Franchisees: If You Are Struggling in Your Franchise System, Start by Looking in the Mirror
Franchisees: If You Are Struggling in Your Franchise System, Start by Looking in the Mirror

Here are some nuggets to think about when starting to turn around your business and make improvements.

Very few people who are struggling take a good look in the mirror and blame themselves. Those who are self-aware certainly do, but those typically fall into a small group.

Franchisees are very much the same.

“I was oversold.” “I didn’t get enough support.” “It’s the franchisors fault.”

Unfortunately, though, the franchisees are typically wrong. At the end of the day, they bought a business – not a free lunch.

You have all heard it.

Sean Fitzgerald, 1851 Chief Brand Strategist, and I had a long conversation about fixing sales, structure and systems – and, of course, getting the most out of franchisees. This was yet another topic we landed on (read the others here and here). If a franchisor can have a great relationship with encouraged franchisees, chances are they will drive their top lines (which will drive royalty), they will drive growth (validation) and they will drive innovation.

Don’t let the bad franchisees blame you, franchisor, especially if you have some solid units under your footing.

If there are more than 50 units in the franchise brand, the brand has some sort of business system and model. It is somewhat proven. Therefore, your challenges are likely not the territory, not the franchisors fault, not the fault of training – it’s your execution of the model.

But, if you are willing to take a good look in the mirror, here are some nuggets to think about when starting to turn around your business and make improvements:

  1. First off, franchisees shouldn’t buy a business because they like the product. Buy the franchise because you like the business model. Therefore, franchisors should reinforce this by continuously educating the franchisees about the business and the plan.
  2. If you are struggling, start by following the model. I know, that sounds stupid, but if you ask operations people about the top producers, they will say they do exactly what is asked of them. They will say the people at the bottom don’t.
  3. Find a mentor. Reach out to the top franchisees in the system. If you are not willing to listen to your operations team, listen to franchisees who are winning on how they are executing the model – not how they are doing it differently, but how they are executing it. There is a ton of support data in the internal system.
  4. Go back to training. If the model works for other people, then apparently, there is something you missed. Get a fresh look, go back to training and make sure you understand the details of executing the entire business model.
  5. Evaluate your team. If you are following the model but your team isn’t, you are still failing. Your team is just as important as you are to your overall success
  6. Communicate. Talk with your ops support, participate in webinars, talk with other franchisees, and don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions on better execution of the systems. When franchisees are engaged (attending marketing seminars, monthly town calls, training courses), they will have a better chance at striving for greatness. Top producers are involved; the people at the bottom are not. Get engaged. Put your pride aside. You bought the brand for a reason.
  7. At the end of the day, it’s your business. The job of the franchisor is not to run your business, it’s their job to help you run your business. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to get the job done. At the end of the day, you are the reason your business is failing, not the franchisor.

A good look in the mirror can be the first step to turning around your business – especially if you don’t have quitting as an option. Go back to the basics. A lot of wins can be found in the business of the brand.