Should we look beyond the idea of strength in numbers?

It’s impossible to ignore the seismic change in how franchise brands have taken to operating over the last few years. Thanks to the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, recessions and more, it may be easy to look on it as all doom and gloom – but what if out of these, the franchise industry could be considered stronger?

Should we look beyond the idea of strength in numbers

In a period that is seeing more entrepreneurs than ever consider franchising as the only logical route to remaining recession and pandemic proof in the exciting journey of business ownership, it stands to reason that the phrase “there’s strength in numbers” may be an outlook of yesteryear. Here, the Global President of Tutor Doctor, Frank Milner, analyses what distinguishes brands that use inclusivity as a force for innovation.

Is it really as simple as franchisors increasing the volume of franchisees for the sake of increasing volume? Look back at all the incredible innovators and entrepreneurs of the last century. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey – do you really think they made it because they surrounded themselves with ‘yes men’ and agreeable clones? No, of course not. They forged success because they surrounded themselves with people they knew could offer something different. And they knew those vital ideas that transformed them from thinkers into achievers would come from embracing diversity and inclusivity. So, I invite you to rethink an age-old belief, and consider whether strength comes from quantity or quality. Let’s talk about strength in inclusivity. 

Inclusivity, put simply, invites collaboration and ideation. No longer does franchising become about riding on the coattails of a successful brand. Instead, it celebrates exactly what the concept of the franchise industry is all about – a space for passionate people from all walks of life to have an equal shot at forging a real legacy (and of course huge financial success) right on the doorstep of their communities. We all know that franchising is theideal pathway to entrepreneurship for many, especially those who don’t see themselves going it alone with an independent start-up. So, imagine how rewarding it could be for prospective franchisees to not only be introduced to the opportunity of their dreams, but one that’s also driven by ensuring they have an equal right to become an instrumental cog in the wider machine.

An inclusive franchise brand creates an environment where everyone feels valued, respected and empowered to collectively succeed. And for franchisees who feel empowered, it naturally means they will be more likely to be motivated and committed to engaging in brand development initiatives. It really doesn’t take Holmes and Watson to suss it out: create an inclusive and empowering playing field and everyone – franchisor, franchisees, staff and customers – wins! A strong franchise network made up of franchise owners regardless of age, gender, race or culture naturally opens the door to further brand innovation. I can guarantee there will be franchisees and prospects who see life through a different and potentially more creative lens than franchisors. So, if a franchisor isn’t taking all the necessary steps to prevent you from slipping through their fingers based on a technicality such as age (and especially the other factors!), it most certainly isn’t worth your time.

For example, Tutor Doctor has grown exponentially over the last few years thanks to our strict guidelines for who we target – and before you ask, no, it isn’t just ex-educators or education specialists! In fact, it is the cohort of franchisees who specifically haven’t come from education who have driven some of the most incredible initiatives the brand has ever seen. From ex-hospitality franchisees providing free English Speaking Language lessons to Ukrainian refugee children to financial and business advisors teaming up with their local councils to support the less fortunate, we are consistently reminded that inclusivity in opportunity breeds innovation, creativity and more inclusivity. 

Like all business operations, there is never a simple answer to what the golden ratio is when it comes to recruiting franchisees for the sole purpose of promoting inclusivity. But during the research phase of your franchise journey, prospects should absolutely consider what brands are doing to ensure inclusivity is directly contributing to success and growth. Is there a pattern to the type of franchisee that joins a brand? Does a diverse cohort of franchisees have the ability to contribute to brand and business development? And most importantly, does being included promote your freedom to operate creatively? 

Frank Milner
Frank Milner