Is your franchise operations team sabotaging your franchise growth?
Is your franchise operations team sabotaging your franchise growth?

Franchise operations, while not always considered in the conversation, is one of the most important pieces of franchise development.

In a continuing discussion with Sean Fitzgerald, 1851’s Chief Development Strategist, about the challenges of franchise growth (read part one of our conversation here) – apart from just driving franchise leads – our conversation landed on the franchise operations team.

Franchise operations, while not always considered in the conversation, is one of the most important pieces of franchise development. Great organizations collaborate with them, stalled organizations compete with them.

Franchise development teams: It’s really up to you to integrate them into your process so that they aren’t accidentally sabotaging it. No new deals could mean job loss for all departments.

In fact, if the company is being asked to grow, the entire organization should be rallying around development. When looking at your own organization – especially from the C-suite – evaluating the connections of your support team (ops, marketing, sales, finance) is critical toward finding assets and liabilities. Knowing these can help you identify holes in your growth strategy and execution.

Think about these statements in regard to key members of your organization:

  1. Do they support growth or are they frustrated when new franchisees come on board? If they are less than positive about franchise growth, why? Are they saying no to candidates based on the way they smile? Are they trying to find anything possible that is wrong with the candidate as an out? Are they truly bought into the recruitment process of great franchisees?
  2. When evaluating a “bad” franchisee in the system, do they suggest you sell the unit or close it? Sometimes there are wins in retraining the franchisee. Sometimes they are lost on running the business. What type of support does your team want to give that franchisee who you once felt positive about?
  3. If a franchisee is struggling, does your team suggest a reset and encourage them to come back to training? Do they focus on what would happen if they started to execute? Coming back to training can help boost a franchisee’s business operations, boost their mood on the brand, and ultimately boost their validation. When ops has a franchisee who is challenging, do they simply want them out?
  4. Having operations focus too much within the four walls (e.g. making burgers and cleaning counters) instead of helping franchisees grow a successful business can cause the franchisee to remain stalled. Is your ops team business focused? They should be teaching the franchisees how to be great business owners. If your ops team is great at running the mechanics of a store, but not great at leading the business ownership model (coaching an owner how to make money), you are basically setting yourself up for failure.
  5. If your ops team is involved in the approval process without alignment with growth, they will be the goalies keeping people out. They only want easy franchisees who require little oversight, instead of someone who can be trained on how to run the model correctly. Make sure the voice of your development is unified.

A great operations team will want to help franchise development. They will be dialed into growth. They will be dialed into finding great franchisees who will follow the model. They will help your brand become among the one percent that goes from emerging to established.

If you feel your organization lacks buy-in to franchise growth, retrain them, too. Something as little as starting over with a vision can help jumpstart your growth. 

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