Running a franchise is easy if all franchise owners manage under a common brand, a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and everything else the contract commits them to follow. So how can individual franchise owners become a team and bring their individual businesses ahead by one name and one USP?
All owners and managers are driven by different personalities, needs, numbers, time off, egos, etc. Like any relationship, business owners should start by respecting the other franchise owners in their area and be sure to remind themselves that looks can be deceiving — especially when it appears another franchisee is trying to hurt your business, working outside of their designated area or not performing as the brand promises.
I joined Benjamin Franklin, The Punctual Plumber franchise more than five years ago now, and I’ve learned if I work together with the other franchise owners in my market, we achieve greater success than working as individuals.
For all you franchise owners, I’ve found seven areas to be especially helpful:
Take the necessary time to communicate with one another. As a franchise owner, you share the same business name, brand and take on the reputation of other owners. It would serve others owners well to play nice in the sandbox. Remember the competition should not be within the brand. Make getting to know the other franchise owners a priority. Build a positive working relationship, like any relationship; it’s important to keep a healthy balance of work and play.
Know each other’s individual goals and then establish common goals; work together to achieve them. Knowing the other franchise owners will allow you to learn from their successes as well as their failures. It will also allow you to understand their strengths and respect weaknesses.
List the needs of each owner or office. Have a written game plan, with a list of dos and don’ts. For example, knowing up front that everyone agrees if they hear another office is not following the aforementioned rules, they have permission to bring it up and discuss the best actions for correcting the matter. Institute consequences if something doesn’t happen the way it’s supposed to. Let’s say one of the offices doesn’t make it to your monthly meeting; at the next monthly meeting, they have to buy lunch for the group, give the marketing tip, etc. — something that hurts a little while continuing to build on the existing relationship.
Establish a give and take attitude, don’t assume you know what another owner has going on based solely on what seems to be happening. Be sure you know all of the facts before you make any judgments or complaints. Go straight to the source and ask specific questions with respect.
When working as one name, decide how the business can save money through purchasing power, by sharing consultants, overhead expenses, employee time, employee training, etc.
Open your office, your business and your experience to the other owners for training, employee issues, marketing material review, new equipment, etc. This will allow both offices to become better. It can be challenging to see the forest through the trees when you’re in the business trenches. Opening your doors and asking the owners for their opinion on business decisions will provide a fresh perspective.
Review Other Franchises
Each year, review three other offices outside of your market that are performing well. The same rules that apply to sports, apply to business here. Practicing with someone bigger or better than you will offer growth opportunities to you and your staff.
I know that by working with fellow franchisees throughout the nation I have seen great things come about both personally and professionally. My company has grown at a much faster rate, as I have been able to learn quickly from other’s experience. Additionally, I have grown personally by increasing my business knowledge and leadership skills.