then the baseline is a self-assessment – an audit where the franchisee is empowered to fill it out themselves.

Conversely, if the interaction is critically important and the franchisor needs to have visibility into the result for risk mitigation or other legal purposes, and you will be requiring all units to fill it out, you should launch the a poll. This adds accountability that everyone fills it out. It is especially helpful if there is an expectation to fill it out on a recurring basis.

Mixed Interactions

If you are doing an interaction that involves many stakeholders over a process that takes several months with a guaranteed outcome (such as a grand reopening), you should be doing a Project that creates tasks for accountability.

If the coach is defining a strategy collaboratively with the franchisee, and you can setup a process to review how they are doing versus this strategy over several months, you should use a Business Plan.

Sample Mini Case Studies

Protective Gear Installation

Problem: We want to make sure franchisees have installed new plexiglass and signage for reopening procedures. We are 100% sure that the franchisees can follow through with this.

Solution: A self-assessment if franchisees are self-starters and a poll if accountability is a top concern.

Operational Changes

Problem: I want to make sure franchisees are ready to follow the new operational procedures for online ordering and delivery.

Solution: A self-assessment if franchisees are self-starters and a poll if accountability is a top concern.

Remodelling to Support Online Ordering and Pick-up

Problem: Each unit will need to be remodelled to support online ordering.
Solutions: Self-assessment if your goal is check the completion of it. It could also be a Project if it is a lengthy complex process involving many teams.

Business Continuity

Problem: I want to make sure my franchisees survive the crisis. As a way to support them, we’ll be talking on a monthly basis.
Solution: If you just want to record the interactions and take the pulse of the franchisee, use a Field Audit. If you are willing to get more involved and formal, Business Plans are appropriate. The latter is a living document that is evolved as you progress through the various initiatives defined in the plan.

Last Word

Supporting franchisors and franchisees with different scenarios around opening in each system, and across region requires agility and flexibility. If this post has been supportive to your efforts, feel free to post on Social Media.



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How COVID-19 Shot Franchising Three Years into the Future

By | Artificial Intelligence, Franchise Coaching

Before the world was hit by a pandemic, I had been thinking about how franchising will evolve over the next five to ten years. In particular, I had been thinking about the evolution of the role of the Franchise Business Consultant (FBC), given how over 100 franchise brands rely on our technology for their franchisee coaching. 

In chatting with some franchise family, I realized that franchising had been shot three years into the future, figuratively speaking. I think the pandemic will accelerate certain trends and wanted to share these thoughts with you. That being said, I encourage you to challenge my ideas and help refine this projection of the future of franchising.  

Dynamic #1: Weaker Businesses Are Going to Close 

It is sad to say, but several businesses will not make it through the current quarantine. I’m an optimist with regards to what will come after this pause, but short term I am a realist that several businesses are just not strong enough to survive due to weak margins and poor cash flow management. This is especially true in the restaurant space, where over 11% of restaurant operators expect to permanently closed within the next 30 days 

However, with the government interventions, I believe this will be stretched out over a longer period. Several businesses will survive the quarantine, but the wheels will have been set in motion to force their closure within a year or so. Businesses that will be so strapped for cash will be unable to market or maintain operations to a decent level, gradually eroding their business. Not only will consumers be more cautious about their expenses (thus fewer customers to service), the ones which remain will visit the businesses marketing more aggressively.  

Dynamic #2: The Rise of the Multi-Unit Operator 

Multi-unit operators have been growing for years and now own more than half of all franchise units. Economies of scale help make them sustainable businesses even with lower unit-level margins. Well-capitalized operators will scoop up the units that are having trouble staying afloat but still have potential to turn a profit. This will accelerate. This is perhaps the most profound trend with regards to the future of franchise coaching. 

Cash will continue to be cheap with very low interest rates continuing to facilitate their expansion. Post quarantine, many entrepreneurs will be looking for an out and they will be acquired at greatly reduced multiples.  

For the franchising business model, the combination of dynamics #1 and #2 will be a positive as larger systems will be better equipped to assist their operators in surviving than the regular “mom and pop shop” down the street. The overall diversity in the ecosystem will be reduced, but out of all the units that weather the storm, the overall proportion of franchised and corporate chains will be increased.  

Dynamic #3: Changes in the Talent Pool and Discretionary Income  

Overall, with all these units shuttering, franchise businesses should see a return to equilibrium with regards to the current labor shortage. This will help them put better staff in place, should reduce employee turnover and thus improve margins due to less time spent retraining.  

However, over the next 12 to 24 months, higher unemployment means that there will be less discretionary income to spend and that may negatively affect certain franchise verticals. This impacts the strategies business owners will need to put in place to attract customers.  

Dynamic #4: Increased Focus on Operational Efficiency 

Businesses will be put under greater pressure to maintain profitability. They will look at ways to run a tighter ship by simplifying their operations, investing in technology and cutting costs where possible. The ability to secure loans at low cost will accelerate the transition to new technologies.  

