When people talk about successful franchises, they usually attribute them to things like their business model, brand image or marketing strategy.
For example, the famous golden arches, smart marketing campaigns and constantly updated menu of McDonald's are undoubtedly critical factors to its success and longevity. But does anyone ever give any thought these company’s franchisees and how they drive franchise development?
After all, they are the ones that commit to investments and act as the glue that binds together the branding, systems, products and service. Think about it: you may have the best business model in the world, but choosing the wrong franchisee for your business can turn everything upside down.
The ideal franchisee
When an entrepreneur is considering starting a franchise, they will typically get to know your company, perform some market research and prepare questions to ask you about the opportunity. That can make a candidates look confident and suited to the role of franchisee, but you need to dig deeper than first impressions in the interview process.
In some cases, the traits of the perfect franchisee cannot be taught. No amount of training will be able to instil the core qualities that owning a franchise demands. Let’s have a look at the five attributes that you need to look for in your franchise partners:
1. Belief in your franchise
First and foremost, you want your franchisees to be as passionate about your brand as you are. Many candidates are drawn to a particular franchise because they love its products or services. Often, this isn’t enough of a reason to make a franchise investment, but when the culture, business plan and budget all fit a franchisees' requirements too, it makes for a compelling match.
As a brand ambassador, the franchisee will ooze positivity when they deal with customers, staff and suppliers. They tend to be high performers because they genuinely love what they do. They become a ‘cheerleader’ for your franchise and are always proactively promoting the business and are keen to increase sales and profit.
The most effective way to recruit a franchise with such brand conviction is often to look within your existing pool of employees or customer base.
>> Read more:
Many entrepreneurs choose a franchise investment because they may not have all the business ownership know-how that's needed to start an independent venture. This is why training programmes are so crucial to your franchisees’ success. Being able to share all your experience and expertise with them stands them in good stead to own and operate a profitable franchise.
In order for the investment that you make in training your franchisee to be paid off, they need to be committed to making a business a success. Let’s have a look at some of the things that a franchisee should be able to prioritise:
So, franchisees can be taught how to run a franchise, but there’s no substitute for hard work. Having a strong work ethic will often deliver reliable performance and compensate for lack of specific skills and experience.
They will need to go the extra mile to make sure that their franchise is meeting all the right targets. To shift as much stock as possible, they will have to sweat to get the most out of their employees, keep up store standards and stay on top of customer service.
The perfect franchisee is 100 percent committed to succeeding, no matter what it takes. They’re the first to arrive and last to leave. They are happy to serve customers, clean toilets and will do everything in their power to keep employees satisfied.
The ideal franchisee should also be committed to training their employees. They are responsible for carrying out the training programmes that have been formulated by the franchisor, as well as carrying out regular appraisals to uphold standards. At the end of the day, employees are the engine of your business; if they’re not kept to account, it can throw a serious spanner in the works.
The employees that your franchisee takes on are also acting as the first face of your business. It is as much in your interest as it is theirs that they embody the franchise’s brand’s values.
Both the franchisor and the franchisee should be on the same page when it comes to what they demand from their staff. That way, the brand can stay consistent in the service it offers to its customers up and down the country and – for bigger franchises – across the world.
Good customer service is the number one ingredient for franchise success. That means that all of your franchisees need to be committed to keeping customers happy, even when things get testing. Demanding customers need to be received with patience, open-mindedness and composure if you want to uphold your franchise’s reputation.
After all, any customer service mistakes that are made at franchisee level have an implication for the franchise as a whole. Customers will associate any bad experiences that they’ve had in a particular store with your brand image. That’s why it pays to only take on franchisees that have plenty of experience in customer-facing management roles.
3. Networking skills
When you meet a prospective franchisee that has a natural ability to interact with people, chances are that they will have a ‘likeability factor’. Having the skill to communicate in a friendly and positive manner is an advantage for those starting a franchise in customer-facing roles.
Having a franchisee that understands that customers and employees are vital to achieving success is a massive benefit. They will be able to build relationships that don’t feel forced or false. As a franchisor, you should be confident that if any issues arise regarding customer complaints or employee dissatisfaction, your franchisee will be able to deal with the situation professionally and efficiently.
Networking with other franchisees
Good social skills are going to come in handy when your franchisees have to represent your brand at industry events. Many franchisors attend conferences and award ceremonies, such as those hosted by the BFA, and need to have franchisees with good communication skills on hand to persuade others to join the brand.
Persuading talent to join your franchise
Naturally, potential franchisees are going to trust the word of franchisees that have experienced the franchise package themselves over that of the franchisors. To motivate new entrepreneurs to get on board, they are going to need to be clear, compelling and persuasive.
Collaborating with existing franchisees
Employing franchisees that are willing to partner with each other is pivotal to taking your franchise to the next level. Having franchisees in different areas that collaborate with each other on coordinated marketing campaigns and sales drives is of benefit to everyone, right from the franchisor down to the customer who can take advantage of unique buying opportunities.
To network with different groups, the ideal franchisee should be a ‘glass half full person’. Optimism is important for conveying the unique opportunities that your brand offers and looking for new opportunities to grow.
4. Entrepreneurial spirit
During the hiring process, you’ll hear prospective franchisees tell you repeatedly how determined, dedicated and self-motivated they are. The trick is to be able to recognise those who have this attribute from those who just know that these are the personality traits that franchisors are looking for.
You’re looking for a franchisee who ultimately has the same attributes as you. They want to succeed, work hard, innovate, achieve their goals and solve problems. When you’ve found a franchisee with this drive, chances are they’ll be a good fit for your franchise.
Remember: ambition needs to be matched with discipline
Just be mindful that too much determination may cause a franchisee to become a maverick. There are many examples of franchises that have hired ambitious individuals who fail to recognise that they need to work within a framework. To avoid this happening to you, encourage self-discipline and make sure that your franchisees remain ‘coachable’.
5. Multi-tasking skills
Once they’re trained, the ideal franchisee will require minimal input and support from the franchisor. Running a franchise means that the franchisee must wear many hats, from recruiting staff to mopping the floor and everything in between.
The chances are that there will be many elements of franchise operation which will be unfamiliar to the franchisee. The good news is that when a franchisee is self-disciplined, they’ll do what it takes to get the job done, whether it’s something new to them or not.
While franchising may not be for everyone, it can be an ideal situation for the right person. These five attributes, along with adequate financial backing, are crucial to succeeding in the franchising world.
If you come across a prospective franchisee that displays these traits during the recruitment process, do all you can to get them on board. If you don’t, there will be plenty of franchises queuing up to hire them instead.
James Muddimer , Point Franchise ©