Franchisee support

Article about support in franchising. You will learn from this article how and by what means to support your partners.
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Franchisee support methods largely determine the development of the entire network. The actions of partners within the network depend on how the support of franchise-opened facilities is organized. As a result, support affects the performance of the outlet and determines whether the partner will open new outlets under the same franchise, continue to operate under this brand, or close down altogether.

Often, novice franchisors focus primarily on sales. It seems to them that it is franchise sales that generate profit and determine the effectiveness of the franchise. High sales with poor support will only increase chaos within the network, partner dissatisfaction, and outlet closures.

Properly structured support helps franchisees earn money, which means it motivates them to open new outlets and recommend the franchise to more and more entrepreneurs. In my practice, there was a case when I sold a franchise to the same entrepreneur or one of his friends every month. In this case, the franchisee becomes a literal promoter of your franchise.

I recommend that franchisors focus on the following partner support processes:

  1. Franchisee control.
  2. Franchisee consulting.
  3. Training.
  4. Coordination and feedback.
Franchisee control is carried out in order to:
  • The network was uniform. It should be impossible for a customer to determine whether an outlet belongs to a franchisee or is owned by the founder.

  • Franchise outlets maintained quality and service standards. Having received a poor-quality product or service at one outlet, the customer makes conclusions about the quality of the product of the entire network.

  • Franchise outlets did not pose a threat to the brand's reputation. As in the previous case, the actions of one outlet can cast a shadow over the entire network. For example, a franchisee allowed himself to publish an ambiguous political statement on Instagram. This action can lead to a negative reaction to the entire network.

  • Know-how and technologies were not transferred to third parties. The franchise agreement implies the transfer of the right to use a certain set of elements to only one person - the franchisee, who pays a franchise fee for this opportunity. Any dissemination of confidential information should be stopped by the franchisor.

  • Franchise outlets were operating effectively. The profitability of franchise outlets is an indicator of the health of the network. The franchisee comes to the network precisely in order to recoup the invested funds and earn money. The success of franchise outlets is a guarantee that new partners will come and the network will grow.

Great, we've figured out the purpose of control a bit, let's look at what means can be used to implement this control.

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Franchisee controls:

Secret shopper is a common control method where a franchisor's employee visits a franchise outlet, checks it against a checklist, creates a report, and sends it to the manager. This method is convenient due to its availability and low cost, but it is very ineffective because the check is carried out very selectively and often the skill and responsibility of the performer himself is not at a high level.

Video surveillance is a favorite method of franchisors, it really gives full control if... someone is watching these cameras. Very often, the franchisor installs cameras, but saves on the personnel who would work with video surveillance. This is perhaps the most powerful control tool if built properly.

Quality inspector is a very cool way to identify violations at the outlet, especially if you can make the inspector's visit unexpected, the staff really starts to be afraid of getting a reprimand and pays more attention to compliance with standards.

Review control is an important tool in the age of digital technology. It is important that monitoring of review sites and mentions in social networks is monitored instantly. Feedback and comments should be responded to immediately.

Financial report - a competent franchisor will keep his finger on the pulse of the partner business. In order to monitor the payback period, the state of income and expenses, it is necessary to constantly monitor the financial report of the franchisee and give corrective recommendations and consultations.

It is important to note that any one specific method does not give results, they need to be implemented and used in combination.

It is also important that the franchisee himself is interested in control. If his approach to business is correct, then he will perceive checks and control from the founder as help and support, and not as a desire to impose another fine.

Sanctions for violations of the rules
And, actually, about fines. Next, I propose to consider the results of inspections and the actions that should follow the inspection.

Based on the identified violations, the franchisor makes a decision. This decision should not be spontaneous, it should be spelled out in advance in the rules, standards, and in the commercial concession agreement.

Depending on your approach and franchise management style, the following sanctions are possible:

Recommendation - the franchisee receives a recommendation to eliminate the discrepancy.

Fine - the franchisee pays a fine for the detected violation.

Warning - the peculiarity of warnings is that they can be made a limited number of times, and after that something global should happen.

Deprivation of the right to use the trademark - this happens with franchisees who do not comply with the rules and standards and pose a threat to the business.

I deliberately will not write much about the specified fines, because a lot really depends on the business, company, and market. Somewhere a fine will be a mortal offense, after which all franchisees will leave, and somewhere it is in the order of things.

The way to use all the described tools and methods depends on the strategy of your franchise, its terms, and the specifics of your market. It is these factors that determine the combination of the use of the listed tools in the control system of your franchise.
List of requirements for a business to become a franchise

Franchisee training

According to the terms of his franchise, the entrepreneur is ready to transfer all developments, technologies, and know-how to partners for a fee. He also undertakes to provide consulting support and assistance to partners in his franchise network. But there is one important component without which the franchise cannot "take off" and become effective. This component is franchisee training.

To run a franchise business, it is necessary for the franchisee team to learn how to work according to the network rules. To do this, it is necessary to teach the staff of the franchise outlet the basics of working according to the brand standards.

In most large franchise companies, an academy or training center is organized for this purpose, on the basis of which the staff is trained: both for their own outlets and for franchise outlets.

Smaller companies conduct internships on the basis of their own outlets, assigning the franchisee team to one of the successful outlets.

Recently, franchisors have wanted to have video tutorials that can be shown to employees. In my opinion, this format is only suitable as an addition to regular face-to-face training and is absolutely not suitable as the main form of training. How can you train, for example, a chef by simply showing him a set of video tutorials?

The main points that can make up a checklist for successful franchising training:
1) Coordinate the training team in advance to avoid a situation where unprepared or unsuitable people come to you from afar.

2) Warn the franchisee in advance that someone from the training group will not pass the certification. This happens all the time. It does not mean that you need to specifically "weed out" someone, it will just create a serious attitude among the trainees.

3) Send out the training program, self-study materials, and certification method in advance. Give people the opportunity to learn and prepare in advance.

4) Alternate between teaching methods: theory, practice, tasks, interim testing, business games. This way, the employee will be able to immerse themselves in the knowledge, not just repeat memorized information.

5) The franchisee is responsible for organizing the travel and accommodation of the training group.

6) Additional training, including its cost and dates, is discussed separately.

7) The certification should be strict and fair. It is perfectly normal that someone will not pass it. It is better this way than to allow someone who is completely unsuitable to work under your brand.

8) Trainees usually sign an agreement with their employer, in which they undertake to work for the company for a minimum period of time or to compensate for the money spent on training.

9) It is better to assign a curator to the training group who will help the group in everything and will also be interested in their successful passing of the certification.

These are the main points that allow you to conduct staff training within your franchise program. They are quite obvious and simple, but each time the franchisor misses one of these points, which complicates the very important process of training. It is the training that determines what impression the employees will take with them from the parent company.
Approvals and feedback
In the first paragraph, we mentioned that standards and rules are sacred and should not be violated. But there are situations when the rule requires modification for a specific region, market or location. In this case, the partner can initiate approval of changes in the rules specifically for him. At first glance, this may seem like an insignificant point, but from experience, if you have a network of even 20-30 points, approvals will take a very long time.
These are the main areas that a built support system in successful franchises should contain. Perhaps in some businesses this list will be supplemented and expanded, but we still listed the main points.