Many times, franchisees make their lives more difficult by not understanding what’s important in their business. I have discovered that the most successful—highly effective–franchisees have a plan for success. They know what’s important and they don’t stray from it.
The most successful franchisees turn the principles into habits and they follow the habits religiously. If you want to be a highly effective franchisee, here’s a plan worth following. It’s what the most successful franchisees do consistently.
1. Follow the system. For years, franchisors and successful franchisees, as well as industry experts and students of franchising, have asked this question: “After investing tens of thousands of dollars to acquire a franchise, why is it that some franchisees do everything but follow the system?”
It’s an interesting point, especially when you consider that as a franchisee, you don’t own anything tangible. You don’t own the brand or the logo, you don’t own the operating system, you don’t own the intellectual property. However, if you invested in a good franchise, you do own something of great value: The right to use the franchisor’s system to build a satisfying and profitable business.
The System Works For Those Who Work It
Upon further investigation, I often discover that indeed the system does work. The franchisee chose not to work the system, or the franchisee refused to work the system the way it was intended to be worked. Is it possible that some systems don’t work? Absolutely! In fact, some systems work better than others. The job of the prospective franchisee is to buy a franchise that offers a system that does work. If you bought a franchise with a system that doesn’t work, shame on you. Why did you do that? With thousands of franchise concepts on the market, you had every opportunity to search for a system that worked. If you didn’t do that, then get out of the business you’re in now and buy a franchise with a system that does work. More often than not, however, it’s not the system. It’s the franchisee. It’s the franchisee that doesn’t work the system.
2. Make the best of every situation. If you grew up in a large family, you know that it’s almost impossible to make everyone happy all the time. If you didn’t grow up in a large family then take my word for it. Someone always has another idea or a different agenda. And so it is in a franchise network.
It Pays To Get Along In The Network
Every franchise network starts out small with just a few franchisees and grows to dozens, hundreds and possibly thousands of members, all of whom who join “the family.” You’re not going to “love” every family member and over time you’re not going to agree with every decision that’s made by or on behalf of the network. You probably won’t like every decision that comes from headquarters, and you probably won’t like every decision that even the majority of franchisees embrace. Nonetheless, highly effective franchisees make the best of every situation.
Expect Things To Change In Business
Change is inevitable, even in franchising, and again, you must make the best of it. Systems change, executives change, training changes, requirements
change, customers change, market demands change, vendors change, and so forth. It’s not personal; it’s business. You’ve got to adjust, go with the flow, and make the best of it—and you do if you’re a highly effective franchisee.
Meanwhile, let me add that good franchisors help their franchisees adapt to change. When the franchisor is the change catalyst they get in front of the news and prepare the franchisees for what’s coming. They do so by communicating with their network and by working closely with their franchise advisory council.
Franchising doesn’t mean free, but it at least implies collaboration. Forcing change on a franchise network is folly. Franchisees should expect to be consulted and to collaborate with their franchisor on important issues. And good franchisors make sure that happens.
3. Deliver on your promises. Why is it the media write about the failure of franchisors to deliver on promises when for every guilty franchisor there are numerous guilty franchisees? Like it or not, many franchisees do not deliver on their promises. Don’t be one of them.
Franchise Training Is Not Always Equal
Overall, I believe that franchisors do an excellent job of training franchisees to be successful. Granted, there are always poor performers in franchising, and that includes franchisors. They’re not created equal— some franchisors are better than others. It’s your job to identify the better franchisors before you invest your money in a franchise business.
The better franchisors provide world-class, effective training. And that’s why they can demand a large upfront fee, called the franchise fee. Most franchisors re-invest that money in their franchisees, beginning with training. The training should be so good that it teaches you everything you need to know about building, operating and succeeding in your business.
Utilize The Training
This isn’t just about reminding you to follow the system. When you
signed your franchise agreement, you promised to learn and implement the franchisor’s system. That means: follow the training! And it means much more. Pay your fees. Don’t cut corners. Participate with the franchise network.
4. Learn from a coach. Even when the franchisor provides world-class training and support, the most successful franchisees often need more. Unless the business is very simple—and most are not—building a successful business will require time, skills and practice. That’s how coaching helps—it can shorten the journey to success. The first place a franchisee looks for coaching is the franchisor. Good franchisors coach their franchisees. Work with them!
By John P. Hayes, Ph.D.