According to Franchising Thought Leader, Greg Nathan, “It doesn’t matter where business plans are held, as long as they are used and reviewed.” Unfortunately, business plans can sometimes live in isolation on an FBC’s hard drive or with a “set it and forget it” mentality of building it once, and never review it again. Integrating the business plans with other aspects of the franchise is a way to make them a “living document” that stays fresh and meaningful throughout the year. You can do this by connecting business plans to:
- Field Audits
Keeping these pieces of the puzzle working together can make an integrated system to support your franchisees.
A franchisee scorecard is a limited set of about 15 key metrics defined by the franchisor. A business plan then selects a subset of these metrics for one of the following reasons:
- It is targeted for improvement for strategic reasons
- The franchisee that you are working with is weaker than others in the network.
Business plans expand on these metrics by adding more granular Key Results (KRs) that test the ideas, or hypothesis, you outline to drive up the main KR that the franchisee is targeting.
Metrics in the scorecard can also be a way to track business plan progress. For example, if you have a goal around check size, you can check those numbers together on the scorecard with the franchisee.
Imagine that you want to track the number of people who buy an energy bar with their coffee as a KR. Maybe you think that this will increase the average check size and you know that part of the strategy will be upselling.
You could track if the franchisee staff have done upselling training courses. But nothing beats observing ‘in the wild’ if the actions that they have been trained on are truly being performed. This is best done by listening to each transaction to see if suggestive selling techniques are used.
You can do this with a field audit performed by the Franchise Business Coach (FBC) or the district manager. That is someone external to the franchisee that comes into the unit and observes, marking things off a digital checklist. This helps evaluate if the franchisee is actually executing the strategy properly. Whether or not the strategy will work or not is still unknown, but you can at least measure the execution. The final analysis is done during the postmortem.
Sometimes the KRs that you want to drive are related to your audit scores directly, such as increasing online review scores by improving unit cleanliness.
However, at times your audit questionnaire does not include any questions to evaluate if suggestive selling is applied. If that is the case, and the need is common across all units, you can advocate improving the questionnaire by adding this new standard. This relates to the questionnaire continuous improvement process. It is a good practice to churn out old standards that never fail and add new ones, aligned with strategic initiatives.
In some cases, field audits are not a good complement to business plans. This happens in the following scenarios:
- The problem is not widespread and really is localized to this individual franchisee.
- You need to pay closer attention to this process, instead of just one or two spot checks during the period.
In these two cases, self-assessments are a better fit. Sometimes these are designed as audits on the franchisee themselves, and some of them are simply asking front-line workers to record a number (such as the number of energy bars sold during the shift). By doing this, that number and goal remain top of mind and they can course-correct on the next shift.
Overall, the scorecard guides the key KR of the business plan. The business plan expands on that with a different set of KR representing theories to test. And you ensure you properly execute those theories/initiatives by doing audits or self-assessments. During your postmortem, if you didn’t reach your goal, you’ll have a better idea if you need new theories or if you need to focus on buttoning up your execution.