Top 10 Tips for Happy Franchisees

18/04/2018 16:00 | Start a business

Tips for happy franchisees

Serial entrepreneur Richard Branson knows a thing or two about what it takes to create a happy workforce. He once said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. Wise words and ones that can just as easily be applied to the franchisor and franchisee relationship.

As a franchisor, your franchisees are your greatest asset. Invest in their development and happiness, and you’ll not only have a network of satisfied franchisees, but you’ll also have a thriving franchise business too.

So, how do you ensure that your business offers the best franchise opportunities for budding entrepreneurs considering buying a franchise? The answer is to show them that you can make them happy and here are some tips on how to make that happen.

1. Positive culture

The culture that you have created and instilled throughout your franchise is one of the first things that prospective franchisees will notice when buying a franchise. It will be apparent in the way that you treat your franchisees and how your franchisees treat their employees and customers.

It may be an intangible benefit but investing in a franchise that has a positive culture and ethical values can mean the difference between being satisfied and profitable compared to unhappy and failing to perform. In fact, a study by the University of Warwick discovered that happiness led to a 12% rise in productivity, while dissatisfied workers were 10% less productive.

2. Help develop a business plan.

Once a franchisee has bought into your culture, and what your franchise stands for, it's essential that they create a business plan as soon as possible. A business plan is a hugely valuable exercise to undertake for new franchisees. It helps to set business objectives and identify any challenges that may be encountered so that they can be planned for. It allows both franchisor and franchisee to review the franchise from a strategic perspective rather than merely being focused on short-term goals.

Although you can’t be expected to develop a business plan for each of your franchisees, you should assist them where possible. Writing a business plan for the first time can be quite daunting. If your franchisees feel overwhelmed by the task, they just won't complete the document. This could be detrimental to their business and therefore affect the overall performance of your franchise network.

3. Offer quality training

The best franchise opportunities for franchisees, particularly if they’re inexperienced, are ones where the franchisor prioritises the creation of quality training programmes. As well as ensuring that the initial training is sufficient enough to prepare your franchisees for owning and operating their business successfully, you should also invest in ongoing training programmes.

Not only will this ensure that franchisees will keep up to date with the latest processes and procedures, but continuous development will also increase franchisee satisfaction. Knowing that you are committed to their personal and professional development will result in content and fulfilled franchisees.

4. Provide detailed operations manuals

Once your franchisees have completed their initial training, they will rely on the operations manuals for guidance on how to run their franchise. The more time and effort you invest in the quality of these manuals, the more effective they will be. Detailed operations manuals reduce the need for your franchisees to turn to you if they are uncertain of any element of the business. This frees you up to spend more time developing and improving your franchise system and empowers your franchisees to take more control of their business.

5. Listen

Your franchisees are best placed to understand what it is that their customers and employees want. For this reason, you should always listen to any feedback, ideas or concerns that your franchisees wish to share with you. Create an environment where your franchisees feel comfortable to approach you with views and opinions.

6. Act on feedback

It's not enough to listen to your franchisees; you need to act on what they tell you too. There is nothing more demotivating for a franchisee than their ideas being ignored, or their opinions being discounted. Of course, it's unrealistic to expect that every piece of feedback can be taken on board, but if your franchisees are consistently offering up ideas for improvement based on customer feedback, it would be wise to act accordingly.

7. Communicate openly and honestly

The relationship between franchisor and franchisee is based on authentic communication. It’s essential to engage in two-way communication to ensure the success of the franchise. To build and maintain good, robust relationships with franchisees you should communicate with your franchisees regularly. This could be over the telephone or via email, but don’t underestimate the power of face to face meetings.

8. Encourage franchisees to work together.

Buying a franchise can be exciting - if a little scary too. But as the famous saying goes, with franchising ‘you're in business for yourself, not by yourself'. As encouraging as it is for franchisees to have your support, the advice and guidance that they can receive from their peers in the network is a massive benefit of investing in a franchise rather than starting an independent business from scratch. As a franchisor, encourage your franchisees to work together to overcome problems and discuss issues they may be experiencing. Creating a supportive network of franchisees is good for business so organise events regularly which gives everyone a chance to meet up, network and socialise.

9. Review performance regularly

For you to be able to help your franchisees to build a profitable business, you need to be aware of the financials for each franchise. Introduce benchmarking exercises so that you’re capable of providing accurate and valuable advice to make improvements to each franchise based on how they are performing compared to the rest of the network.

10. Treat your franchisees with respect.

For franchisees, the best business opportunities are the ones where they feel valued and respected. It’s important to remember that they are your business partners, not your employees, and so should be treated as such. Listen to their opinions, take on board their feedback, communicate with them openly and encourage a culture of honesty. All of this will result in a respectful atmosphere, a robust franchise business, and most importantly, happy franchisees.

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