Management Styles: Are You a "First-Time" Franchisor?

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First Time Franchisor

Are you thinking about franchising your business or in the initial stages of becoming a franchisor for the first time? There’s no need to be nervous; this may be a huge step for you, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you navigate the exciting months ahead. Keep reading for tips on growing a successful franchise, no matter your management style.

The world of franchise management can be daunting to outsiders. But if you’ve got a great business venture you’d like to grow, appointing ‘franchisees’ to help you take your brand to new locations could help you expand quickly and affordably.

Before we get into our eight tips for new franchisors, let’s take a look at the ‘first-time franchisor’ leadership style. While you may think your limited experience in the franchising sector could hold you back, a lack of expertise might actually be a positive attribute. Here are some benefits of being a first-time franchisor.

Advantages of being a first-time franchisor

  • You’re passionate - You’re completely new to franchising, so you’ll probably be excited about the path ahead and eager to make sure your business is as successful as possible. You’ll probably also have bags of energy as you set out, which is always helpful.
  • You’re adaptable - Franchisors who have been in the game for years or even decades are probably set in their ways. You, on the other hand, are likely to be open-minded and enthusiastic to learn new skills and information. Your willingness to go further will drive your business forward.
  • You don’t have any imagined limits - More experienced franchisors might have come across obstacles in the past and constructed imaginary boundaries to their success. You should have no reason to believe you can’t achieve your goals, which could be a plus point if it leads you to set higher targets than other franchisors.

How to boss being a first-time franchisor

1. Be prepared to relinquish control

You may think you’re ready to let investors launch your brand in new locations, but it can be incredibly difficult to see others take on your business. You’ve probably invested time, money and tears into your venture, so you’ll need to have the emotional strength to let franchisees have a stake in your company.

2. Have a clear image of your ideal franchisee

Your franchisees will represent your business, so you need to be sure they’re the right fit. Before you even think about advertising your franchise opportunity, you should take the time to conjure up a clear picture of your perfect franchisee.

Ideally, they should share your values, so think about what matters to you - for example, is it sustainability, collaboration or fantastic customer service? Also, identify your ‘deal-breakers’ and be prepared to walk away from a partnership if a potential investor doesn’t embody your brand ethos.

3. Support your franchisees

A great franchisor keeps on top of events within their investor network. Celebrate your partners’ milestones and achievements, and share any useful resources you stumble across in your own time. Also, organise regular events so they have plenty of opportunities to mingle and share insight.

Dalip Jaggi, founder of marketing agency Devise Interactive says an online portal can be incredibly helpful too:

Setting up a digital resource center will be valuable to hold a directory of files, provide brand guidelines, search approved vendors, find the latest company news and promotions, and allow for open digital communication. Maintain a forward-thinking database so you'll be able to provide answers and resources immediately.

4. Protect your brand

Once you’ve let inconsistencies slip into your franchise, there’s no going back. Your brand is your most important asset, so your management style should be firm when it comes to rules and regulations.

Set franchise guidelines and don’t be tempted to adapt them if individual investors aren’t willing to cooperate. Keeping your products and services consistent across the network is vital if you’re to establish a loyal customer base and professional reputation.

5. Share your goals with franchisees

Don’t keep your ambitions and vision all to yourself. Fiona Simpson, founder and MD of ARTventurers says:

Communicating your vision to your franchisees not only means they will feel fully invested in the brand and part of it, but also means that when, as a franchisor, you are making decisions about taking the business in a certain direction, your franchisees can see WHY you are making those decisions or taking a certain path.

6. Be open to feedback

You might be tempted to ‘fake it till you make it’ as a first-time franchisor. But pretending you’ve got far more experience and insight than you actually do could lead to a lack of trust and respect from your franchisees.

Also, your investors may be able to offer fantastic suggestions - after all, the McDonald’s Big Mac and Filet-O-Fish were developed by franchisees. In general, a collaborative management style can help you grow your business faster and create a network of happy investors.

7. Take advice

Just as you should take suggestions on board, you should also be willing to seek advice. Franchise lawyers, business advisors and even friends and family can all offer an outsider’s perspective on your business. Reading books and listening to podcasts can also help you broaden your horizons and get extra insight.

8. Don’t expect immediate success

Yes, franchising can help you expand your business rapidly, but this growth won’t happen overnight. While you should be ambitious and passionate about your new venture, try to be realistic in your expectations. Setting your goals too high might make you feel frustrated and disillusioned when you don’t reach them. But taking things step by step should help you stay motivated in the long run.

Find out more about becoming a first-time franchisor

You’ll find a wide range of resources on our website to help you perfect your franchise management style. Browse our other articles for franchisors or use the search box to find information on specific topics.

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