The latest post in his advice series covering all things franchising sees ServiceMaster’s David Burton cover the franchise “journey”.
Right back at the beginning of this series, we looked at some of the motivations behind a prospect wanting to make the move into franchising and invest in your brand.
These ranged from redundancy and lifestyle choice to career change and route to startup. In the early days, franchisees’ general ambitions are all broadly similar in the long run – invest, build and sell.
By utilising the knowledge and skills of the many teams within the organisation and by simply applying the franchise model, ServiceMaster franchisees have a relatively fail-safe route to achieving their franchise journey goals. The time it takes for a franchisee to realise these goals is largely down to their drive and commitment to achieving them.
There aren’t many businesses that realise their ambitions in the first five-year of a franchise journey, and choose to move on at that point, but the five-year term allows flexibility for both the franchisee and the franchisor.
Investing in a franchise isn’t buying yourself a job for life. The savviest of investors view a franchise as an asset to build and sell when the time is right.
This could be in 10 or 20 years’ time, but the length of the individual journey for business owners is determined by themselves, assuming they remain in good standing with regard to the franchise agreement.
Within franchising, there is a three phase life cycle all franchisees go through, which we broadly identify as “we, me, fee”.
These stages can develop quickly or extend over many years, but it presents a challenge to the franchisor in how they engage, coach and deliver for franchisees.
We – You’re a new franchisee. You’re excited to make your business a success and the franchisor is there to help you. “We’re in this together” – you follow the model as proven by the franchisor and you are happy enough to pay the agreed royalty fees in return for the support and guidance you receive to help you succeed.
Me – You’re a few years into franchising now, perhaps you’ve just signed a new franchise agreement and you know what you’re doing. Business is good or maybe it’s a challenge but you can get through it, you’ve done it before.
You’re an “entrepreneur”, you’ve built this fantastic business and you employ a great number of staff. When the franchisor calls or holds a meeting, you don’t really feel the need to attend, you’ve heard it all before right?
Fee – You’re a dab hand at this franchising business. Your client list is extensive and you’ve brought all this business in on your own. You don’t need or request any support from the franchisor, so why are you still paying your franchise fees?
This we, me, fee process is a mind-set that will affect almost all franchisees’ journeys. It can hinder relations with the franchisor and even threaten the livelihood of their business so how can you avoid this happening?
Engage with your franchisees at all times, and on as many levels as you possibly can. In 2014, here at ServiceMaster we started to make some big changes to our structure in order to provide more focused one-to-one support in marketing, sales and operations.
The notion of mass personalisation is the philosophy driving this structure. What we mean by that is that every franchisee within each of our networks has exactly the same franchise agreement, the same brand and the same level of opportunity.
By working closer with franchisees, coaching them to want to strive for more and providing the tools for everything they need, you can map and manage the we, me, fee attitude during their journey for as many as is possible. Help them to achieve a successful and prosperous future by keeping them engaged in their relationship with the franchise.
If you’re quiet, how will your franchisees know what you are doing for them? If you’re absent, who will they turn to for help? The end goal for all franchisees is to have an asset to sell or pass on on at the end of their journey and as franchisor you must ensure that you have done everything you can to facilitate the necessary activities to help your franchisees realise their investment.
Missed David’s previous article? Catch up here.
Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.