I once again attended the Faegre Baker Daniels Franchise Summit last month in Minneapolis. There was a lot of great information and sharing that came out of the conference this year – especially in terms of unit-level economics, culture and organizational development. All of these are critical to a franchise organization’s success, because if your franchisees are making money, then everyone is happy. Otherwise, it’s very hard to grow and problems are everywhere…
Here are a few of the larger takeaways that came out of the speakers and panel discussion:
- As a franchisor, you need to really understand your customer (the franchisee) and your customer’s customers (the consumers). Just as you would in marketing, if you take the time to get to know both of these profiles well, you’ll be better positioned to support them and their needs – both in the beginning and as things change and evolve as a brand and category grows.
- Give owners the tools they need to be successful right from the beginning. If they start well, they usually stay well, so spend time and focus on customer focus groups and provide benchmarks and scoreboards. As far as your franchisees are concerned, the more clarity they have, the better.
- Establish franchisee peer groups. We’ve discussed the importance of these in the past and how valuable they can be for franchisees. You can read more about it here.
- Adopt a culture of transparency and trust. If your franchisees don’t trust you, it’s going to be difficult – no matter what.
- Remember that when an organization grows, the people also grow. This means that you should start thinking about hiring specialists as your system evolves and starts to get more sophisticated. Dedicated staff as trainers and marketing professionals, for example, will be better positioned to help your business grow and strengthen than less experienced generalists who may have been there in the beginning.
- Focus on your core and the things you do well. As a brand grows, it’s easy for them to get distracted, and that can be a big problem. To help you stay focused, look for and know your core and don’t stray too far away from that.
Some of these points may seem obvious, but they’re an important reminder given how critical the impact of unit-level economics is to a successful franchise. All these things play a part in a franchise brand’s success path.
As always, the Faegre Franchise Summit was a great event and well attended by many franchise people from a lot of different brands. I’m thankful not only for the talented professionals who took the time to share their experiences with us, but also the sponsors who made it possible for others and me to attend. Glad to share and learn together – that’s a real strength of the franchise business.