How to set your franchisees up for success

Running a successful franchise model should not be complicated. By simplifying operations and focusing on what really matters, you can enable franchisees to manage their businesses effectively and fast-track their journey to profitability

How to set your franchisees up for success

I’ve been on both sides of the equation. I began by teaching in and then managing my first Wall Street English franchise business in Valencia in the nineties. In 2021, I took up the CEO role and today we are teaching more than 120,000 students annually across more than 320 centres globally. I’ve learnt that success comes down to a few straightforward things:

Keeping it simple

A proven plug-and-play model is fundamental to the success of a franchise business, streamlining operations for franchisees. You need to give your franchisees a system that works. It’s as simple as that. The franchisor and franchisee relationship is a two-way street – if you design for success, you will deliver returns for both parties.  

By providing content, platforms and products centrally, franchisees can execute business goals efficiently. For instance, at Wall Street English we provide plug-and-play access to our learning management system, allowing our franchisees to support and service their students. Franchisees also have a customer relationship management system that allows them to manage their acquisition funnel from the top to the bottom. Finally, as a learning company, we have created a training library platform to support them in building their know-how and ensuring staff become effective in their roles.

Consistency is key 

A standardised onboarding model is the first step in maintaining consistency in a franchise model. We have self-access onboarding modules that cover who we are, what we do, and why we do it. We offer systematic training so that everybody has the same onboarding experience, whether in Mongolia or Chile. In addition, we help franchisees build their initial teams and communicate best practices, empowering them to put their best foot forward. 

Franchises often operate across different territories, so maintaining high-quality standards and effectiveness is vital. Providing systems for franchisees helps them but also means the franchisor has control over the quality of the content, product or service, ensuring complete visibility. 

That said, differentiation is gained by enabling local people to do what they do best. For example, when it comes to education, the teams on the ground understand the local challenges and learning difficulties and work to support and inspire learners to progress. 

You should empower your franchisees with the model, rather than letting it dictate their every move. In doing so, you enable them effectively to deliver the same level of quality service, no matter where they are in the world, to your customers.

Provide ongoing support 

The relationship between the franchisor and franchisee is a partnership – when they win we do too. They are essential in ensuring your business thrives. A simple and effective approach to managing franchisee relationships is to ask, “How can we help?”

It should be a collaborative relationship. As franchisors, our role is to support them in managing and making their business successful. Our job is like an investment portfolio manager’s, ensuring franchisees receive good returns so they feel secure and confident in their investment.

The most important aspect of this relationship is transparency and open communication. The beauty of franchising is that there is a proven model, but franchisors should also be willing to adapt, listen and learn from their local partners. Being able to empathise with your franchisees creates a stronger bond, and ultimately ensures they deliver a great service. 

Running a successful franchise model should be straightforward. With the appropriate systems in place and a willingness to collaborate, you can set your franchisees up for success. Like all good relationships, it’s an equal partnership that creates win-win outcomes when done right. 

James McGowan
James McGowan