Category

Thought Leadership

Franchise Business Planning and Strategy

By | Franchise Business Plans, Thought Leadership
Business Planning and Strategy

We hear the words “strategy” and “planning” together all of the time. But, the truth in many franchise organizations is that the franchise business planning process, on the franchisee level, stands on its own, rather than being part of a larger whole. But having a plan isolated in its own silo will not help the company since business planning is part of a larger ecosystem. You can see elements of that system in the graphic below.

business planning and strategy

Vision

A vision statement is a declaration of where the company wants to go and is intended to be a guide for the company’s decision-making. Vision statements tend not to shift much over the life of the business. They are the “where” of strategic planning. According to the Corporate Finance Institute, Vision Statements should have the following characteristics:

  • Forward-looking
  • Motivating and inspirational
  • Reflective of a company’s culture and core values
  • Aimed at bringing benefits and improvements to the organization in the future
  • Defines a company’s reason for existence and where it is heading

The Vision Statement should then be connected to the objectives set in the franchise business planning process. Objectives will change from quarter to quarter and year to year, but the Vision will be consistent.

Core Values

Core values are the fundamental beliefs of the organization. They are the “why” of strategic planning. Today 80% of Fortune 100 companies publicly display their public values, and many franchisors do the same. They adorn front entrances, HR materials and presentations given to franchise candidates.

If core values are properly defined, it will foster a certain culture across the organization as people with the same values will:

  • Follow the same rules
  • Establish the same norms
  • Develop mutual respect
  • Have similar tolerances

Linking core values to franchise business planning is an excellent tool for motivation, since the hardest part about strategic planning is not necessarily figuring out what to do, it is how to align your franchisees and home office team around it.

Strategic Initiatives

Franchise business planning is clear way to put strategic initiatives into motion. For example, if you are transitioning to do more business off-premise, there could objectives from the following perspectives:

  • Marketing to let local customers know of this option, online and in the community
  • Training to help store staff learn new process around delivery
  • New packaging to help food stay crispy during delivery
  • Tours of facilities via video instead of face-to-face

Planning on the franchisee level helps you be a more consistent organization as you encounter changes.

Collaboration and Relationships

Sitting down on a quarterly or monthly basis, can be one of the most valuable activities that you provide to your franchisees. Creating two-way communication, where you are talking about their goals, especially when some of those are created together is powerful. If you reach the goals, you did it together. If you don’t, you will have some insight together.

Of course, collaboration does not happen unless there is some humility and a genuine desire to connect. But if it is there, it will pay back many times over for the franchisor.

Focused Communication

A problem in many franchise systems is an over-communication from home office. When there is too many e-mails, webinars and trainings, franchisees can become ‘numb’ and stop listening. Setting up a proper business plan reminds franchisors to keep focused on a few important things, and not burden franchisees with more.

Last Word

Before completing this exploration of Franchise Business Planning, there is one more idea. Paradoxically, sometimes processes can get in the way of what you want to do. For example, getting every single marketing piece approved can create a bottleneck, if the Marketing team is not appropriately staffed. Business Planning can also create problems, such as the following:

  • Trying to reach goals, when an unforeseen event has occurred, like a Natural Disaster or a Pandemic.
  • Sticking to old goals when there has been a disruptive innovation in the marketplace, such technology facilitating off-premise.
  • High sales expectations, that go unmet, can lead to overspending on staff or inventory

None of the above is intended as an argument to eliminate planning, they are things to keep in mind as throughout the process. In general, the business plan is part of a unique ecosystem in the franchise model. It sits within that ecosystem and is influences by its shifting nature.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.

Top 5 Reasons Why Franchisees are not Using your Fancy Analytics or Dashboard Solution

By | Franchisee Scorecard, Thought Leadership

In this information age, everyone talks about how you need to track everything in franchising. And you can! From click through rates (CTR) on your website to the cost per transaction, analytics are a great thing.

But even though we have the tools at our disposal and quite often even a dashboard with a summary of multiple facts of our business, we fail to really learn what they all mean. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees.

All this data is wasted.

As a franchise owner, you probably have invested both time and money into analytics and/or a dashboard solution to help your franchisees. You did this because you understand the positive impact they can have on any organization.

Done right, they can ultimately have a positive impact the bottom line.

So why aren’t your franchisees utilizing them?

There are five main reasons that may be holding your franchisees back from using data to really enhance their performance.

1.    Too Much Data

Have you ever driven by someone’s front lawn at Christmas where there are a huge amount of decorations and lights? While individually they look good, everything together is way too overwhelming.

That’s how many franchisees see their dashboards – information overload.

They don’t know where to focus. Experiencing “data overwhelm”, they choose to skip over it rather than try to make sense of it.

