Avoiding micro-management as the franchisor
Marcus McGee, CEO of Cloudy 2 Clear describes how building a business from scratch is not for the faint-hearted.
However, for those that are driven, imaginative and not afraid of hard work, it is the only way forward. Once you then decide on the franchise path, it’s yet more long hours to transfer the brand, ethos and knowledge to ensure long-term success with your franchisees. There are a number of pitfalls for both sides along the way and it’s important to acknowledge these early on to establish trust as well as a profitable business. Communication and checks are critical for success using traditional face-to-face methods as well as technology.
Being a franchisor is not a license to be a micro-manager. Quite the opposite, this defeats the objective of choosing this particular go to market strategy. You have to be involved to maintain the brand values and customer service ethic to deliver on targets. Equally, as the franchisor, you also need to recognise when a franchisee needs help or lost direction. The big challenge I faced was how to do that. Here are some ways to work with the franchisees to set them up for success and monitoring performance.
- Work hard to train your first franchisees and each and everyone of them that join afterwards. Having a strong training programme, open door policy to the management team and a buddy system pairing the strong franchisees with the new ones are critical to building a strong network
- Annual meet ups and regular regional calls give everyone the opportunity to discuss their own franchises, locations, situations and discuss new ways of working with each other
- Review the numbers monthly, quarterly and annually against targets set and also use a centralised system to allocate new business leads. This way, you can assess conversion rates that demonstrate proactivity, commitment to the brand, excellence and also where a franchisee may need training
Let’s explore that last point for a moment.
The major challenges for a franchisor are profitability, encouraging loyalty (therefore discouraging cash-in-hand jobs where that applies) and knowing when to step in to help educate, train or support a franchisee.
One of the ways that Cloudy 2 Clear has been successful in managing this, is by embracing new technology and ways of working to minimise the barriers to success and make the most of an expanding, popular franchise business. From the outset we started working with a professional call answering service initially to help make the first business look credible and bigger than we actually were. As the franchise grew, we realised other benefits from using alldayPA, such as the ability to use one phone number in all promotions and on the web site. All inbound calls were captured centrally at this point and allocated to the appropriate franchise partner. This has minimised rogue cash-in-hand work and flagged to us when a little more TLC is required with particular franchisees.
We also moved our infrastructure to the cloud for easy access to all systems across the franchise network. This has helped support the standardisation of service internally and externally as well as easy set-up for new franchisees. It just comes down to the network for speed of connectivity - something we cannot control.
Now living the ultimate dream where the franchises are up, running and profitable, you’d be forgiven for thinking my work here is done. That however, is not enough for those of us passionate about starting something new so Cloudy 2 Clear is going on to explore new markets abroad - i’ll be sure to report back on any issues and how they are overcome in this next phase of business. One thing is certain - technology and telephony will definitely play as important a part in this process, and utilising these to their fullest potential can make or break a franchise.
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