It’s easy to overlook the importance of soft skills when you’re busy running a business - but they play a key role in franchise success. Many people make the mistake of developing their skillset before interviews and disregarding them as soon as work builds up. It’s much better to think of soft skills as character traits you should continue refining throughout your life.
Whether you’re an employee, a franchisee or a franchisor, knowing how to master soft skills is crucial. They’ll help you progress through your career and you can nurture them in your own teams by modelling them yourself.
If you run a franchise network, you can pass on the traits you possess and value to your investors. In turn, franchisees pass their soft skills on to their employees, continuing the chain.
What are soft skills?
Before we dive into the top soft skills to master, here’s a quick definition of the term.
Unlike hard skills, which describe teachable, industry-specific qualifications, soft skills influence how you approach tasks and interact with others. Essentially, they’re ‘people skills’ and relate to communication, attitude and social intelligence.
While some are more suited to particular vocations, soft skills are largely transferable. And although you may not naturally have certain traits, you can take steps to nurture them in order to improve your skillset.
Soft skills are considered hugely significant for both employers and employees. In fact, 93 percent of bosses say they’re either “essential” or “very important” when it comes to deciding who to hire (Wonderlic).
Find out more on this subject in our dedicated guide.
Employers aren’t looking for robots that can only execute on a job description. They need people who can positively impact the culture and see what’s around the corner — people with depth. Soft skills are a way to address this.
—Anish Majumdar, professional resume writer
The top soft skills for franchise success
1. Leadership and management
Successfully managing your franchise is all about delegation and making sure people with the appropriate skills are completing their job to a high standard. By being a strong leader with the ability to understand the people around you, you’ll be able to maximise your operating efficiency.
Great leaders inspire and motivate those around them, boosting company morale and productivity.
2. Compassion and understanding
One of the hallmarks of business management is the ability to help people improve their skills by providing suitable development opportunities and constructive feedback.
To be a successful franchisee or franchisor, you’ll need to understand the perspective of those in your immediate network. A bad manager will make employees feel undervalued and unappreciated; a good manager will give them a sense of self-worth and confidence.
>> Read more:
You’re not very likely to reach franchise success if you can’t establish a consistent operational structure across the network. The ability to conform to an established approach requires discipline and a willingness to work under strict conditions, even if you want to make changes from time to time.
If you’re a franchisee, conforming may mean leaving your ego at the door and appreciating the successful franchise model developed over time. As a franchisor, you must have the strength of character to enforce consistency effectively across the board.
>> Read more:
- 5 Qualities of a Successful Franchisor
- 4 Things Franchisees Never Have Time for But Are Essential for Running a Successful Business
- How to Launch a Franchise and Get Noticed
- 4 Elements of a Successful Franchise
- How to Start a New Business on a Shoe-String Budget
- The Ultimate Guide to Franchising Success
Communication skills are a key component of franchise success. They’re particularly important if you operate a customer-facing business, but you’ll also need to be capable of presenting your thoughts clearly and concisely in other areas of work. Meetings, networking events and day-to-day relationship management all require strong communication skills.
As a franchisor or franchisee, you’ll also need to successfully train investors or staff to work within the guidelines of the franchise. If your team doesn’t understand how to carry the brand concept, you may struggle to maintain consistency within the business.
Love it or hate it, negotiation plays a significant part in running a successful franchise business, from paying the franchise fee to securing a rental lease to discussing supplier rates. You may also need to negotiate flexible work arrangements with employees.
A great business owner can access favourable deals and implement positive working practices without damaging relationships with partners and colleagues.
6. Conditional optimism
Paul Romer, former chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank, champions ‘conditional optimism’. The phrase describes the process of finding motivation and positivity when faced with challenges, which can help business owners reach franchise success.
Great leaders always find a way to motivate their teams through hard times by making sure everyone understands the business’s end goal and how they can achieve it.
Pessimism is more likely to foster denial, procrastination, apathy, anger, and recrimination. It is conditional optimism that brings out the best in us.
—Paul Romer, former chief economist and senior vice president of the World Bank
Franchisor and franchisee tips on how to master soft skills
- Accept feedback - Even as a manager, you can learn from constructive feedback and improve your approach.
- Practise - One of the best ways to enhance your current skillset is to try new tasks and roles, and build your confidence.
- Take opportunities to do public speaking - Experts believe over three quarters of us dread speaking publicly, but we can improve our skills and reduce anxiety if we get used to it.
- Take an online course - There are hundreds of remote learning programmes available to help you refine your soft skills; you just need to find the time to complete them.
- Start paying attention to others’ body language - People reveal a lot about themselves in the way they interact, and you can communicate more effectively by picking up on silent cues.
- Provide staff training - Helping your employees develop their skills should improve your chances of franchise success. Unfortunately, 63 percent of millennials say their leadership skills aren’t fully developed, and almost seven in 10 female employees think their bosses don’t provide adequate support resources (Deloitte and Skillsoft).
More development and growth resources
Find out more on this topic in our guide to identifying and demonstrating soft skills, or use the search box to discover further articles on nurturing business growth.
Here at Point Franchise, we’re committed to supporting entrepreneurs to achieving franchise success, which is why we publish two new articles on our website every single day.
Alice Tuffery, Point Franchise ©