1. Vision. This is no big surprise for most business leaders, if there is any misdirection or haziness about a company’s vision the boat will not be sailing straight. It is up to the Franchisor, the leader of the company to define that vision. What are the goals for the company overall, what are the basic principles that will guide this franchise company into the next year, five years and decade? A good franchisor has a GREAT vision with honorable intentions. The franchisee cannot be laid to waste in the wake of a franchisor working to achieve a goal, it is accomplished in unison.
2. Relationship Management. I have worked with many great franchise companies. Many amazing and dynamic leaders have passed through the halls of my office and gone on to achieve fantastic results. Some of these leaders have been extremely intelligent, able to compute extensive algorithms in their heads to the likes of a Bill Gates. Others have been uncanny sales people with the deal-making abilities of a Donald Trump. Other successful franchisors have found solace in their ability to manage with the prowess of a Jack Welch, always delivering results. The one common factor in all of the hundreds of top echelon franchisors is their ability to manage a simple relationship. It is very easy to like a good franchisor. They make a franchisee feel comfortable, they are honest, accountable and straightforward. The franchisee knows what they are getting from the relationship up front and the promises made are delivered throughout the relationship of the franchise. Good Franchisors are great at managing relationships.
3. Ability to Delegate. I have worked with a lot of different franchise companies, all shapes and sizes, there is rarely a case or instance where a type of business owner comes to me to build a franchise system that Francorp has not encountered at some point in time. Many entrepreneurs are what I affectionately refers to as “White Knuckle Operators”. The terms describes some business owners inability to let go of the day to day tasks. A franchisor will never get any bigger than they allow themselves to be, the franchisor has to trust the fact that after training the franchisees and instituting the systems in the franchise operation that the franchisee can run the business successfully. Without this ability, the franchisor perpetually handicaps its own expansion. I work with these types of business owners, and the biggest obstacle in achieving substantial growth is teaching the franchisor how to overcome themselves!
4. Ability to Teach. Great franchisors are always the best teachers. They have a way about them, it effuses a combined sense of “cool as the other side of the pillow” and “it’s okay, you’re doing a great job”. The exceptional franchisors that I have taken to market have a somewhat professorial air about them. They come across as great parental figures, you feel a sense of comfort when in their company. A franchisor has to teach, the value in a great franchise system comes from the franchisors ability to transmit their knowledge and experience to the franchisees. Great franchise systems are built by fantastic educators. I focus on this education function through a series of training classes and modules focused on franchise sales, franchise marketing, franchise management and franchise support. Perpetual education is a good thing that holds true in franchising as well.
5. Adaptability. It is imperative that new franchise companies have this essential structure when entering the franchise market. What has made many franchise companies reach the upper echelon of success is the franchisor and franchise system’s ability to adapt. The one constant in business is CHANGE! Every day we have new market factors and trends that as business owners we need to accommodate in order to keep growing. The same is true in franchising! What works in Illinois, may have to be altered to some extent in California. Again, the key is that you start with an exceptionally sound baseline service delivery system, then provide for the fact that every business must “shimmy” a little. A good franchise model is designed somewhat like a sky scraper, it is structurally defined and very solid, but it sways with the wind to accommodate for its environment.
6. Communication. I never will condone an “Ivory Tower” style of franchise management. What this refers to is that as a franchisor, the role shifts from a “doer” to an “educator”. Part of a good educator is to communicate effectively. The great franchise systems that Francorp has put together thrive on the fact that the franchisee has open lines of communication with the franchisor. Ideas, strategies and feelings are exchanged openly between all parties. Ultimately the franchisor makes the final decision on all business directives, but a franchisor will not succeed if they operate like a dictator. Alternately, a good franchise system for clients that is more similar to a Democracy with control and veto power lying in the hands of the franchisor. Franchisees should feel like they are involved, and many times they will contribute the success and well-being of the franchise system overall. It’s worth listening to the people who are the lifeblood of your franchise business.
Christopher James Conner