Supporting struggling franchisees when times get tough shows your entire network what your values are
A good franchisor will offer ongoing support and training to their franchisees and ensure they have all the resources they need to run their business successfully. But there are moments when, regardless of how much effort, time and money you’ve invested into your network, you find that some of your franchisees aren’t delivering as expected. Underperformance can damage your brand value and drain resources, so it’s important to identify its causes as early as possible and steer your franchisees back on course.
Understanding the why before reacting must be the initial step. Unfortunately, franchisors tend to spend more time putting out one fire after another without stopping to think about what the root cause might be that’s causing so many issues. It can help to go back to the franchisee’s recruitment file and review any notes you made on their weaknesses during the application process. Could any of those weaknesses be the reason for their poor performance now? Sometimes your training programme may not have resonated with the franchisee, no matter how thorough it was. Discuss this with your franchisee and find out what training could help them improve, whether it’s a hands-on digital course or advice on improving their presentation abilities.
You should also review the history of your franchisee’s performance and any communications you’ve had with them to date. As you look at your reports, action plans, letters, emails and phone logs, you might start to get a clearer picture of what’s going on. How did you deal with each issue? Did you do enough or were other alternative approaches available? Find out what worked, what was less successful and try new ways to provide feedback to your struggling franchisee.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that in some cases the franchisee’s poor performance may have more to do with a personal issue than your training programme. Having a hard time at home or dealing with an illness may affect their enthusiasm or focus. Those franchisees need support and an injection of motivation. This is where having a forum in which franchisees can support each other is so valuable. For example, we have an Extra Help Facebook group, which two of our franchisees are running, where franchisees share best practice tips and advice. Make the franchisee feel included, let them know you’re there for them and give them time to get back on track.
Focusing on improving your existing training and communications processes while understanding the reasons behind a franchisee’s poor performance will not just help them but will also demonstrate your values to the entire network. By being supportive, you’ll show all your franchisees that you’re dedicated to their success and wellbeing, as well as that of the business as a whole.