Build your community of franchisees

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How to coach a player

Companies embarking on franchising have their work cut out for them. Building a strong, centralized brand that becomes your franchise community is of utmost importance, and outlined in detail in The franchise bible by Rick Grossmann and Michael J. Katz Esq. The authors liken a successful brand to that of a “player coach,” a team leader who demonstrates a protective nature towards the players he coaches. Likewise, franchisors should strive to guide their franchisees through a proven system designed to develop successful business owners. There are several moving parts to building a strong franchise community, described in detail below.

Related: 9 Ways to Build a Strong Franchise Community

Invest in the best “players” for your team

The ideal franchise candidates are hard to find. Among the thousands of franchise concepts on the market, each has its own peculiarities that make the business model unique. And, by extension, there are unique, qualified franchise candidates who fit the particular concept well – but you need to identify, pursue and support them through the investigation process. Franchises are built on proven business models that in most cases do not require prior industry experience, but there are still many common denominators that hint at successful candidates, such as networking experience and in management. Developing profiles or ‘personas’ is a solid strategy and it is advisable to enlist the support of franchise brokers and consultants to build these profiles.

Related: Why Millennials Make Great Franchisees – and How to Recruit Them

Refining the investigation process

Building a strong, centralized franchise community requires a step-by-step discovery process for franchise candidates that is easy to understand and execute. The goal is to educate future owners in a consultative approach that avoids the appearance of high-pressure sales tactics. Navigating the inquiry process should be done in stages, as part of a natural progression.

Creation of an advisory committee

As franchise owners progress through their training sessions and the ongoing support provided by franchisors, their reliance on a helping hand tends to lessen a bit. That’s why Grossman and Katz recommend the creation of a franchise advisory board, where select franchisees are allowed to exchange ideas, processes, and efficiencies in a collective setting. It keeps them engaged, feeling special, and chances are the feedback provided will be both productive and beneficial to building a strong overall franchise community. An extension of this guidance includes creating an annual retreat, meeting, or convention for all franchisees in the system.

Recognition and Appreciation

Advisory committees and annual retreats are team-building practices that add both recognition and appreciation from franchisees. Annual rewards or incentive programs for achieving certain goals can be extremely beneficial in building strong franchise communities. These can create friendly competition among franchisees and help them achieve their goals well ahead of schedule.

Related: Building a community is good business

A final word of caution

Grossman and Katz warn franchisors of what they call the “franchise slump” – the point at which unit growth can stagnate after the initial surge in ownership. One to two dozen units is a “no mans land” in which initial interest and early adopters play out and the real recruiting of franchisees begins. The authors state that it is highly advisable to have an elaborate and designed plan for lead generation and sales development in place. It takes a balancing act to recruit new blood into the ownership circle, without upsetting the delicate community balance you’ve already achieved. If you plan well in advance for this scenario, the less likely you are to find yourself in the doldrums.

Rick Grossmann and Michael J. Katz Esq. are the authors of The Franchise Bible: How to Buy a Franchise or Franchise Your Own Business. Buy it now on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

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