What colour are your underpants?

I had to smile to myself the other day when I read an email from one franchisee to another that I was copied in on…

Here’s the story.

We have a new customer in our franchise business. This customer works in the fitness and health market and franchisees set up their own facility for their customers.

We’re going to be training new franchisees in the business building elements of what they need to do… things like marketing, sales, recruitment and managing the business. Before we get to that stage we’re helping the franchisor sort out the last remaining few processes that franchisees need.

And it was one of these processes that was the subject of the email.

Like most franchisors our customer has all their ‘technical’ or product processes very well logged and easy to use; they stipulate the equipment that’s needed, the colour of the walls, the facilities in changing rooms, etc., etc.

But they don’t tell franchisees how to issue an invoice to corporate customers. The email in question went something like this…

‘…does anyone know how to raise an invoice from our bookkeeping package? I’ve asked three people I know and got three different answers. To be honest how I decide to raise an invoice is going to depend on the colour of my underpants today…’

Fantastic!

But from the franchisor’s point of view it’s pretty disastrous. Think about it for a second. A franchise is all about a system and process and this should include all the ‘back-end’ processes, too.

In this example, a customer may go to one franchisee in one area, like the product and then move to another area where there’s another franchisee. The problem is that the customer will now have a different experience, if only because their invoice looks different!

This shouldn’t be how Business Format Franchising works. The franchise operation should be a blueprint for everything…

So, if you are a new franchisor or are thinking about going into franchising, do remember to log every one of your systems from the way you deliver the product to the way you complete the admin. It’s what a franchisee is buying.

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