To have a successful franchise brand, you will need successful franchisees. It may sound easy to recruit and retain these high performers, but it's often not as simple as you may think.
When choosing the right franchisees for your business' growth, one of the most apparent factors is whether these people align with your values and beliefs as an organization and individual. Franchisees who understand the hard work and sacrifice and appropriate levels of implementation and execution focus are what make good franchisees. It’s more than financial qualifications and open territories.
Recruiting franchisees can take many forms, such as:
Personal referrals from people you know or are familiar with your brand.
Existing customers and people who see the value of your business.
Recruiting franchisees can also come through other methods. Generating your own organic leads for this purpose can be very challenging these days; the noise factor is quite loud for franchise opportunity promotions specific to one brand. This is why working through franchise Brokers, Consultants or franchise sales organizations (FSO) can be ideal for connecting suitable franchisees and franchisors and establishing successful franchise relationships, if your brand is in the right and appropriate growth stage for brokers and consultants. Typically after you have a solid base of performing units open and growing, then you might consider brokers and consultants to accelerate your new unit growth.
The key is to be exceptionally selective when you are recruiting franchisees. Especially in a new franchise system, the early franchisees set the pace and establish the future of your organization. I like to say: 'The first five franchisees set the pace for the next 50, who set the pace for the next 500'. Therefore, getting it right from the beginning has a significant impact on the brand's long-term success.
Retaining successful franchisees is an altogether separate conversation. They're more likely to stay if they are happy with their franchise establishment and experiencing success, beyond the economics. If they are struggling and failing in their management and operations, they won't want to stay, and you probably don't want them either. Keeping the best franchisees is relative to building relationships, trust, and mutual benefit. I've written extensively on brand franchisee relationships and how to develop and keep them healthy.
There is a natural healthy tension in a franchise, and when it's harnessed properly, it creates better opportunities for everyone in the brand. Keeping the best talent and letting others out when appropriate can be challenging. Sometimes, people need to be asked out; other times, they may need to be pushed out. Ultimately, a franchise brand can cause more damage by trying to keep unhappy and disgruntled franchisees, and it is not worth it in the long run. In my years of franchise experience, I have seen firsthand that it's best to let somebody out when it first occurs to you that they're not going to make it.
Attracting and retaining high-performing franchisees requires serious focus, resources, ongoing professional commitment, experience, and skills. It's not the same as operating your franchise business and being a successful franchisor is very different from operating a unit-level business. Franchising is a separate business altogether. If you're looking for help with your franchising business, please reach out, as I'm happy to be a resource and share insight and my experience with you.
John Francis of Johnny Franchise is an enthusiastic, engaging, and entertaining public speaker, advisor and franchise coach; he speaks from experience and the heart. He is the creator of the successful Franchise Lifecycle Program that will take your franchise to the next level. Franchising is in his blood, and his parents were true pioneers in the industry, turning their family haircutting business into a 1,000-salon franchise empire. He has been a franchisee and a franchisor and has a deep understanding of the issues both face. Connect with John, and you and your franchisees will learn how to look at your business in new, positive, and profitable ways.