Jan 08

Summary of Seven Habits of Highly Effective Franchisees (Part I)

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.

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