Published July 3, 2014

Don’t be a Dummy

No matter how “good” your system is, there’s a little bit of dummy in every organization. If any of these sound like someone you know, now is the time to address it – they could be holding you back from being truly GREAT.

1) The “Close Before Woes” Salesman – The exec who knows issues exist in the system, knows they should be fixed, but just never seems to make it a priority, focusing instead (and exclusively) on development. Whether franchise executives get it or not, it’s happy franchisees who sell more franchises, and ultimately, closing deals without fixing issues will backfire. Many a system has been broken this way, which is why the leaders who really get it focus FIRST on validation and ensuring that new franchisees come into the system with their eyes wide open.

2) The Chicken – Franchise executives who don’t want to hear honest feedback from their franchisees are scared about what they’ll say. It’s not always that they don’t want to know what the problems are, but rather once that line of communication is opened, they fear it will be hard to close. What’s worse than franchisees who over-share? Poor validation, high turnover, lack of interest in expanding, permanent loss of trust, and general disengagement from the brand.

3) The Healthy Self-Diagnoser – Nobody knows how your franchisees feel better than you do, right? Wrong. Some franchise execs (especially at smaller systems) think they know their owners so well that, if a franchisee has a problem, they’ll surely be made aware of it. Not true in most cases. Some franchisees will talk, but most won’t, and we often see this more at small systems where franchisees have forged near-friendships with the corporate office. It can be even harder to be honest with people you’re friendly with. That’s why having a finger on your franchisees’ pulse really means letting someone else come in and take the reading.

4) The Anachronism – This leader is truly old-school—authoritative, relies on one-way communication, more closed-book than open. We’ve actually heard him say, “I don’t want to know what my franchisees think, and I certainly don’t want them talking to each other.” While this may have worked 20 years ago, it doesn’t work now. People expect more, and the willingness of franchisees to follow your rules determines how your system will perform. It’s time to be more of a leader and less of a “boss.”

5) The Hat Collector – Growth is a wonderful thing. More units, more revenue, more customers, more brand awareness, more, more, more. In the end, it’s more work that needs to be done to maintain and continue growth. When you had five franchisees, you were able to handle support while simultaneously talking with every new candidate. Once the system is bigger, it’s no longer a one-person job. It might not even be a two-person job. Execs who have difficulty taking off hats find themselves overextended and underachieving – and it’s the brand that suffers. Drop the “no one else can do it the way I want it done” excuse. Hire the right people, train correctly, and you’ll get the results you’re looking for.


About the Author: Ali Forman

As the Marketing Director, Ali’s role is to educate franchise companies about and inspire them to participate in FBR’s research in order to grow and improve their brands. Ali's previous experience includes senior marketing communications roles in the employee benefits, data privacy, and publishing sectors. She lives in Maine with her husband and two sons.
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