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.
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.
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.
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.