A guide to longevity as a franchisor

12/07/2018 08:00 | Start a business

How to achieve longevity as a franchisor

When you consider the most successful franchises in the UK, you’d be right to think about brand giants such as McDonald’s, KFC and Wimpy. But what is it that makes them so successful? Well, it’s not just their size and global appeal, it’s also due to the length of time that they’ve had a presence in the UK.

A firm favourite on high streets up and down the country since the 1960’s, these franchises have built up a reputation for offering consistently good quality fast food. They have developed a loyal customer base who have come to love and trust the familiar brands.

If franchising is a marathon and not a sprint, then how do you create a franchise system that will last the test of time? Let's find out. On your marks...

Get set

Before you embark on a 26.2-mile run, it pays to be prepared. The same is true when you're creating a franchise system. The key to your success as a franchisor is to invest time and effort in to getting the basics right and then building on from there. After all, you can’t run until you can walk.

It's essential that you have sound systems and processes in place that franchisees can duplicate. For this to happen successfully, you’ll need to document how your business operates in the form of an operations manual. This will then be used to train new franchisees and become the ‘go to’ handbook for the business.

The valuable document should cover everything from recruitment to marketing and reporting to staff management. In fact, it should include detail about every element of the franchise. Spend time making the operations manual as understandable and accessible as possible. Your efforts will be rewarded when your franchisees can depend on the document to run their business without relying on constant guidance from you.

Go (while working as a team)

With the franchise system in place, it's time to get going. Like a marathon, your franchise may seem easy at the beginning, but as the miles rack up and the legs get tired, you'll need a good team around you. Just like supportive running buddies, the relationship between franchisor and franchisee is best when you’re working together.

Therefore, you should be selective when recruiting franchisees. You can’t have one of the most successful franchises without great people. For your franchise to perform well and have longevity you need franchisees who are willing to follow the rules. Franchises thrive on consistency and uniformity, so you need to bear this in mind when interviewing franchisee candidates.

As well as the ability to adhere to your franchise system, the rapport that you have as franchisor and franchisee is essential. It's worth selecting franchisees who have the same values and ambitions as you so that you can be confident that you’re working towards a common goal. It’s also essential that they are a good fit for the culture of your franchise. You can offer all the support you want but if your franchisees don’t represent what your brand stands for there may be issues further down the line.

Be supportive of others.

When you decided to franchise your business, chances are you chose to do so because it was a great way to expand while making a profit. But your desire to become one of the most profitable franchises should not be at the expense of your franchisees.

Just as you should help to boost the morale of other runners around you when they've hit the dreaded wall, so you should make sure that decisions you make as a franchisor don’t negatively impact the earning potential of your franchisees. Franchisees must be able to make a profit. This is non-negotiable for the ongoing success of your franchise.

If your franchisees are making a profit, then they’ll be happy. If they’re happy, they’ll want to grow with your business by purchasing additional franchises. They will also be a crucial tool during the recruitment process for new franchisees. A vital part of due diligence for prospective franchisees is to speak with existing franchisees to validate the franchisor's claims. If your franchisees are not satisfied, you may find it difficult to recruit any quality franchisees.

Visualise the finish line

Just like a pacemaker in a long race, the franchisor needs to know their industry well, and maintain a steady speed and a smile so that franchisees feel that you’ve got things covered when times get tough.

As a leader, your franchisees will turn to you in difficult times to make quick and logical decisions. The trust that is developed between franchisor and franchisee relies on you proving that you can deliver on your promises and that you’re dependable, responsible and honest. Leave no doubt that you’re the right person to lead your franchise through any challenge it’s faced with.

Your ability to lead needs to be balanced with giving your franchisees enough autonomy that they can make the right decisions for their franchise. While it's important for franchisees to maintain consistency, you need to consider the longer term. If strong performing franchisees can have an element of control over how their franchises are run, they'll feel more satisfied and fulfilled in their role. This will most likely lead to them wanting to renew their franchise agreement at the end of the term which is the best outcome for you and your franchise.

Like a marathon runner, franchisors need to put in the effort to succeed. You need a good team around you who you always communicate and plan with to make sure things stay on track. You should endeavour to lead from the front but cross the finishing line together.

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