Carl Schirtzer is a franchise industry expert who provides business development, knowledge management, top-line revenue and operations consulting services to franchises. Leader of Schirtzer & Company, he has more than 20 years of experience in revitalizing a variety of businesses. In this week’s blog, Schirtzer shares his insights about franchise challenges and technology solutions and discusses what attracts franchisees to his organization.
Q: Describe some of the challenges franchise businesses face as they grow.
A: Generally speaking, there are two challenges that often come to light as a company begins to grow. The first is that the company is growing faster than expected. Although that is always great news for the franchise, the company typically has not planned for this rapid growth and needs help to manage the influx of openings, maintain systems and support the current franchise infrastructure. The other is that the franchise system often misdiagnoses or ignores problems until later in the process. They tend to respond and react on a daily basis, putting out fires as they need to. However, their success is stifled by immediate problem-solving, which limits the potential of the franchise.
Q: When you make recommendations for a technology solution, what do you suggest?
A: For franchise companies, I typically recommend a solution provider that has experience with working with franchises and other multi-unit organizations. Many franchises have challenges as they begin to grow, so I want to ensure they use a solution that can grow with them.
The on-boarding process needs to be easy and quick – franchises don’t have a lot of time and need a solution that doesn’t require a lot of learning. A technology solution needs to have great online resources, customer service and versatility. Two other features also are very important to my franchise clients when choosing a technology solution. First is finding one that provides immediate data or recommendations on action to take the brand to the next level. Second, it should offer a platform that has the customization to match the flow of my client’s operations.
Q: How challenging is it for franchisors to manage communication with franchisees?
A: Communication, especially when it comes to the process of how franchisors roll this out system-wide to their franchise partners (franchisees), is really important in a franchise system. Providing an adequate channel for franchise partners to reach corporate support (and vice versa) from day one establishes the importance of ongoing communication and helps prevent communication challenges. For franchise partners to be successful, ongoing education is also extremely important. With multiple locations, communicating virtually via an online training solution or sending details via a secured solution allows the franchisor and franchise partners to remain connected and share valuable information that will help their businesses grow.
Q: Why would a franchise engage your organization?
A: Our company does one thing really well, and that is to find patterns within a franchise’s infrastructure, whether it needs improvement or has the potential to grow. We believe that a business’s achievements seldom offer accurate insight into its aptitude and potential; true potential is revealed when you understand a company’s inner workings. Regardless of a company’s current status, there is always room for improvement. Our role is to help identify those areas of opportunity and direct the organization to a better path to growth and success.