What makes a good franchisor?
We work with franchisees from the time they start considering the idea of a franchise, then choosing and applying for one, through to becoming a franchisee and in some cases, going on to invest in several brands across multiple territories. So, we certainly know what attributes and behaviours franchisees consider make a good franchisor.
Of course, working very closely with franchisors, we also understand what is required to bring them the best results from their network, and by and large both sides of the coin are in synch. In short, it’s about a franchisors desire for everybody to win.
It may sound obvious, but the most important thing a franchisor can do right from the off, is to understand that their former role as the owner of a successful business, will change. As those of you who have already built a successful franchise network will know, there are many new hats lined up for you to wear – some will fit you better than others, but wear them you must.
The Investor Hat
In the main, franchisors are an entrepreneurial bunch who are quite self sufficient. You had an idea, built a successful business and now you’re expanding. Your success as a franchisor however, now depends on the ongoing success of your franchisees – and that is something you need to be properly invested in, both financially and in terms of commitment. Training, support, ongoing development, providing the best tools for the job, marketing, future proofing… good franchisors don’t leave their franchisees’ success to chance, they invest in it.
The Visionary Hat
Think of the most successful hamburger franchise. I guarantee we’re all thinking of the same one. That continued success is in large part due to having the foresight to move with the times. Customers have demanded healthier options, more variety, more certainty over food providence, a more engaging dining/ordering experience – and there have never been so many competitor brands to choose from. If they had stuck to their guns in the belief that the original model was too perfect to change, then people really would have moved on. Today you can order a salad and a smoothie whilst surfing the internet – no franchisor is too big not to have to look ahead.
The Long Game Hat
The alternative to the Long Game Hat is, funnily enough, the Short Game Hat. The wearer of the latter is interested solely in selling franchises. Collect as many franchisee fees as you can, go as light as possible on the training, and replace ongoing support with keeping your fingers crossed. A good franchisor however, is all about the long game. Only quality franchisees are accepted into the network; initial training is thorough and comprehensive; ongoing support is provided by an effective ratio of support staff; the financial rewards of the franchisor depend on building a network of highly successful, happy franchisees who wish to grow their businesses and support the big picture ambitions of the brand.
The Quality Hat
The best franchisors are obsessed with quality, right across the board. Within most business sectors you can see which franchise brands are intent on becoming the biggest, or the loudest or the cheapest, and then you can see which ones are intent on truly becoming the best. Surprisingly it’s not always what clinches the deal for a prospect – some are convinced to join a network because it has the highest number of franchisees, some choose the franchisor who has the biggest social media following or advertises the most – but for my money, I’d choose the Franchisor who is dedicated to quality. Then I know my training will be the best, my ongoing support will be the best, my fellow franchisees will be the best (and happiest), and yes, my long term prospects will likely be best with that particular brand. There’s probably a good debate to be had over whether or not you could simply swap all these individual hats for one big one called the Franchisee Focused Hat, but for now, let’s stick with recommending that these four ought to be in every franchisors wardrobe.