As an example, the pandemic will speed up the migration to order ahead in the restaurant space. The consumer will have had increased exposure to the technology during the quarantine. Furthermore, ordering on one’s device is much safer in the context of a pandemic than utilizing self-serve kiosks such as the ones installed by brands such as McDonald’s over the past few years, while offering up the same reductions in labor costs.  

Overall, this is good news for suppliers in the franchise space who focus on operational efficiency. The next few months will be tough for everyone in franchising, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

What Should a Franchisor do over the Next Two Years? 

A franchisor should align their Franchise Development teams towards conversions and resales. There will be many struggling single-unit operators looking for a way out (both in your franchise and outside). Prepare yourself to be more appealing for multi-unit operators. In certain verticals where your typical franchisee was laid off from corporate America, then you may see growth in greenfield locations but otherwise net new development may be reduced.  

Franchise marketing should focus on being there for their franchisees with a big push once the quarantine ends. It is counter-intuitive but it has been demonstrated that those who market aggressively during a recession not only outperform their competitors during the recession, but also afterwards thanks to the market share they have gained. With all these unit closures, it’s your chance to capture the audience who cannot remain at status quo.  

Franchise operations will unfortunately be taking a big hit in the short term. The C-Suite will want utilize whatever funds that are available to keep the development and marketing engines purring for the long-term viability of the company, and ask operations to take a bigger share of the cost cutting initiatives.  Overall, we will expand on this further in this article but we’ll see some operations teams abruptly cut in half whereas others will want to utilize technology to cut travel costs and make their coaches more impactful. 

What will Happen to the Role of the FBC over the Next 5 to 10 Years? 

The role of the FBC today is twofold. First, the coach ensures operational compliance. Second, they help the franchisees to improve performance. A decade ago, most FBCs were simply auditors. Today, every franchise is on a spectrum from cop to coach. Over the next decade, we believe the cop part of the job will have been automated and drastically streamlined. 

Compliance is important to protect everyone’s investment (especially in an age where social media can instantaneously kill your brand), but franchisors realized that their long-term viability required franchisees to be profitable, not just growing top-line revenue.  

Additionally, it is interesting to note that the average FBC works with 30 franchisees; and that is franchisees, not units, because an FBC maintains relationships. In a system with a higher density of multi-unit operators, you will find the average FBC oversees a greater number of actual units. The more sophisticated the operator, the higher-level the conversations. They are not asking an owner who runs 50 restaurants to change a lightbulb, they are talking about talent development for his next 5 units.  

Where does that lead us over the next 5 to 10 years? 

Here is what the automation of the cop part of the role will look like so that coaches can focus on relationships:    

  • Why bother going to visit a unit to check temperatures of various equipment? IoT devices already exist that broadcast all of this information into a central cloud and alert you when a refrigerator goes down and can automate your line checks.  
  • You don`t need to visit to see proper marketing campaign roll-out or cleanliness in a unit as self-assessments and webcams solve this problem. 
  • Artificial Intelligence is already used to ensure restaurant quality, ensuring things like portion control and adherence to recipes with picture taking, especially in the pizza category  
  • You won’t be monitoring cashier transactions as much, as the orders will flow through the consumer’s devices – but those non digital transactions can still be monitored by a microphone and some AI to compliance to upselling procedures  

Overall, it is not far fetched to think you can automate the most important base compliance aspects of a franchise.  

The coach part of job will remain, and will be more impactful than ever before in the following ways:   

  • The emotional connection of an owner with their coach will heighten in importance. The coach will understand the deep underlying motivations of the franchisees on a personal level. 
  • Travel will remain for that personal connection, but will be greatly reduced and replaced with technology such as Skype or Zoom meetings.   
  • Less travel time implies more coaching time, which implies more franchisees per coach. Tack on the impact of multi-unit operator and you’ll end up with more units per coach overall.   
  • Coaching requires lots of data analysis to figure out the primary areas of opportunity. The good news is technology will have streamlined and integrated lots of these data signals into a single platform to make it easier to digest.  
  • Some new platforms will be born out of the merger of many point-solutions in use today (the POS company will handle your POS, your digital menu boards, your order ahead, your marketing campaigns, etc. ) to make it easier for the coach to gain access to metrics in a timely manner.   
  • Artificial intelligence will analyze each franchisee`s weaknesses and provide insights about action plans to help address those weaknesses based on effectiveness of past suggestions by other coaches for these same issues. In essence, this will bake in the franchise system’s best practices into an actionable platform.  
  • There will be a rise in specialists at the franchisor level to assist generalist coaches. The coach will be able to tap into franchisor resources that are specialized in certain things (marketing or finance for example). The overall complexity of these tasks has increased so much over the years that the job is better executed centrally by a pro than distributed onto franchisees who are running their businesses. Additionally, it simplifies the unit-level operations and improves margins to shift these responsibilities.   

