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Nick Powills: Start the Hate Mail, I Kind of Like Joint Employer…Parts of It

No one is an expert in everything—and that’s ok.

Being a franchisee is super hard. Especially as a first-time buyer. 

You leave the comfort of knowing what you do for a lost world where you don’t know everything. Oh, and you put on the line—at risk—your life’s savings to own a business where you, “are in business for yourself, not by yourself.”

Now, franchisors will all tell you (ahem, franchisors, this is your opportunity) that they give you superior support. Some do, some don’t. But here’s the reality for many franchisees: They are not experts in everything.

If you were in sales, you are an expert in sales. If you were in marketing, you are an expert in marketing. If you were in operations, you are an expert in operations. But the odds of you being an expert in all categories is slim to none. 

But as a first-time franchisee, you’re thrown into running a business that will require you to be good in each category or to hire someone who is. The associated challenge is that you spend a lot of your funds on getting the business open. Thus, hiring an expert in operations, sales, marketing, and, oh boy, HR/recruiting, is going to be tough.

So, here’s what I suggest (not that I want to suggest disrupting the franchise model): Franchisors find an opportunity to either add operating costs to a franchisee’s business, or find a solution to put scaffolding up around your franchisees.

Some franchisors think the win is the sale. Wrong. The win is successful franchisees who make a ton of money, which in turn makes you a ton of money. To make a ton of money, they need training and scaffolding.

You all know McDonald’s University. What is the purpose of training at McDonald’s? Check out their FAQ, which includes: 

“Is training provided to prospective applicants? How long is it?

We require all franchisees to complete our training program prior to being allowed to purchase restaurants. Generally, the training is anywhere from 12-18 months and done on a part-time basis.”

Why do they do this? To help prepare their franchisees for success. Which is exactly what zors should be doing. 

Think about HR/training. I can tell you I am not an expert at it. In fact, out of every category of my business, it is the one I have gotten wrong the most. How can you give a franchisee, who has no experience in hiring for a business they own, the right scaffolding to win? Not necessarily by being a joint employer, but by super investing in the scaffolding that goes up around them. 

Train. Continue to train. Make your franchise business consultants really work for profitability. Encourage the investment in team.

The point is, if you want to win in franchising—give your franchisees the tools to win. Help fill in their gaps. If you do so, profitability should increase for all. It’s not about joint employer, it is all about supporting those who don’t have all of the right tools to win by providing them with enough tools to win.