As more and more studies are conducted, we are further convinced that communication is our society’s most important skill. Effectively speaking, teaching, explaining, disputing or contradicting are among the several key assets that communication holds. These are assets in both personal lives and business professional lives. When it comes to growing a franchise, things are no different, having a tried and true proven strategy is great – but it’s not enough. Make sure you communicate that strategy correctly to make sure all franchisees are understanding your goals for the company.
There are several occasions where upwards and downwards communication within a franchise are beneficial to the overall success of your brand. But, there are three that we’d like to focus on in this conversation, and those are, during onboarding, when introducing new initiatives and when franchisees request support.
Onboarding a New Franchisee
During this time of your business, it is yours to create and yours to grow. I’m referring to the relationship with your new location owner here. It offers you an important opportunity to nurture your new franchisees and their introduction into the world of your brand. These franchisees are trusting your concept as a means of being able to provide a decent living for themselves and their families. Making this introduction positive is crucial because it will instantly encourage the overall relationship and encourages them to get off to the right start. On the other hand, if the introduction is not positive, you risk long term success for both parties – but thankfully a poor start to a relationship is actively avoidable through honest, good and timely communication.
Appropriate communication with new franchisees during the initial onboarding process is particularly important due to the level of financial investments made. For instance, if building costs are excessive, poor contractor choices are identified or unnecessary spending is being made by your franchisee – catching that soon can help. If you don’t pick that up early in the build-out process, construction costs can get out of control and far surpass what the franchisee was expecting. This also could lead to a delay in getting your new location to market, which will create a loss in revenue and cause some very uncomfortable conversations with your new franchisee.
Introducing a New Initiative
As a franchisor, it is imperative that you are constantly asking for feedback and suggestions from your locations and making sure that you are receiving them. When proposing a new initiative or even a new franchise management software, you will find it very beneficial to communicate with your long-term location owners or multi-unit owners to gain their genuine insight and support. They may have an idea for you to include in the roll-out process or a completely new idea that you may have not have thought of but they see a need for it in the market through interacting with the consumers more regularly than you. In addition to this, you can ask your family of franchisees to provide input on new solutions. This can enhance your engagement with each other and make them feel valued in your organization, as we already know they are tremendously valuable.
Another key area for communication is managing franchisee support requests. They should be easy to create, and your franchisees should have visibility into how their issues are being resolved in real time. Having a system that allows your team to quickly triage your franchisee’ requests, pull in necessary team members, and resolve issues in a timely manner is critical to your franchisee relationships.
As the franchisor, you are the leader of your whole organization. With that leadership also comes the role of leading the effective methods of communication. If you do not capitalize on the opportunities to connect and communicate with your franchisees and take the liberty to create good systems or technologies to provide communication channels, it’s not very likely that it will be done by them either. Set the standard – and succeed with effective communication company-wide.