How to Run a Successful Franchise Model

At a time when the number of franchise businesses keeps increasing, how do you rise above and lead your own franchise business to surpass the pack?
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At a time when the number of franchise businesses keeps increasing, how do you rise above and lead your own franchise business to surpass the pack?

Throughout my time working for national and global franchisors, I've learned some of the most effective -- and at times, not so effective -- ways to foster strong growth and harmony in these businesses. A strong resolve, good leadership, effective management, and two-way communication have paved the way for success on several instances.

Perhaps more importantly, you must realize that in order to lead a successful franchise model, you need to provide the right tools for your franchisees. As franchisors, we are the support system that gives them the necessary resources to help them grow and become more profitable. Here are four ways to do this.

Guide Franchisees Through a Strong Operational System

All successful businesses have systems in place to ensure the consistency of their product or service and the management of their operations. One of the best ways to facilitate this is providing franchisees with a playbook -- an operations guide that can be a great asset to drive profitability up system wide.

A playbook is the perfect way to provide and communicate the operational tools and systems needed to run a successful business, and can lend itself to go beyond operations into the areas of marketing, recruiting, and more.

Establish a Supportive Leadership Team

Franchisees join corporations because a strong team of leaders has already done the groundwork for them. They know that strong leadership is a valuable asset when trying to operate a profitable business, and look to leadership officials to negotiate deals on their behalf and provide a great business plan that not only attracts new customers but also builds brand strength and awareness.

Establish yourself and your team as a trustworthy ally that has the franchise's best interests in mind. In addition, show that you're not focused on telling people what to do, but instead on working with a group and influencing them in a positive way.

Commit to Communication

While franchisees respect the experience and expertise that comes from leadership, there has to be a two-way conversation. The ongoing feedback from franchisees helps shape and fine-tune programs and strategies.

In addition, franchisees value the opportunity to interact with other franchisees at meetings and conferences, so it is important to provide a space to facilitate these interactions. Talking with their peers, who deal with similar obstacles on a day-to-day basis, can help identify best practices and helpful information. Aside from peer-to-peer interaction, internal communication can go a long way when trying to keep everybody in the loop of what is going on in the company. It also gives franchisees a platform to have their ideas, questions and concerns published and answered by their franchisor.

Provide a Clear Vision

When franchisees buy into a franchise they are buying the vision, company expectations and guidelines. Such materials give the business owner insight into what works in the industry. Guidelines direct the franchisees on how to achieve profitability while eliminating the trial and error process. It is important that everyone has the same goal, and a clear understanding of how to reach it.

Greg Nathan, managing director at the Franchise Relationship Institute, says that they "estimate that around 40% of a franchisee's success will come through the application of their own hard work and talents." But while a franchisee must have a certain level of commitment and desire to succeed, they are more likely to achieve success when met with the significant help and tools to do so.

It is in the best interest of both franchisor and franchisee to work together to sustain a profitable business. These tips can serve as a start, to head in the right direction and lay a strong foundation that will allow the franchisor/franchisee collaboration to thrive.

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