POSITIVELY MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES – THEY’RE NOT JUST FOR CUSTOMERS! (Part 2 of 2)

Moving the Positively Memorable Experience Forward

Just like at many of the hotels mentioned in the search results on TripAdvisor.com, there must be clearly defined criteria — a filter of sorts — that every customer, and in this case, every franchisee, must go through at every stage of the relationship and on a daily basis. This is essential to creating positively memorable experiences. Here are five tips that will help move toward this end.

Understanding the true meaning and spirit of interdependent franchise relationships. This must be shared and exemplified at every point of contact with franchisees.

Image result for the right cultureDeveloping the right culture at all levels. Be careful — culture is also defined as bacteria. This takes time and commitment, and is a reflection of how people, whether franchisees, employees, suppliers or others, are treated at all times.

Creating an environment of truth, trust and transparency based upon open, two-way communication — the cornerstone of creating the right culture. Think of a three-legged stool that could hold a great deal of weight when fully intact, yet would immediately fall under its own weight if one leg was compromised.

Establishing your franchise system as family. Treat them as such, but understand that this is not the typical type of family of yesteryear with subservience to the head of the household. Mutual respect is paramount.

Building an environment of bottom-up profitability and growth with all parties to the franchise agreement and other related agreements focused on mutual goals and objectives. All must sing from the same hymnal, and not just for dress rehearsal; be sure to give them the hymn book.

Certainly, validation and multi-unit ownership are strong indicators that positively memorable experiences exist within your franchise system. Another way to confirm the existence of these experiences is simply to ask your franchisees: Would you do it all over again? However, as a franchisor you must first earn the right to even be taken seriously if you ask this question. That starts and must continue by consistently working through the criteria identified above.

As you head down the path of creating positively memorable experiences with each franchisee, be sure to consider all touch points, even those beyond the obvious mediums of in-person, by phone and via email. Think digitally. How do you interact with franchisees on Facebook? How do you come across to your franchisees in LinkedIn discussion groups? Is there common courtesy? Are you proud of each other’s actions within these platforms?

Many will refer to all of this as being great in theory, and not really practical. But just think what could happen if every touch point were seen as another opportunity to create or enhance positively memorable experiences. How would that change the culture of your system? How would that lend credibility toward growing your brand? Think of the ripple effect.

Live it and breathe it every day for optimum results!

This was originally published in Franchising World September 2014

Facts & Perspective on the Future of Franchising

franchise imageTwo out of three isn’t bad. In fact, in baseball that would be a phenomenal batting average never even remotely approached. A winning season percentage? Well, it has been done in several professional sports. However, what I’m referring to are leading stories last week (see below) about franchising. Two of three were positive with growth statistics for franchising shared and the power of the franchise model defined. The other presented as somewhat of a negative perspective on family-owned franchises as being less productive than non family-owned businesses.

In any event, I’d love to see more study done on family-owned franchises and how the notion of underperformance may vary from one industry segment to another. My thought on this focuses on the potential differences between multiple generations of families that own Dunkin’ Donuts franchises as opposed to families that may own a non-food brand that may be more inclined to rely on the performance of one, two or several key staff members. I’d also like to explore the difference between single-unit and multi-unit ownership by families. Any takers to start the discussion?

“Regulations have been trimmed, taxes have been cut, and, as a result, the franchise community has continued its economic momentum. As we move into 2018, we expect lawmakers will remain steadfast in their support for a strong business environment,” said Robert Cresanti, IFA President and CEO in a statement.

The franchise industry is set for another year of major growth!

Franchise establishments are set to grow by 1.9 percent to 759,000 locations after increasing 1.6 percent in 2017, while employment will increase 3.7 percent to 8.1 million workers after growing 3.1 percent in 2017. The gross domestic product of the sector is forecast to increase by 6.1 percent to $451 billion, and will contribute approximately 3 percent of U.S. GDP in nominal dollars, according to the report. Franchise business output will also increase 6.2 percent to $757 billion. The forecast follows a year of slower growth in 2017, mirroring trends seen the year prior in terms of employment and output. Read more.

Family-owned franchises underperform, study finds.

A new study that involved a Ball State University researcher found family-owned franchisees post 6.7 percent lower sales per employee than other franchise owners of restaurants and other chain businesses. “It boils down to the fact that often, family-owned franchises have different objectives as compared to their counterparts,” said Srikant Devaraj, a researcher with Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research. Read more.

Will franchise leaders embrace a new future state of franchising?

A relatively misunderstood business model, with a paucity of academic support, franchising is on the precipice of history.  Defined by the Federal Trade Commission as an ongoing commercial relationship that includes a license to a brand, payment of a modest fee and the existence of significant control or support, the average consumer knows it as Subway, McDonald’s or Anytime Fitness.  In layman terms, a chain of businesses that share a common brand and a consistent customer experience owned by a local consumer.  But the traditional methodology of franchising has been supplanted by an ever-growing array of hybrid formulations that increasingly are revealing the real power of this enigmatic model. Read more.

Do Transitioning Corporate Executives [Really] Make Good Franchisees?

This question was discussed on Linkedin approximately a year and a half ago and there were some interesting responses. However, the further we drift from the onslaught of transitioning executives caused by the 2008-2012 economic downturn, maybe we should now pose a different question… How have franchisors fared since awarding focusing on transitioning executives?

We often look at franchise success as up to the franchisor, i.e. it’s the franchisor’s job to be sure franchisees succeed. But of course, we know that not all franchisees, including transitioning executives, are created equal. Some are better than others! People in transition may, in fact, not make very good decisions – maybe they may panic and jump into a franchise too quickly and they don’t do all the homework that’s necessary or possibly don’t ask all the right questions. Some actually have limited skill set to their former job.

It would be interesting for franchisors to reveal how “transitioning executives” have fared, though that’s probably asking a bit too much. Because again, even if the transitioning executives have failed, it doesn’t mean the franchise system is bad. Maybe the system is just not right for certain individuals?

It really doesn’t matter whether a candidate is a transitioning executive or an immigrant national or even a mom exploring business ownership instead of returning to the workforce. What matters is how well prepared a candidate is for franchising (and business ownership) and whether or not the candidate is a right-fit for a particular franchise, and the franchise for him or her. Because we also know that all candidates are not created equal. Nor are franchisors! It’s all the more reason to identify and develop ideal candidate profiles, and keep in mind, there may be several.

Any thoughts?