I was recently asked to participate in the IFA’s Marketing, Operations & Development (MOD) Virtual Conference as a panel discussion moderator. The topic was Making Peer Groups More Effective to Support Franchisees, While Adding Long-Term Value.
Like Franchise Advisory Councils (FAC’s), I consider these Franchisee Peer Groups to be a secret weapon in franchising. When managed well, they can provide great value to both franchisees and franchisors. But, like a tree, they take time to grow and provide real value.
With that in mind, it occurred to me these FAC’s and Peer Groups are like planting a tree: the best time to plant a tree is 10 years ago - the second best time is today. You’ll probably wish you had one someday, so do it now rather than later.
Peer Groups Vs. Advisory Councils
While both of these approaches provide great value to franchise organizations, they do so in different ways:
- Peer Groups are a point of leverage for franchisees to help each other. These groups are made up of 3-5 franchisees who meet or talk regularly to problem solve and discuss best practices. They are facilitated groups where franchisees help each other with their challenges and sharing ideas.
- Franchise Advisory Councils (FACs) are a group of franchisees within the same brand that help the franchisor by giving feedback and commentary on new initiatives, problems and other internal ideas. They also often serve as a preview pilot group for new programs before they get rolled out to the entire brand and other franchisees.
Both are things that you as a Franchisor, will wish you had in place before you needed it - they’re a BEST PRACTICE in franchising.
If you are a franchise brand and don’t have a FAC or Peer Group program set up yet, you should plan for these - start now, I’d suggest one at a time. And if you’re a franchisee in a brand that doesn’t have a FAC or Peer Group, you should be asking the questions, “why not?” and “when?”
If you want to set up either a Peer Group program or a new Franchise Advisory Council, this is something I can help with. Both provide strategic, valuable advantages in franchising, but need to be set up carefully and correctly to ensure they provide the greatest value. If you’d like to talk about putting a plan in place to create one of these groups, please reach out! I’ve got some shareable resources for you and I’m always happy to talk.