Franchisees don’t know everything… you can tell them!

Ongoing development is a thorny issue in franchising,

On the surface it would be logical for every franchisee to demand as much development as they can possibly get from their franchisor, to help them constantly hone their skills, to learn about new product developments and to learn how to be better business people.

On the other hand, it would be logical for every franchisor to deliver some initial training and then let their franchisees get on with it, particularly if they’re doing okay. After all, this extra development simply represents additional cost.

So, I’m constantly surprised when it turns out, in the real world, to be almost exactly the opposite.

I have been working for a franchisor who invests heavily in development, insisting that franchisees return after three months and then again six months in to refocus them on marketing and sales. The reason that franchisees are invited back is that they’ve usually got a few customers by this time and they are beginning to get sucked into the age old problem of actually having to do the work rather than being a proper business manager.

The problem is that many of the franchisees don’t want to come back.

It seems crazy to me but why is it?

There could be a number of reasons. If you ask the franchisees, it’s because they are too busy running their businesses.

That’s a load of… well, let’s just say I don’t agree with the sentiment. I asked a bunch of franchisees whether they were working flat out, completely snowed under and without a minute to spare. Of course, every single one of them wanted to be busier.

It could be, according to some other franchisees that they don’t need the development, that they know everything that they need.

That’s a pile of… I mean, another disagreement from me on that one. It’s an impossibility, after three months, to know everything that they need to know about running the business. Often it’s the franchisees doing least well that make that claim! Go figure!

Why is it, then, that franchisees resist this additional development?

I think it’s because they don’t want to found out. They know that any additional development will begin with an analysis of their current position. This means that they will have to tell you, the franchisor, what they’ve been up to… the thing is, it won’t be what you talked about on the initial training course.

They will not have tried everything, they will have deviated from your system and they will want to blame you for things not working correctly.

That’s why it’s vitally important you get your franchisees back at regular intervals – to keep them on the system.

If you are a franchisee – remember, your franchisor has been at this longer than you have…

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