Franchise Marketing Systems has worked with several hundred franchisors in establishing franchise systems and building franchise organizations. In acquiring new franchisees, the franchisor will typically go through a growing process in learning and adapting to become a successful franchisor. A large part of this process is getting comfortable with working with franchisees as opposed to employees. The transition is always an interesting one for the first few franchises sold in a new franchise system.
Recently, a client mentioned to me that if they had hired the franchisee they were referring to as an employee they would have fired them within the first week. Although this is a scary thought, after some work and focus on this particular franchise operator, it was apparent that the issues were mainly regarding the franchisor instead of the franchisee.
As we worked through the discussed issues with the franchisee, they were simple. The franchisee had purchased a different brand of vehicle than the one that was preferred by the franchisor. This was a point that was not appropriately addressed in initial training by the franchisor, what seemed like an insignificant issue was a big deal to the franchisor and should have been emphasized during training. Our recommendation was in fact to take part in the purchasing of the vehicle so that they could control this process more effectively. The second issue was that the franchisee was not being as responsive as they would have preferred. Through a daily call from a different phone number, the franchisor was unhappy that the franchisee was not being responsive. This was clearly an issue for the business in question and was something that needed to be addressed. It also brought up another point though, for a business where responsiveness was critical, this should have been given an immense focus during training and initial support. The guidance and advice given to the franchisor was to go back and review the training module that focuses on marketing and new business development. An issue that is this essential should be given the lion's share of the attention when training the franchisees.
The point in working with this particular client was that the issues they thought were the franchisee's fault were actually more issues dealing with the franchisor's training and support model. By addressing these issues, the franchisor was able to not only help the existing franchisee, but to train and support the new franchises that were sold in the coming months with a more complete franchise training model. In working with franchise systems, we remind them, the franchisee has come to you for mentorship and guidance, it is your responsibility to provide a complete model....not theirs! During the franchise development process, franchise training modules and support programs should be developed to thoroughly manage and handle these critical issues.