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.
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.