Take email for example. Workers spend 50% of their time just finding and reading emails. And with today’s inboxes getting overloaded with work emails and a large variety of ‘junk’ they get disorganized very quickly. In fact, 26% of all people want to delete their inbox and just start from scratch.

Just as we need to pare down the information that is received into our inbox, you need to reduce the amount of information shown on your franchisee’s dashboard.

For analytics to really be impactful, you need to narrow the data down to a few key pieces.

Choose information that they can act upon today. Think back to SMART goals:

  • Specific: it should be clear what you’re reviewing.
  • Measurable: if you can measure it, you can improve it.
  • Actionable: the scorecard should guide action; if you can’t impact it, don’t include it.
  • Relevant: if it’s not related to your objectives, it’s not important.
  • Time-specific: they should vary over time.

Narrowing the selection of analytics included on your Franchisee’s dashboard those that meet SMART requirements, can go a long way towards helping your Franchisees utilize them more frequently. They will see value in the data, not just numbers.

2.    It isn’t Actionable

How would you feel if your fitness coach said only tracked the number of pull-ups you could do?

It’s like telling your franchisee they had X number of customers last quarter. What is he supposed to take away from that? It’s not actionable.

Just as a coach needs to give his trainee advice that they can use to improve their performance, you need to do the same for your franchisees. Give them something they can focus on for the next period, otherwise the franchisees can experience “paralysis by analysis”.

One example of an actionable insight is the metric ‘discount percentage’. When benchmarked against other franchises, if yours is higher, you can take steps to decrease it.

Give your franchisees actionable data and show top weaknesses first, the first thing they need to address before moving onto something else.

Keep in mind that not all franchises are alike. If you are doing a comparison you, need to do so with an equivalent group. If some of your franchises are located in a food court and others are restaurant style, they shouldn’t be compared against each other. Try to keep comparisons fair, apples-to-apples. If it isn’t a fair comparison it will be ignored, and they may start to distrust the system.

3.    It Doesn’t Inspire Change

Everyone has a growing list of things to do, and as a business owner yours is possibly longer than most.

Because of this it’s easy to let your franchisees swim alone once they’ve had their training and are up and running. You assume that they’ll know how to use the information they get via analytics.

But they also have that ever-growing list.

And that information they want them to sift through? It just becomes another “job” on that list. Rather than helping them enhance their operations, it gets pushed aside for more pressing tasks because they don’t realize, or can’t interpret, the value it holds.

A bunch of facts and figures isn’t very inspiring to many.

To make it inspire change – keep the lines of communication open with the franchisees, and “shine the spotlight” on best practices.

  • 70% of workers said that they would work harder if their efforts were appreciated.
  • Engaged companies out-performed unengaged companies by 167%

The bottom line? Engage with your franchisees in more ways than just sharing numbers, show your appreciation of them with the entire Franchise. For example, instead of just displaying the franchises with the top sales numbers, remembering apples-to-apples, give the smaller franchises a chance to shine by also featuring the best young franchises, food court franchises etc.

4.    It’s not Timely

How many times have you heard “hindsight is 20/20”?

As a business owner you know how important it is to have up-to-date information as soon as it becomes available. You would get it yesterday if you could.

As a franchisee, getting information when it is too late is very discouraging. If their dashboard is full of old data, it does nothing for them. Even if it is ‘actionable’ if it’s outdated it won’t help them improve their business and therefore their bottom line.

This can make them feel powerless. And there is no point in communicating something when they are powerless to make change.

For a business to flourish you need the lines of communication open.

Data should be flowing both ways regularly to keep the motivation going. Give them the tools and information to make better informed decisions and the ability to see where they are at in relation to their peers.

5. They don’t Understand It

Remember Shakespeare in High School? Back then, you had time to do a deep dive into the meaning, and maybe not even then. You don’t want your Scorecard to be Shakespeare, you want it to be simple and straightforward – think of the headlines of the daily news, or even Twitter.

Complicated metrics, with multiple meanings, can cause this same confusion. Leading to debates and arguments rather than solving a problem, they have the opposite effect of what you want.

“Fuzzy” or vague interpretations can have just as negative effect. People will not take the information seriously. For example, if you have a “stated sales number” but rarely collect, the better metric can be revenue, or money in the bank.

In short, when pulling together data, remember that many Franchisees do not love numbers. Think KISS: keep it simple, stupid.

In a nutshell…

Franchising is all about relationships – and that extends to reporting. If you really want your franchisees to grow, clear and helpful analytics is a great place to start.

Proper reporting, when done right, enhances transparency and increases engagement.

But you can’t just share any numbers that sounds good. You need to deliver actionable data that your franchisees can use to improve their business. Also, keeping it true by only comparing apples to apples can help strengthen their trust. If they stop trusting it, you are not in a good place.

