Enhancing Franchisee Commitment: A Commitment to Success
There is no doubt that the franchisor and the franchisee together play a role in the success of the overall franchise company. But what or who makes the franchisee committed to making his business successful? Can any one person force another person to be committed to anything? Dr. Robert Schuller, pastor and motivational speaker, tells us, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” Commitment to “whatever” is a personal devotion. How then does a franchisor enhance the franchisee commitment? Think about this: I can be me, you can be you, but we can’t “be” each other.
First and foremost, the franchisor needs to have a proven and easy-to-execute system.
There are ways a franchisor can help motivate, encourage and even make the commitment easier for the franchise owner. In fact, that’s what the franchisee signed up for: “I want to own my own business and I need the support to stay committed to my success.” The mindset of the franchisor should be to provide a supportable system that leads to franchisees’ success. Conversely, the mindset of the franchise owner should be: “I am committed to be number one, I am committed to win the race and I am committed to outsell my competition.”
Both the franchisor and the franchisee must define what success means to them. Then each party must be committed to one thing: the success of each other. While there’s a multitude of ways to help someone succeed, here are five suggestions that may help enhance the commitment level of the franchisee:
- The franchisor must have a proven and easy-to-follow system and the franchisee must follow that system.
- The franchisor should have a mentor program in place and the franchisee should take advantage of that program.
- The franchisor should strive to ensure decisions are field driven and the franchisee must share knowledge from the field to make those decisions.
- The franchisor should have reward systems and programs in place to motivate the franchisee and the franchisee should strive to achieve these rewards.
- The franchisor must strive to keep things simple and the franchisee should focus on the simple and not overcomplicate the process.
Have a Proven, Executable System and Follow it
What is that? It’s the brand, the “how to” of the system. Having a cookie-cutter system in place helps franchisees focus on the things that add to their commitment. Remember, some parts of the system are simply non-negotiable. That’s the must do’s: the aspects of the business that deal with the brand. Other parts of the system can be tweaked by the franchisees. There are usually two ways to do something, two ways to get from point A to point B, without breaking the law. We all have to follow the laws and rules of both paths. A rubber gavel is a great way to enforce a system and lead the franchisee to commitment.
For the franchisee, his role is simple: he bought or was awarded a franchise system. Follow it. In the beginning, follow it to a tee. Don’t deviate. As time goes by, the franchisee may learn a way to tweak within his market. The franchisee should make sure the franchisor knows what he’s doing differently, and together, they can continue to grow the system.
Have a Mentor Program
One of the best ways to enhance franchisee commitment is to establish and promote a mentor program. The International Franchise Association has a program in place, so take advantage of it to learn how to match the good with good and the like with like. The goal is to help new and even struggling franchisees by matching them with successful franchisees. People learn from and thrive by rubbing shoulders with successful people. A mentor program provides opportunities to network with success.
Clients are looking for companies that are easy to do business with, so be that company.
For the franchisee, take advantage of those who “have been there and done that,” but not of those who “have been there and didn’t do that.” There’s a big difference. Don’t listen to the bad apple. The saying, “Every market is different” is true; “Every market is different.” The difference is the franchisee. “If it’s to be, it’s up to me (you).” Franchisees should listen to, learn from and grow with their mentor. Above all, the franchisee should ask his mentor to hold him accountable to succeed.
Ensure Decisions are Field Driven
Think of a successful franchise brand where all the ideas came from the ivory tower of the franchisor. Probably can’t think of one, right? Successful franchisors are franchisee and field driven. Franchisors should have multiple ways to get information from franchisees about all topics. Get input and advice. That doesn’t mean a franchisee council all the time, but instead, different focus groups on each topic. It does mean engaging franchisees to make decisions all the time. What do they want, need, like or think? What are their markets and customers calling for? Find out and give them solutions. Listening to and providing the need adds to the franchisee commitment as they learn firsthand it’s a partnership, give and take.
For the franchisee, offer advice, not commands. Provide suggestions. Take advantage of participating in focus groups. Franchisees in the field can provide their unique knowledge. Together, franchisees can help lead the franchisor to great commitments.
Have Reward Systems in Place
Franchisees like to be recognized and win, no matter what the prize is. The satisfaction of being first or winning goes a long way toward developing commitment. Set up company or regional reward systems and award top franchisees for various achievements. Franchisors can have different levels of achievement with bigger prizes as the accomplishment grows. Franchise systems can set up contests for franchisees to compete with each other. Set up contests that motivate franchisees to achieve the main goal of the business. Make sure the contest is fair and has clear objectives.
For franchisees, they should participate in all rewards programs and contests to win. They might consider motivating their staff and adding their own prize for them to win. And even if they don’t win every time, play the game to win every time. Being part of the contest shows commitment and encourages your staff to commit to win as well.
Keep it Simple, Don’t Overcomplicate
In today’s ever-changing world, simple must outweigh complex; don’t make it hard. Rid your system of the stuff that bogs it down of time and money. Franchisees want easy in and out. Clients are looking for companies that are easy to do business with, so be that company. It’s been proven that simple works; keep it that way.
Franchisees shouldn’t undercut and overcomplicate, but instead follow the system and make it easy for themselves and their staff.
Be Committed to Each Other
If it’s to be, it’s up to me. I can’t commit for you and you can’t commit for me. But together we can encourage each other to commit. Through providing and following a proven system, by having a mentor program, by making sure decisions are field driven, by having a rewards program in place, and by keeping it simple, both the franchisor and franchisee and focus on that one thing: success. Commit to it. ⎯
Harvey H. H. Homsey, CFE, is vice president of franchise systems for Express Employment Professionals. Homsey serves on the IFA Franchise Relations, as well as the Membership and Convention committees.
He can be reached at 800-652-6400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.