What do you think the future will look like? 

The pandemic will have a profound impact on our lives. That said, I personally don’t believe doomsday thinkers that think that people will suddenly stop going to restaurants or out for snacks. I think fundamental currents that were already under way will be accelerated due to the pause everyone will see in revenues for a few months.  However, I humbly admit that this is just one point of view and look forward to hearing your opinions and counter-arguments.  



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Bringing Your Work Home While Supporting Franchisees

By | Franchise Coaching, Franchise Engagement
bringing work home

We are in a time of unprecedented change. There is no simple guidebook on what to do next. Even the most dedicated Franchise Home Office Teams and Franchise Business Coaches (FBCs) are wondering how to keep supporting franchisees. The first priority is to respond and be there to help franchisees as they are coping with changes in their stores or regions or complying with new regulations such as going delivery and take-out only. There are also some things that you can do to help ease concerns:

Check In More

As human beings, we are social by nature. Increase number of one-on-one video or phone check-ins with franchisees to increase morale. Even if they have temporarily closed down their location, or have changed their operations, checking in will help them feel motivated, and part of an extended group.

Build Chat Communities

In a time of social isolation, connecting in the digital space can be a welcome substitute. Create a chat community with your franchisees, region or training group using Slack or Facebook Groups. This helps strengthen connections, and some franchisors pursuing this find that the franchisees may already have an informal one. While you can chat about business, you can also take a break and chat about your families, share pictures, humor, or even share heartwarming stories of people coming together. This also helps facilitate franchisees supporting each other.

Get Creative

When we are afraid, it is easy to get tunnel vision but sometimes opening up a bit can help you in supporting franchisees. Get creative on keeping spirits up. Some  are trying to instill a sense of camaraderie, such as setting up virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours, where people share a cocktail on Skype or Slack. It may feel a little weird, but everyone feeling weird together can be a way to bond.

Provide the right tools

In a time where it may not be possible to send FBCs on field visits, creating self-assessments or polls with images and videos can help franchisees be prepared. Please see our COVID-19 post for more information.



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5 Franchisee Coaching Tips for the Busy Holiday Season

By | Franchise Coaching, Franchise Engagement

The holiday season is upon us and it is a fantastic time for family get-togethers and celebrating traditions closest to our hearts. Surprisingly, holidays can be a good time for franchisee coaching as well. It is a way for you to connect and engage the franchisees that you work with.

It is well known that social connections at work promote all kinds of positive things including:

  • Increased happiness
  • Less stress
  • Increased engagement and loyalty
  • Healthier life

Social connections and relationships with franchisees create even more of what they need to succeed, including motivation and adherence to the system.

1. Celebrate Accomplishments

The end of the year is a time of reflection. If you have a franchisee who has made a major accomplishment, why not recognize it? “Celebrating” can be a strong word for it, because recognizing accomplishments can be as simple as picking up the phone and saying “I just realized that you had your best year ever, congratulations.” Then, when the person is at the friend and family get-togethers, they will bring that feeling with them or maybe let the people around them know how good their business is going! You can also hand-write it in a card, or bring up an accomplishment on a group call.

2. Inspire Positivity

The holidays can be that breath of fresh air during a difficult period as a franchisor. This is an opportunity to turn that situation around. Model positivity in your demeanor and communications for the holiday, and the warm fires of holiday kindness could melt the coldest of hearts.

3. Cultivate Connections

Holiday get-togethers are a great way to create community. Although many franchise organizations are remote, you can encourage franchisees in the same region to meet, then share pictures with everyone else. You can also meet locally with the folks in your backyard.

4. Encourage Giving Thoughtfully

Secret Santas are an office tradition. Did you know that there is now the capability to do remote Secret Santas as well? Applications like Elfster can simplify exchanges like this, making it easy to manage, and create surprising connections. Having group goals to raise money for charity, with a matching promise from the head office for every dollar that the franchisees raise can also be a way to give thoughtfully.

5. Utilize a Wellness Challenge

Franchisors across the spectrum are embracing wellness challenges to bring people together. Typically done around the New Year, this can be a creative and motivating undertaking. This is not just something that your franchisees can be a part of, but staff and crew can be in it too. There are many ways to do wellness challenges, but here are a few examples:

  • Do a “step” contest where participants wear pedometers for a set amount of time.
  • Have a “menu” of activities that people can do to qualify, getting “points” for each one. For example, an activity can be walking up three flights of stairs, going to the gym, or having a salad for lunch.
  • Encourage walking clubs for sedentary workers. Have a “team prize” for the most dedicated group, such as gift certificates to their neighborhood athletic store.

Last Word

The holidays are full of rituals that differ by both family and tradition. But, the thing that all of them have in common is bringing people together. Creating these holiday initiatives with your franchisees can become holiday traditions before you know it!


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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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