Every great company begins as an entrepreneur’s great idea. A visionary perceives a need and creates a business to help customers meet it. A few of those companies branch out, leveraging that original concept into a franchise opportunity, granting licenses to offer goods and services under their company’s umbrella. Managing the home office while keeping tabs on locations from coast to coast is difficult, but rewarding.
Whether your company is just getting started or is a nationwide corporation with hundreds of locations, we’ve got tips to help you succeed.
Company Maturity Level: Micro-Emerging (0-10 franchises)
- Self-promote. Don’t be shy! Talk about yourself and your business. Greet every networking opportunity with a warm smile, a firm handshake, and, “I’m the founder of My Company, and we’re also a franchise!”
- Recruit carefully. Be selective when awarding franchises. Strategically select your franchisees as well as their locations. Represent your company well, both in-person and on your franchise development website. Many potential franchisees consider several options before opening their businesses. Assume that, even as you’re interviewing franchisees, they are interviewing you, too.
- Establish a company culture. A respectful workplace that empowers others to thrive is mission-critical to success. Make it a priority at your business. Define your company values. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz says, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
- Create systems. Now is the time to initiate the protocols that will ensure consistency across locations. What are your expectations? What steps do you want franchisees and their employees to take at opening and closing, during transactions, or for food safety? Document your brand standards and determine a system for enforcing them. For optimal quality control, verified tracking, and quick response times, invest in a digital checklist system like DailyChex by MeazureUp.
- Embark on long-term professional relationships. Choose business partners such as bankers, marketing companies, and web developers who can support your business.
Company Maturity Level: Emerging (11-75 franchises)
- Get to know your numbers. Scott Greenberg, author of The Wealthy Franchisee: Game-Changing Steps to Becoming a Thriving Franchise Superstar, recommends that franchisees track KPIs including gross sales, expenses, ticket average, profit, and growth rate.
- Develop leadership skills among your managers. The Franchise Relationships Institute suggests cultivating an ACE (Advocacy, Commitment, and Engagement) mindset. Their study found that, “…franchisees who believe the franchisor team cares about their success have higher levels of brand passion, are more proactive, deliver a better customer experience, and achieve superior financial results.”
- Assess your training program. For franchising to work, you’ve got to replicate success across locations. Now is the time to create a formal, easy-to-understand training program for managers, franchisees, and other employees.
- Rank your franchises. Not only does this create opportunity to recognize and honor the highest achievers, it helps you spot and address issues at less successful sites.
- Institute a rewards program. Returning customers can account for up to two-thirds of business at some companies. Encourage returning customers with discounts and other offers. Reward them for referring others to your business.
Company Maturity Level: Midmarket/Mainstream (76-200 franchises)
- Communicate regularly with your franchisees. Make sure they know what’s going on at headquarters. Get their feedback and consult them on changes. Let them know that they can count on you by respecting deadlines and honoring your commitments to them.
- Measure customer satisfaction. Happy customers visit more often and spend more on average per visit. They are also more likely to tell family and friends about your business, providing invaluable word of mouth referrals.
- Focus on customer loyalty. 61% of consumers will go out of their way to purchase from a trusted brand. Ensure that every visit is top-notch, regardless of which location your customers choose. Check that brand standards are being met or exceeded at every point in your company’s chain of command. Assign managers to periodically drop in for unannounced audits. Consider a digital tool like AuditApp by MeazureUp to track results and keep all stakeholders informed of successes, failures, and needs for change.
- Reevaluate your social media presence. How’s your communications department doing? Those social media posts do more than increase brand awareness. They’re also a great opportunity to engage with current and potential customers. Maintaining a consistent voice and responding to online commentary is critical.
- Support your franchisees. Understand their aspirations and give them the tools they need to thrive. Identify locations that are struggling, then provide franchisees with additional training and temporary scaffolding to succeed.
Company Maturity Level: Mature (200+ franchises)
- Innovate. Even as you build consistency, you’ve got to keep moving forward. Stay tuned in to the latest trends in your industry and keep your offerings up to date.
- Incentivize success with “roses and raises.” Generate enthusiasm and build relationships with your franchisees by awarding and rewarding their accomplishments. Include their stories in your internal and external communications. Encourage them to do the same for their employees.
- Give back. Some studies show that up to 70% of customers are more likely to spend with companies that support charities. Build goodwill by creating local presence. Empower franchisees to support community non-profits on your behalf then support their passions with in-kind and financial donations. Make the most of these contributions by clarifying policies that reflect your corporate values and culture.
- Remember your roots. Listen to your customers. Send out surveys. Ask your managers to talk to them during site visits. Conduct periodic focus groups. No one knows more about what’s working and what isn’t than they do.
- Enjoy your success. You’ve worked hard to get your team and your company to this level. It’s time for a vacation! Head to that fantasy destination, turn off your phone, and unplug for a week. You’ll return to the office refreshed and ready for more.
Learn more about how your organization can use AuditApp and Daily Check by MeazureUp to boost revenue and drive success at every level of franchise maturity. Schedule your free demo today.