Collaboration is the cornerstone of success in the franchising world. Franchisees are the boots on the ground, while franchisors provide the vision and framework for growth; the key to achieving harmony lies in open communication and collaboration.
Here, Frank Milner, Global President of Tutor Doctor, discusses the benefits of franchisors staying hands-on and collaborating closely with franchisees to navigate the path to success.
Franchisees are not just business owners; they are vital partners in realising the brand’s vision. They are the link between the brand and its customers, serving as the face of the business in local communities. For a franchise system to thrive, open communication and collaboration between franchisors and franchisees are essential.
Ongoing training and support allow franchisees to acquire and update the knowledge and skills they need to run their businesses effectively and efficiently. Franchisors should provide comprehensive and readily available training and support to franchisees, covering all aspects of the franchise system, such as operations, marketing, sales, customer service, finance, and compliance. Franchisors should tailor the training and support to the specific needs and goals of each franchisee, using a variety of methods and formats, such as online courses, workshops, manuals, videos, podcasts, and quizzes. Regular monitoring and evaluation of the impact and outcomes of training and support, along with seeking feedback from franchisees, are crucial for continuous improvement.
Innovation is vital for franchisees to stay ahead of the competition, adapt to changing customer demands, and create value for the brand and the network. Franchisors should foster a culture of innovation among franchisees, encouraging them to experiment, test, and implement new ideas and solutions. Providing the necessary resources, tools, and guidance for franchisees to innovate is equally important.
Creating a safe and supportive environment where franchisees can share their challenges, failures, and successes is essential. Additionally, franchisors should recognise and reward franchisees who demonstrate innovation and involve them in the decision-making and development of the franchise system.
Having systems in place to adequately support your network provides franchisees the opportunity to pass feedback from the ground upwards. Feedback is vital to ensure cohesion across the network, and to ensure that there are no gaps in communication from the customers all the way to head office. At Tutor Doctor, our Franchise Advisory Council (FAC), made up of seven franchisees from around the globe, serve as a platform for dialogue between our leadership team and franchisees. The FAC bridges the gap, allowing franchisees to voice ideas and challenges. This collaboration has led to informed decisions that benefit both the brand and individual franchisees. In franchise history, some of the most successful business ideas have come directly from franchisees, as they are the boots on the ground, the ones who directly interact with and receive feedback from the customers themselves.
In addition to an FAC, taskforce groups within the franchise system can target specific challenges. Tutor Doctor implement a strategy they refer to as ‘Think like Sherlock’ for this very purpose; it’s a principle they have which aligns with their value of curiosity, and they use it to learn about what a franchisee or groups of franchisees are doing. Utilising this led to them creating taskforce groups, and directly feeds into the investments they make into the training and development aspects of the business.
It is also imperative to recognise the importance of building a supportive community. Regular network events foster camaraderie among franchisees and provide a platform to share knowledge and discuss obstacles. These events promote the sharing of best practices, networking, and access to expert insights. For example, at Tutor Doctor we run regular networking events for our franchisees, the most recent of which was in London in the summer. Events like these have become essential in enhancing franchisee success, as it allows our network to share thoughts, ideas and to learn from, inspire and energise one another.
Collaboration between franchisors and franchisees is essential in franchising and also one of the factors which makes franchising so unique. It’s the perfect sector to foster the idea that two (or more) heads are always better than one. Tutor Doctor’s experience highlights the value of building a collaborative community and providing a safe network to ensure open communication across all channels. Together, a franchise can achieve remarkable success when the franchisor and franchisees work hand in hand, ensuring that no one is left alone on the path to success. As the franchising landscape continues to evolve, fostering collaboration remains the key to unlocking the full potential of franchise systems and driving mutual growth.