Spotting the future franchisees within your franchise can be tricky, whether you’re planning on handing the business on soon or just want to help the next generation get started. Here are five tips for shaping your hardworking employees into the franchisees of the future.
Though it’s not something everybody considers, identifying the future franchisees within your business might be a priority for you. Maybe you’re planning on handing over the reins to an employee that knows the business like the back of their hand and want to start training the right candidate early? Or perhaps you just want to focus on employee development and help your staff’s career advancement prospects, so they can experience the success you’ve enjoyed?
Luckily, preparing your employees to make the transition to franchisees can be pretty simple. With careful recruitment and training strategies, you’ll have a whole army of franchisees ready to expand your franchise network in no time at all.
Benefits of finding future franchisees
As your business expands, you need to have the support of a capable and confident workforce. This can only be achieved if you’re prepared to delegate responsibility and invest in the development of your key employees. You can see this as investment in the future of your business; by delegating responsibility you’re providing staff with the skills they need to become future franchisees.
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Numerous studies have found that ‘intrapreneurs’ (staff that operate as if they’re entrepreneurs within a corporate structure) can be a fantastic asset to your company. By encouraging more of your workforce to adopt an entrepreneur mindset, you’ll develop a great team of motivated and engaged employees that make your business even better.
How do I identify future franchisees?
You’ll probably already know if any of your employees have the potential to run their own franchise. They’re likely to be the people that go above and beyond for your business and motivate themselves to make sure their work is always something to be proud of. Future franchisees also don’t rely on you or your manager to tell them to do tasks – if they can see something needs doing, they’ll have it completed before anyone else notices the problem.
Some employees might not shine as brightly, but they may have expressed a desire to be their own boss one day. Making career development a priority for them could turn their outlook around and make them into the model employee. After all, LinkedIn’s Global Job Seeker Trends report of 2017 noted that a lack of career progression opportunities is the top reason why employees feel disengaged and ultimately change jobs. Energising and motivating your employees to work towards becoming their own boss could also help your business.
Developing future franchisees
So how do you go about making your employees into the franchisees of the future? Here are five ways to get started.
1. Gauge your team’s interest
Whether you’ve got one particular employee in mind or want to set up a broader development scheme for any interested employees, you need to find out whether anyone actually wants to become a franchisee first. Many people choose to stick to employment as they want an easier life, where they can turn up, do their job and go home and truly relax. Also, even if your team has considered franchising, joining a high-cost franchise like a restaurant franchise might be financially out of reach.
It’s probably not best to ask for responses in a team meeting. You could broach the subject in person, or send a group email outlining your proposition, so everyone can have a good think about what you’re offering and respond privately. You might find a shy employee has always wanted this kind of opportunity, but never found the courage to ask. On the other hand, your most experienced employee might not be interested. It’s better to have personal development conversations privately so your staff aren’t afraid to be honest.
2. Recruit potential franchisees
If you’ve got your heart set on finding an employee that can take over your franchise, you may need to recruit someone. To avoid upsetting your team, make sure it’s clear from the start that their new colleague has specifically been brought in to eventually take over the franchise. Otherwise, it could seem like this brand-new team member is unfairly being favoured for promotions and development opportunities over people that have worked in your franchise for years.
When finding a future franchisee, be clear about your intentions from the start. It will make sure you attract the right talent and make it easier to find people that are genuinely up for the challenge. Also, set out a clear timeframe of when, exactly, you plan to leave the franchise in their hands. If you don’t plan to retire or leave your franchise for another five years, the opportunity might not appeal to experienced managers or older employees who are keen to quickly step into a franchisee role.
3. Set out a clear timeframe
As just stated, you need to be clear with your potential franchisee how quickly you plan for them to take over. Your successor will not only need time to get to grips with running the franchise but time to get their personal finances ready for the transition. It’s less important if you’re just offering a career development programme, but it’s still good to give your employees an idea of how soon they could be starting their own franchise.
Alternatively, if you’re offering training without any clear timescale, be upfront about that. Many employees might prefer to engage in a programme like that, as it will equip them with the tools for business ownership without putting any pressure on them about when they have to take the plunge.
You might also want to make franchisee development an ongoing activity. It could become a monthly team meeting, where you’ll share a specific piece of advice each time, or you could pick a different employee each month for some one-to-one mentoring.
4. Adapt your training programme
Unless you’re training up one employee to take over your specific operations, try not to make your development programme too specific. They probably already know plenty about your industry from working in it day in day out, and might want to become a franchisee for a business that’s closer to their personal passion. The most valuable thing you can teach your employees is how to lead and how to own a business.
5. Share your personal experience
One of the most useful and easiest ways to help your employees become franchisees is by sharing your own journey as a franchisee. Your team might know you well as ‘boss’, but do they know your career background and how you became a successful franchisee. Whether you made the transition from employment or moved from an independent business to a franchise, there is so much you can share with your ambitious team. Even if you feel like you still have so much more to learn, any insight you can share as the owner of a successful franchise is invaluable.
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Shaping the future
Stepping into the role of mentor and trainer can be tricky if you’re a relatively young and inexperienced businessperson yourself. However, giving your employees the chance to work towards owning a business, or to simply better themselves with a bit more knowledge, will make your franchise so much stronger in the long run. If you need a few tips to get you into the mentor mindset, here’s how franchisors can be mentors during tough times and beyond. There’s also plenty of other franchisee-related articles on our website covering a variety of topics from financing through to promotion tips.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©