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International Democracy Day: Have you truly considered the policies within your franchise?

Written by James Thomas on Friday, 14 September 2018. Posted in Analysis, Finance

As great as your franchise may be performing today, there’s no saying how it will be tomorrow or the day after. And that’s where the franchise democracy comes into action

International Democracy Day: Have you truly considered the policies within your franchise?

Some of the more discerning among you may already be aware Saturday September 15 is International Democracy Day. While you may not be planning to celebrate into the wee hours of the morning, this seems as good a time as any to consider the policies and environment within your franchise to ensure they’re contributing to its success.

So why am I bringing this up now, you ask? Well, a franchise network, is in essence, a democracy. Whether franchisors will admit it or not, is another matter.

The entire concept of a franchise is based on a core framework of a successful business model, which has proven its success over years and in some instances, decades. As such, at first glance a franchise could be seen as a dictatorship. After all, the franchisor makes the big decisions and isn’t far removed from running the business – they may even still be running their own territory, so why would it be anything but?

However, as time and the world progresses so must the franchise and this is where many fail. Pressure on the franchisor to develop and maintain the business can be a destructive and somewhat fruitless endeavour in some franchises.

Change for change’s sake can be a costly exercise – however, if considered carefully, evolution can be incredibly valuable to a franchise. It can mean the world of difference against competitors for a franchise to invest time and effort into ensuring processes and software continually improve and the franchise’s offering is reviewed and renewed regularly.

Both franchisors and franchisees must be open to change, spotting and taking opportunities in order for the franchise to move forwards, rather than just doing what you have always done. The key to a profitable, successful franchise is staying relevant and adaptive to the world around you.

So, let’s jump forward a few years – the franchise is booming, the network has several successful franchisees and many more are in the pipeline. The business concept is still relevant and turnover is exceeding what the forecasts have predicted – that means you and the network are safe, right? Not necessarily.

Peaks and troughs are an unavoidable part of business life – markets change and a business should be sure to avoid becoming too comfortable and stationary. So where do we turn for inspiration? Our franchise democracy of course. Having a positive, cooperative attitude across the network helps create the right environment for franchisees – to flourish. It’s no secret that some of the greatest developments of well-established franchises, ahem, Big Mac, ahem, have come from those within the network, delving deeper into the current offering and coming up with a new improved way to run the business.

Now this idea may well concern a franchisor – the fact franchisees are moving away from the original brand and business model. However, done with permission carefully, it can be a powerful way of growing and developing a franchise. A positive, progressive environment is vital for a franchise’s success, longevity and profitability. After all, what if a franchisee’s new idea works? What if, like the Big Mac, it became an icon of the franchise and propel it to new heights? Well, who would say no to that?

So how do we get to this point? The answer obviously isn’t just for all franchisees to run off and do whatever they want – that would invite chaos. But if the right environment and culture is created within a franchise, franchisees are then enabled to put their insight and ideas forward. Working together with the franchisor, these ideas can not only be taken on board but tried out too.

And hey, if the trial is a great success, then you can bet your hard-earned pounds it’ll work for another territory. The new idea may even become the backbone of the business’s longevity and help keep the franchise relevant and ahead of the game.

The best part about this whole process is not only will the brand develop but it also means the emphasis lies with the network as a whole, not just solely at the franchisor’s feet. If all goes well, then it not only credits you and encourages great ideas from other franchisees, it also helps the entire network. Big pat on everyone’s back.

Of course for every great idea, there will always be a couple of stinkers but as long as it’s rolled out in a controlled, manageable way, then there’s no reason why this would hurt your business. And who knows, maybe your Big Mac is lurking out there within your network. 

About the Author

James Thomas

James Thomas

Having worked within the franchise industry as an operations coordinator in the past, Thomas has developed experience of facilitating the relationship between franchisor and franchise network, which led him to become franchise relationship manager at d&t chartered accountants.

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