Transforming franchisees into entrepreneurs


Opening up a new franchise isn’t a decision that many take lightly, but just because someone has bought into a business, it doesn’t mean they have the knowledge needed to succeed. As franchisors, our success lies largely in the hands of franchisees, so it’s important to consider how we can help our new leaders reach their full potential.  

For those who are not so business-savvy, buying into a franchise can appear to be a safer option. While yes, the systems and structures can ‘shield’ them for some time, ultimately a franchise can fail just as easily as any other business. However, provided they possess a willingness to listen and learn, I believe that the franchisor can help the franchisee to flourish into an entrepreneurial business mind of tomorrow.

When I first commenced working at Stockdale & Leggo, I soon became aware of some old school attitudes that I believed to be detrimental to our overall mission. Changing the culture of a network as large as Stockdale & Leggo is no easy feat, but as COO I recognised the importance of putting in place measures to support our business leaders to start thinking and acting more like entrepreneurs – and doing so has grown our business by more than 20% in the last year alone.

Here are my top tips for transforming franchisees into the entrepreneurial business minds you know they can be.

Encourage innovation

I believe that innovation is what keeps a company competitive, but when operating within a franchise business, it’s easy for leaders lose their innovative spirit. It could be that they think their ideas aren’t wanted, or perhaps they lack the confidence to share them at all. By encouraging innovation and continually seeking their thoughts and feedback, you demonstrate to your franchisees that their input is valued. In turn, this breeds a business leader who is always looking for ways to improve rather than becoming set in their regular routine.

Invest in their development

As a franchisor, investing in the strategic training and development of staff is one of the smartest moves you could make. Consider devising a comprehensive training and development plan for franchisees throughout the business and consult with them directly to determine exactly their weaknesses are and work out which areas they would like to improve on. In my experience, any investment like this will always be returned tenfold and your franchisees will soon have more confidence in their own abilities than ever.

Open the lines of communication

Starting a business of your own can be lonely, which is part of the reason why a franchise model appeals to so many. However, if your franchisees feel they can’t contact you when they need support, they’re going to start to feel isolated and lost – especially the newcomers. Open the lines of communication and make sure you’re always available to handle any enquiries. Doing so not only increases your personal rapport with them, but it also helps to foster a culture of support that is imperative for budding entrepreneurial business minds.

Provide genuine feedback

At Stockdale & Leggo, our annual awards night is one of the most important events of the year, and I always look forward to the opportunity to recognise and congratulate the staff who have gone above any beyond and achieved outstanding results. Unfortunately, giving genuine feedback to franchisors isn’t always so much fun. While I believe it’s highly important to host these celebratory events, it’s equally important to call out unsatisfactory performance and address any concerns as they arise. In my view, offering constructive criticism is simple another aspect of a franchisors responsibility. In fact, some might say it’s actually something that the franchisee relies on.

With enough determination and the right guidance, I believe that anyone can become a strong business-minded entrepreneur. When all is said and done, you just never know which new franchisee could go on to be your biggest success!

 


About the author

Anna Thomas is the Chief Operating Officer of major Australian real estate network, Stockdale & Leggo. She was recognised as a Telstra Business Women’s Awards Finalist in the Corporate and Private Award in 2016, a 2017 Finalist in the Real Estate Business Awards ‘Industry Thought Leader of the Year’ Award and a Bronze Stevie winner in the Woman of the Year category in the 2017 International Business Awards. She is also the Founder and Brand Ambassador of the ‘Empowered Women in Real Estate’ initiative, a community empowering women to believe in themselves and step forward into leadership roles.