The franchise agreement represents a legal partnership and outlines the responsibilities of each party. But, as a franchisor, you have a duty of care towards your investors, which doesn’t end until they leave your business. Make sure you know how to be a good franchisor and succeed in supporting your franchisees.
While franchise partners receive a comprehensive operations manual, they rely on their franchisor to support their business growth. You might already have an idea of the sort of help you can offer your investors - but many of the most effective measures may not immediately spring to mind.
Here’s how you can and should go above and beyond in supporting your franchisees.
What kind of support do franchisees need?
Supporting your franchisees is about more than just giving them the tools to get up and running; you should be providing rounded guidance across all aspects of business ownership. You’ll need to help your investors understand the financial and legal side of franchising, and work with them to secure specialist funding and advice.
Many franchisors also overlook their franchisees’ mental and physical health. So, make sure you’ve got provisions in place to support your business partners’ wellbeing.
How to support your franchisees
1. Make sure they have the resources they need
As an experienced business owner and industry player, you have the knowledge and understanding to provide expert advice to your franchisees. Let them know where they can find extra support, such as BFA-affiliated legal advisors, and provide specific information on complicated areas like accounting. You could also offer to carry out regular financial checks or guidance sessions to help them stay on top of everything.
2. Establish partnerships with banks
Partnering with lenders can make it easier for your franchisees to access business loans and other financial support packages. You’ll be able to direct investors towards the most suitable funding options, safe in the knowledge they’re accessing the resources they need.
3. Work with individual franchisees to develop growth strategies
You know your business inside out, so one of the most valuable things you can do is provide real-life help with individual units. Take some time to periodically review the performance of each of your franchisees’ businesses and implement money- and time-saving strategies to support business growth.
4. Deliver advanced digital skills workshops
As digital tools increasingly offer new ways to tackle inefficiencies in business, tech literacy is becoming more and more important for franchisees. Develop a learning programme with the aim of improving your investors’ digital skills.
5. Visit franchisees in person
While we now favour virtual communication methods, there’s no better way to understand the challenges your franchisees face than visiting them in person. Spend some time travelling between your investors and shadowing them throughout the day. Once you identify ineffective or uneconomical practices, you can develop measures to help combat them.
6. Use an online communication platform
As well as visiting franchisees in person, you should have a system in place to talk to them on a day-to-day basis. The instant messaging facilities on platforms like Microsoft Teams, Slack or even Whatsapp are great for staying connected to investors, and can help you provide immediate guidance or reassurance.
7. Organise regular meetings
Many franchisors take the time to arrange learning and networking opportunities for their franchisees. But, rather than focussing on a huge, year-end conference, why not give your business owners the chance to mingle and share insights more regularly? You could organise regional get-togethers to allow for informal chat and more personalised support.
Whilst franchisors rightly espouse the many benefits of running your own business, they must also recognise the process of doing so can be lonely, pressured and a rollercoaster of highs and lows – particularly during the early days. - Elite Franchise
>> Read more:
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8. Consult experts for advice
While you probably have heaps of experience running your franchise network, it always pays to get an outside opinion when it comes to providing business support. You could consult legal advisors or other franchisors to find out how they’re nurturing their franchise networks.
9. Prepare for a crisis
If you wait until disaster strikes to try to protect your franchisees’ businesses, you’ll have left it too late. Make sure you’re doing everything possible to support investors by putting measures in place for a worst-case scenario; then, if there’s a problem, you can safeguard your network right away.
Read our guide on how to create a crisis contingency plan to get started.
>> Read more:
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- The Ultimate Guide to Franchising Success
10. Value your franchisees
Whether you’re an employee, a franchisee or a franchisor, it can be incredibly demoralising to see your hard work go unrewarded. But you can take steps to avoid this outcome by demonstrating appreciation for your business partners. Why not highlight a ‘Franchisee of the Month’ or send ‘thank you’ gift bundles to mark their business milestones?
11. Share your strategies
Franchisees have a vested interest in the success of the franchise as a whole, and although you’re responsible for its expansion, making them aware of your plans can be helpful. If they understand your intentions, they’ll probably be able to help you achieve your goals. Plus, they’ll feel like trusted and valued members of the business.
12. Create a positive culture
One of the most effective ways to support your franchisees’ mental health is to nurture a positive work culture. Lots of factors go into this process; read up on our 10 top tips in our dedicated guide.
13. Look out for signs of distress among franchisees
If you’re to eliminate excessive levels of franchisee stress and anxiety, you’ll need to be aware of red flags and actively look for them during franchisee events and on-site visits. Also, try to make it easy for investors to let you know when they’re struggling, so you can provide help before things escalate.
14. Create plans for supporting franchisee wellbeing
Once you find out a franchisee is struggling, you must be ready to help, so put measures in place ahead of time. Your response could involve arranging more regular catch-up calls, business support workshops or referring them to a mental health specialist. If possible, appoint an in-house therapist or wellbeing consultant, who can talk to franchisees confidentially.
More franchisor tips for managing franchisees
Find more expert advice on running a franchise right here at Point Franchise. Check out our recently published business guides or use the search box to uncover specific information. Why not start with our article on the top 10 ways to boost franchisee happiness?
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©