Is your franchise up to scratch? Here’s a checklist of ten must-have improvements we’ve worked on for franchisors over recent years. The list is by no means exhaustive – there’s lots more we could add, but we decided to limit our choice to features that are becoming de rigueur for world-class franchises, and to stop at ten. How do you rate?
1. Throw away those dusty old manuals and get an intranet
Manuals are, like, so last decade, man! Physical ones, anyway. And providing all your franchise documentation on a DVD doesn’t count, because you have to send out a new disk every time you update or add something. The advantages of having all your documentation online include being able to update everything automatically, and are outlined in our article Why your training systems aren’t working (and what to do about it).
2. Hey, hey, you get on to the cloud
While you’re at it (developing your intranet), put everything in the cloud – your software functionality, communications, your documentation – everything (See How the power of the cloud is transforming franchising.) If you’re one of the die-hards that make up the 50% of franchisors who haven’t taken the plunge yet, we understand your concerns but honestly, the benefits of cloud outweigh the perceived downsides and risks.
3. Benchmark franchisee results
We’ve discussed the benefits of best practices and benchmarking against other businesses, but a good starting point in benchmarking is to do it internally. Not just financial results, either, but other even more important metrics such as customer satisfaction.
4. Encourage your franchisees to be more innovative
Historically, some of the greatest innovations in franchising have come from franchisees, not franchisors. Read our article Innovation: Why franchises aren't good at it, but need it to stay relevant and drive performance and growth and then get innovating.
5. Develop more content to get noticed more
Getting leads for franchisees is important for almost all franchisors, but just how good are you at it, especially the online stuff? In case you didn’t pick it up, the title of our article Is content still king in SEO? was entirely rhetorical. More original, authentic content will not only get you noticed by the search engines, but read and followed up on by potential customers. Of course, there are lots of other ways to improve your search rankings and increase your leads, but this is Numero Uno.
6. Develop individual franchisee landing pages
Why, when you already have a perfectly good website promoting all your franchisees? Think local. People like to shop locally. They like to buy from local people. And they tend to type in their locality when they’re searching online. So your national website may not come up on page one of the search rankings, but your local site probably will. Especially if you’re into Google Places which will even pinpoint your franchisee’s location on a map.
7. Use as many ‘freebies’ as you can online
We just mentioned Google Places, a location service which Google provides for nix. Organic search, social media pages and lots of other online services won’t cost you anything, either. Except time. Lots and lots of time and effort if you want to really get noticed.
8. Recruit smarter
For every ten franchises reporting declining leads from prospective franchisees, there’s a franchise experiencing record growth. How does that happen? You can bet the one-in-ten has adopted the new way to grow – enhanced online franchise recruitment content (there’s that word again).
Articles to read:
How to build a more compelling, effective franchise recruitment site
5 ways your franchise recruitment can fail
How Chem-Dry used a breakthrough franchise recruitment strategy to boost their leads by 600% and their close rate by 300%
9. Provide online as well as offline support and training
The No. 1 cause of franchisee discontent and disputes is perceived lack of franchisor support. (See our article Why your training systems aren’t working (and what to do about it).) But franchisors can’t be everywhere, especially in large or fast-growing franchises. The beauty of modern technology is that franchisors can provide superb support and training without having to physically be in front of franchisees, especially by using online resources such as videos and remote communication such as Skype and Team Viewer.
10. Get expert help
We pride ourselves on being a do-it-yourself nation here in New Zealand. But while it was being self-reliant was essential when the nation was in its infancy, the DIY mentality is now effectively holding us back from becoming world-class. Fortunately for them, most of our clients have gotten over that old-fashioned thinking and are better off for it, including one whose franchise business rocketed from $15 million in annual sales to over $100 million today.
Read our article How not to get ripped off by your franchise consultant