Could you benefit from a franchise mentor?

09/07/2018 08:00 | Start a business

Franchise mentor


There are many different ways to learn and many manifestations of the teacher-pupil relationship. For instance, individuals can learn from seminars, lectures, and workshops. They can develop their skills by shadowing an experienced professional. Then there's peer to peer learning, too. However, one of the most important types of educational relationship is mentorship. The close bond that forms between a mentor and their mentee can be hugely beneficial to both individuals, making it one of the most practical and useful means of passing on information. Here, we take a look at how a mentor could benefit franchisees.

Different types of franchise mentor

A franchise can utilise many different types of mentor, each of which will bring something new to the table. The kind of mentor you use will depend on the knowledge you want to pass on and the type of training you want to provide. For instance, franchisors often make more experienced franchisees mentors to new franchisees. This allows them to pass on their first-hand experience of what it's like to be a franchisee and to help with issues that are likely to arise on a day to day basis. Franchisors can also make mentors of members of the franchise management team. This type of mentor is likely to have a lot more experience of the franchising model and be able to help franchisees with long-term issues associated with growth and expansion. Finally, franchises may bring in mentors from outside of the business. Typically, these mentors will specialise in training and personal development.

Five ways in which a mentor can help

1. Positive reinforcement
Sometimes all you need is for someone to tell you that youre going about things in the right way and to keep on heading in the same direction. A franchise mentor can be a useful tool that encourages franchisees to believe in their abilities and that builds their confidence. While having someone else to help identify and resolve problems is essential, a mentor is also responsible for making sure franchisees know that theyre doing a good job, too. Self-confidence is extremely important for franchisees, and it can be difficult to trust in your abilities without another individual to recognise them. This aspect of the mentor role is often forgotten, so franchisors need to make sure that mentors understand that this constitutes an essential part of their support role.

2. New franchisee support
When a new franchisee first enters the business, they can often feel isolated and alone. While this is an unpleasant sensation and good franchises will try and ensure that new franchisees dont experience such feelings, it can also have a negative impact on performance. If a franchisee doesnt know where to turn or who to ask for assistance, they may end up talking to no one and making poor decisions. A mentor system is a fantastic way of ensuring that franchisees receive the support they need, particularly during the early stages of franchise ownership. Though support should be available at all times, it is most necessary for new franchisees, as the initial setup phases are when individuals are most likely to be nervous, vulnerable, and unsure of themselves.

3. A unique learning resource
While you can learn a lot from books, workshops, and tutorials, theres no learning resource better than an experienced franchisee. They will have seen and been through a lot, have unparalleled experience of the franchise model, and understand what its like to become a franchisee. However, as well as having a great deal of experience, mentors need to be good communicators and able teachers. Consequently, it might be necessary to invest in training certain individuals to ensure that they do have the required skills to succeed in the mentor role. Not everyone is a born teacher, but many have the potential to be so. This means that taking the time and dedicating the resources to mentor training programmes is often a worthwhile investment.

4. Connect the wider franchise network
When attempting to find a franchise that best suits you, its important to consider how well the franchise network is connected. Some franchises do little to connect their franchisees and are quite happy to leave them isolated. Typically, the best franchises will ensure that their franchisees are well connected and able to use each other in ways that benefit the entire network. A mentor system is the first step in connecting franchisees and introducing the idea of peer-to-peer learning and assistance. While it only links one franchisee with another, it helps foster a working culture in which franchisees are comfortable communicating with each other and in which requesting assistance isnt frowned upon.

5. Open communication
This is possibly the most important benefit of the mentor system. Linking a franchisee with a mentor encourages open discussion and sets the tone for all future communication between franchisees. For new franchisees, it reassures them that open and honest communication is the norm and that they dont have to keep quiet about specific issues. For the franchisor, it ensures that there's a ready-made support system in place that can be utilised without the franchisor becoming explicitly involved. Sometimes a franchisee won't want to go to the franchisor with their problems, but they may be more willing to talk to another franchisee about them. This ensures that issues are tackled as they arise and that they aren't left to fester.

As you can see, there are several primary benefits to employing franchise mentors. They can be a fantastic way to introduce new franchisees to the franchise model and encourage newcomers to communicate openly and honestly with an individual that has accrued a great deal of experience. We often think of educating' as a process that can only be carried out by trained teachers. This isn't necessarily true, and it's important to recognise the fact that every individual can contribute to anothers development by passing on those things that theyve learnt and picked up along the way.

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