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I recently had the opportunity to attend the Canadian Franchise Association convention. As a franchise specialist (I hate the word consultant!), my goals were to meet more experts in the franchise industry, make valuable connections, learn from the pros, and have some fun. It was also a nice little confidence boost to confirm my wealth of knowledge about franchising by hearing the expert speakers’ presentations.
Well, I can confidently say all my goals were achieved, especially the one about having fun! There was so much energy, collaboration, and willingness to simply share information with no strings attached. Awesome!
Now it’s my turn to share the love. In case you missed the convention or need some inspiration, here are some of the messages that were loud and clear at the high profile CFA Convention.
I’ve been saying this all along so it was inspiring to hear it said so strongly by so many high-level franchising experts. Franchisees NEED to have a voice and feel heard or else they will get negative, hurt your brand, and end up spreading the negativity throughout the chain. This message was repeated time and time again by different experts and in different ways. Understanding franchisee mentality is no easy task, but if you as a franchisor don’t want to give it any thought, you might as well just go close up your franchise business now.
When your franchisees are happy and feel listened to they will feel loyal and more motivated to kick ass with your brand. To keep things fun and to show them you are on the same team, involve them in your decision making as much as possible, celebrate the successes together, be energetic and positive, and share as much information as you can about the decisions made at the executive level and the direction of the company.
Speaking of awesome relationships and having fun, get your full team of franchisees together regularly (at least once per year) and invest in making it a rocking good time. Dustin Hansen, the young rock star CEO of the innovative company InXpress Franchise shared some simple, easy to implement ways to really amp up your corporate events and kick ass with your organizational culture (click here to email me to learn more). But Mr. Hansen really caught my attention when he said,
“People won’t remember everything they heard and learned at a convention, but they WILL remember how they felt at the end”.
Events are a great way to spread information but the ultimate goal is to get your franchisees energized for when they head back to their local community and put into play some new strategies and renewed enthusiasm for their business.
It sounds like a no-brainer that this would be important, right? Well, the truth is, some franchisors lose focus on unit profitability and it’s really all downhill from there. Don’t forget that your franchisees bought into a franchise system because they want to “be in business for themselves, but not by themselves”. They came to you because you have a business model that is a fit for them and earns a return on their investment. You have the formula and need to support your franchisees by making sure they understand how to follow it. If a franchisee is following your system and for some reason, they are still struggling to stay afloat, you may need to provide some supplemental marketing, additional training, or an on-site support person. Or maybe the overall company needs a brand refresh or a new expert with some exciting new ideas on the head office team.
Walking around the exhibitor booths, you could find everything from national financial representatives with special package offers for franchise financing to software developers that have created ways to simplify your field visit process and benchmarking procedures. As a cash-strapped franchisor, it may feel impossible to invest any more money, but after talking with various reps, I am convinced it would be worthwhile for franchisors to take advantage of the tools and resources that are going to reduce costs, time spent, stress, etc.!
As an example, Pino Di Ioia, President and CEO of BeaverTails Franchise, has been using software called “Franchise Blast” and shared that the company started seeing positive results in just 6 months and they are now selling 30% more franchises!
This is really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to simple concepts for making your franchise a success. It was so inspiring to meet with many enthusiastic franchisors who are being creative, innovative, and building great companies. If you want to make your franchise awesome and rock-solid, I’d be happy to let you in on more of the secrets to success!
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