It’s interesting, nay, fascinating watching a franchise operation grow from scratch and the changes that happen to it as it develops.
A point in case is a franchise I’m working with right now.
It launched a couple of years ago and has done everything right.
The franchisor launched a pilot (which actually worked) before advertising to the market place. They took on one guy to start with who wasn’t a typical franchisee, being too entrepreneurial for that, but was ideal as a first member of the network because he was more than prepared to help them iron out the kinks in the system.
Then they launched properly with a big advertising campaign, which got them to exactly where they wanted to be at the end of their first year.
They paused to take stock at this point, had their first conference and their first franchisee award ceremony, which went fantastically well. The network, after 12 months, was full of self starters who were getting out there to do the business. Of course, the franchisor was providing support, but it was all good (and still is, to be honest).
Now that they’re at the end of the second year and are taking stock again, it’s clear from an outsider’s point of view that there’s been a change in the type of person that’s being attracted.
The franchisor had kind of noticed this, too, but in a non-specific way; they’d noticed the new enquiries were from a different sort of person but they couldn’t quite put their finger on why that should be, just that they needed a little more hand holding.
I could (see what the change was, that is)… and it was quite simple and the symptom of a successfully developing network.
You see, they’ve now been going for 2 years and their most recent recruits are not the ‘early adopters’ of the first couple of years. Rather they are more cautious type person, epitomised by the phrase I heard on the course when I was doing my introductions: ‘I first heard of XXXX when you launched 2 years ago. I’ve been watching you ever since and decided to take the plunge when I saw how successful you were.’
Great… no problem with that at all.
But it does mean a couple of things to the franchisor… they have to recognise that they are going to get a different sort of person through their doors; someone who has been watching, waiting and will need more support, both through recruitment and when they go live… much more support than their early adopters.
It also means that they have to keep attracting early adopters if their network isn’t going to get out of balance. To develop a really good network you need all sorts of people…
However, right now this particular franchisor is doing everything right and the way their network is developing is absolutely spot on.