With Franchise Scorecards, franchisees can customize their dashboards to the information that is most relevant to them, and you can better share data that is relevant to all. Helping you all to grow together.

Keep is simple. Keep it SMART.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.

IFA: 8 Tech Tips To Keep Your Franchise Hip

By | News, Thought Leadership

international franchise associationOriginally published in Franchise.org, FranchiseBlast recently shared with the community about 8 Tech Tips to Keep Your Franchise Hip.

The pace of change in the franchise space is picking up quickly. While experienced franchisors may dismiss these as passing fads they do so at their own risk as new entrants seize the market opportunity. Here are some keys to taking a forward-thinking view:

Pay Attention – New developments in tech are cropping up all the time. Keeping your staff aware and trained in the benefits of technology will help you adapt quickly.

“Keeping your staff aware and trained in the benefits of technology will help you adapt quickly.”

Embrace Technology – If you’re still not fully engaged with technology, you’re not getting the most out of your staff, or your franchisees.

Challenge Norms – Following trends doesn’t mean following the crowd. Don’t be scared to put your own twist on things. Remember, what works for one franchisor, might not work for you.

Read full article here… 

Getting Back to Business – Gearing Up for Your Best Franchising Year Ever

By | Field Audits, Franchise Audits, Thought Leadership

It is the hot month of August… but September is around the corner.

As the weather gets cooler, thoughts turn to “back to school” if you have kids, and “back to work” for the rest of us.

I was talking to a few colleagues about this the other day. It seems that even though the “official” New Year is January… it seems like September is the time when we get “back to business”. It is the time when releases get done and decisions get made. Everything about the fall leaves and the cooler weather says “new start.”

So… what will your September look like?

We know our audience of franchising professionals does not always have time to read some of the bestselling business books. If you want to have a quick look at the best, we took some of the most innovative ideas out there, to help you get started in September the right way!

1. Management by OKR (Objectives, Key Results)

measure what matters coverOKR (Objectives, Key Results)  as described in Measure What Matters by John Doerr shows how the venture capitalist “works”. As one of the original investors in Google, John Doerr is legendary in the Silicon Valley community. The principal behind OKR is simple:

  1. Set goal
  2. Set tasks to achieve this goal (key results)
  3. Make the tasks measurable

For example, if you sell junk clearing services online. For one location, you want to grow revenue to 1 million this quarter (that is your objective).

Your key results would be:

  1. Get 5 leads/week at $100/lead from Google Ads.
  2. Run a 20% discount advertised in a Direct Mail campaign to 10,000 residents with a repetition of 3.

While a lot of this seems pretty practical, how many franchises really measure what matters, and connect it to key results? With these principles in mind in the context of the field auditing process, you can show it moving from overall organizational goals, to country to region and more.

2. Dare to be Original

originals coverOne of the best books last year we recently read here at FranchiseBlast was Adam Grant’s Originals. Grant, a very popular professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, brings forward a researched-backed thesis that non-conformists will rule the world. While this can be a tough “pill to swallow” in a franchise world connected to the compliance on systems and processes, the book is an excellent read for the following reasons:

  • He teaches us that entrepreneurs are not necessarily wild risk takers, but thoughtful people who hedge their bets.
  • He discusses some of the BENEFITS to procrastination.
  • Originals try a lot, succeed a lot AND fail a lot. They don’t have better ideas than their peers though they persist much more.

3. Checklist Manifesto

checklist manifesto coverIn the Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, we learn about how checklists have taken a number of different fields by storm. Although in the Franchising world we are very familiar with the QSR checklist for food safety, other fields such as Medicine, Finance and Aviation also make great use of digital checklists. This simple management tool has enhanced care, and even saved lives. Here are some interesting pieces to think about:

  • Work has become incredibly complex as the science behind it has increased. It is impossible, at this point, to expect one person to be the master of a procedure such as an operation, where literally hundreds of things could go wrong. Checklists help capture the complexity behind today’s jobs.
  • A best practice that was discovered was that medical people knowing each others names before a surgery perform that surgery more effectively. This could extend to franchising, where everyone on a team knows each other’s name can make a big difference.
  • Having a checklist is not the only important thing – it is having THE RIGHT checklist. The world of aviation has known this for some time, which is why they spend so much time on them. Is the future of franchise manuals a checklist?

If you want professional management of your franchise, you want the effective management tools, especially for franchising. Check out FranchiseBlast’s Franchise Field Audit and Franchise Scorecard tools.



Request a Demo

Would you like to receive a demo of FranchiseBlast? We'd be happy to give you a personalized tour based on your needs.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Interested in receiving franchise news and tips & tricks? Sign-up for our newsletter.