I am sharing some advice on franchising operations which I have given to franchisers who have sought tips from me through the years. It is always an honor for me to be of help to these prominent franchisers. However, I also want to pay tribute to the start-up franchisers who have joined the ranks. These tips are a result of my reflections on the industry, and is dedicated to both old and new franchisers.
1. WALK DON’T RUN: Launching too many branches within a short period is risky. A franchiser can easily attain the desired number of branches, yet this will also mean facing many concerns both within the company and with franchisees. Protect your business and your brand by going at a steady pace. Do not be reckless by trying to grow too fast.
2. QUALITY SPEAKS LOUDER THAN QUANTITY: It is much better to branch out with a few, well chosen franchisees. Selecting franchisees carefully and keeping their numbers to a manageable one will mean giving them the quality support they deserve. Satisfied franchisees will only be too happy to convey their satisfaction to the customers.
3. BY YOUR FRUITS, YOU WILL BE KNOWN: Franchisers who persevere and maintain focus on their products and services specially providing superb and consistent customer service will go a long way.
4. WIN THE MIGHTY W-O-M : How many times in our lives, do we often catch ourselves talking about a brand, product or a person? An individual may not directly complain to the store manager for the inferior treatment. However may speak and more so starts to send SMS to all people in the directory. W-O-M stands for WORD OF MOUTH + TEXT (or shall I coin the acronym as W-O-M-T). Franchisers ought to exert all efforts in communicating with franchisees and the rest of the people in the company on the importance of giving customers the wonderful experience in all aspects. It may even be starting with the way telephones are answered.
5. AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY: Bing on top of day-today operations will prevent small concerns from becoming full-blown problems. Constantly check on your managers and franchisees to know what is going on. Provide a hotline for important concerns. It is pathetic, not to mention dangerous, for franchisers to lose touch with their franchisees.
6. SEEK AND YE YOU SHALL FIND: Finding the right franchisee is difficult especially if you keep looking in the same places. Participating in provincial trade shows may prove fruitful. In my experience there are many passionate and qualified franchisee applicants in the provinces. Settling for people with minimal qualifications may spell danger especially if the franchisee applicant is just merely investing.
7. DO UNTO OTHERS WHAT YOU WANT OTHERS TO DO UNTO YOU: The Golden Rule is applicable to all life situations, including business. A franchiser who wants business to flourish should practice this rule. Treat everyone customers, employees, franchisees and suppliers, honestly and with respect. One franchiser I admire addresses everybody regardless of rank and stature with either a “SIR” or “MAM” before their first name, which make the person being addressed feel important. Of course, you have to be sincere when you do this, otherwise it will show.
8. KISS AND MAKE UP: In a Franchiser and Franchisee relationship, there will always be moments of misunderstanding. It is best that the Franchiser takes the first move in correcting and patching up. Waiting and avoiding the issue may just create a mole into a mountain.