The key to improving the value of your franchise is to invest time in your existing franchisees, rather than focusing solely on attracting new partnerships. Working this way shows potential franchisees that your network is set up for success, increasing the value of your franchise and the likelihood of new recruits.
In an ideal world, prospective franchisees will approach you of their own accord, as a result of the reputation of your brand. But for this to happen, you need to strengthen your existing circle. So how should you go about doing this? Well, we’re here to offer up some stellar advice on how to perfect the system you already have in place, in order to improve the value of your franchise.
If you’re currently of the mindset that gaining new franchisees is the lifeblood of your brand, it might surprise you to know that in order to be successful, you need to be picky when it comes to who you allow into your network. When you allow someone to open a franchise of your business, you allow them to have an impact on your brand. Therefore, you need to choose wisely and consider their credentials before doing so. Their vision needs to match your own and they need to have the motivation to contribute towards the growth of the business as a whole.
The success of each individual franchisee reflects on your overall business. Therefore, if you allow anyone who shows interest to open a branch, you could end up with an inconsistent, mismatched patchwork of subsidiaries that give the impression of a disheveled company. Control of your network is therefore key to its success. By choosing your franchisees carefully, creating a rigid framework and by establishing a strong, consistent brand, you can harness the power that franchisees have over your business’ success.
Consider creating a set of tick boxes that you would like a franchisee to be able to fill. Use this in your recruitment process to ensure that you have a team of like-minded people working towards the same aims, with the same likelihood of success. This is a sure-fire way of ensuring the continued growth in value of your brand as a whole.
Boost Visibility and Maintain Your Brand
While you’re focusing on the success of your franchisees, don’t forget the responsibilities you have to maintain and grow your brand.
Take the time to build a marketing strategy for your franchise. Create some simple, achievable objectives for the next 12 months and create a plan to support them. Put yourself where your franchisees are, through networking and social media. Look to demonstrate your skills and expertise through blogs and PR. Produce a simple, well maintained website. Spend time getting to grips with search engine optimisation to make sure you’re easy to find online.
Perhaps most importantly, use the successes of your franchisees to promote your franchise. Demonstrate how your network has been successful, and how you’ve supported your franchisees to grow.
Encourage your franchisees to do the same with their own individual enterprises. For example, supply them with creative ideas on how they can attract new customers and become the talk of the town. Think themed days and special offers or taking part in local events to raise awareness.
Keep Franchisees Updated
It is crucially important to stay connected to all of your franchisees. One of your key responsibilities is to provide them with support, whether that’s to do with managerial techniques, operational methods or achieving a consistent business interior. Furthermore, by updating them on developments taking place in the business as a whole, you can nurture a sense of community as well as encourage and motivate them. If they know the business is doing well, they will feel a sense of contribution towards that; motivating them to continue towards their own goals.
Knowing that they are part of something bigger can help them to feel protected, supported and proactive. Share your goals with them; there’s nothing more discouraging than feeling left out and dismissed. This further creates a sense of joint responsibility and success. However, don’t go overboard and bombard them with endless facts, figures and aims for the coming years. It needs to be accessible, easy to digest, and motivational.
Digitise Your Operations
This next piece of advice is relevant for almost every business out there, but especially useful for those with a network of franchises. Digitise. Not only should you be uniting forces through consistent communication, but you should also have a central platform through which operations are managed. This creates a sense of community and makes you feel more accessible to them.
Digitising the business is the best way to achieve this. Consider creating platforms that can be accessed by every branch, where they can find and log information. Ideally, each franchisee should have their own landing page within the platform; encouraging a sense of importance and giving them a clear, easy-to-follow format to use.
Another beneficial way to digitise your business is by making the most of outsourcing. The customer service department in any business, including your franchisees, is key. It is the interface through which you communicate with your customers; maintaining strong relationships with them and transforming leads into sales. The best investment you and franchisees can make is in customer service, which is supported by the fact that 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps.
So, what is outsourcing and how could it improve the value of your business through your customer service department? Outsourcing is handing over responsibility for an aspect of your company to a third party, on a temporary or permanent basis. The main benefit is the flexibility of this option; it allows you to have help when you need it, without having to pay for it when you don’t. You can outsource almost anything but outsourcing the busiest yet least consistent operations give you the best bang for your buck.
For example, outsourcing your calls ensures that every lead and every call from an existing customer is not only answered but handled with perfection, thanks to trained and experienced call handlers; creating sales conversions and maintaining strong customer relationships.
You could also use outsourcing to manage a live chat service on your website, meaning you and your franchisees are always available, 24 hours a day.
Finally, lots of business owners outsource day to day administration, such as diary management, to virtual personal assistants. This frees up valuable time to invest in more lucrative areas of business, such as growth and managing franchisees. If you do consider outsourcing any of these services, or encouraging your franchisees to do so, do your research and choose a provider carefully. Make sure your outsource partner takes the time to understand you and your businesses.
Provide Ongoing Training
One brilliant thing to provide for your franchisees through a digital platform, is access to ongoing online training resources. Investing in your business partners makes them feel valued, and the additional training will add value to employees and, therefore, the franchisees and franchisor.
As we’ve already mentioned, consistency is key to the success of your franchise. So, creating a well-structured and consistent approach to the training and development you offer your franchisees will support you in not only improving the effectiveness of your franchisees but, in turn, improving the value of your franchise.
Uniting your franchisees with one another is another way to make sure they feel supported, and part of a community that shares the same goals. They can share ideas and strategies for success, and you can encourage competition between them. Competition is a great way to motivate franchisees in the short term, but be sure to recognise accomplishments for it to have the intended affect.
Consider online forums and blogs, with opportunities for your franchisees to add content. Create leader boards and promote fastest growing franchisees through your communications and digital channels.
Keep in Touch
Remember, communication is a two-way thing. While it’s important for you to be contactable to your franchisees, it is also important that you keep in touch with them and get feedback that you can use to make improvements. The more you know about how your franchisees are getting along, the more power you have to help them make adjustments that ensure their success. This, in turn, ensures your success.
One of the best ways to really get an insight into your franchisees and the challenges they might be facing, is to spend a day in their shoes. Visit the premises to get first hand experience of what it’s like to work there and what it’s like to manage. This also has the added benefit of helping you gain respect from your franchisees and gives you the opportunity to nurture the kind of relationship that gives you the best chance of success. An impressive 91% of franchisees have declared satisfaction with their franchisor, don’t break the trend!
Make it Easy for Potential Franchisees
Make sure any information a potential new franchisee might need in order to make their decision, is readily available online. For example, growth statistics and statistics for individual existing franchisees can give them insight into how successful they might be with their own.
Create simple application forms for potential franchisees to register their interest and make sure you follow up when needed.
Finally, where (and when!) possible, meet in person with potential new franchisees. This gives the impression that you would take an active role if they were to become your business partner. An invisible CEO is a warning sign for those looking for a franchiser who offers support and guidance throughout the process.
So, in summary, make it easy for prospective partners to access the information they need, but choose new franchisees carefully as their performance can have a big impact on your brand. Make sure you connect and communicate with your franchisees to create a supportive community, and to gain valuable insight into improvements that could be made. Remember to play your part in raising awareness of your brand, provide ongoing training and digitise where possible to create a more sleek and efficient operation. Very soon, you’ll find yourself with a waiting list of potential franchisees who want a slice of your lucrative pie.