You’re on your way to building an empire, but don’t think your franchisees are just (only) there to help you do it, while you set the tone for growth and make unbreakable rules. The best way to improve the overall experience for yourself, your franchisees and their customers is through collaborative franchising.
“The system is based on mutual respect and an understanding that everyone who has been vetted and granted a franchise has something unique and valuable to contribute to the organisation,” says Lindsay Lowry, former Director of Franchise Development at
Little Nest Portraits in the US. “As strong candidates enter the franchise system, the system gets stronger, and everyone benefits.”
Interested in trying collaborative franchising out? Here are a few pointers to get you started.
Out with the old
While it may be tempting to stick to the traditional way of running your franchise chain, consider this:
1Work towards a common goal
According to American Association of Franchisees & Dealers (AAFD), these are some of the ways you can start franchising collaboratively:
- Allow your franchisees to progressively build the right to equity in the business and they will have something to work towards that will benefit them in the long term.
- Having an open door policy with everyone in your network means franchisees know they can come to you with questions and suggestions and be taken seriously.
- Supporting your entire franchise chain in terms of ongoing training and marketing means an increase in sales through quality service and improved visibility.
2Watch your empire grow
Of course there’s something in it for you – all of you:
Hands on from the get-go
Having only a few locations opening annually means you have the time, energy and resources to help your franchisees set up shop. This includes helping them secure a lease, hiring and training staff and planning the marketing around the store’s launch date.
“This level of support greatly differs from the rapid growth model of most major franchise networks where the training is limited and one-on-one access with corporate is hard to get,” says Lowry.
Related: Debunking Franchise Ownership Myths
Team work makes the dream work
A progressive growth model means you’re not rushing to set up territories in as many places as you can. Rather, you’re nurturing what you have and giving your franchisees – or partners as this models refers to them – the opportunity to make suggestions that could improve on your growth strategy.
According to Lowry, “The strengths of individual members, combined with exceptional systems, processes, and industry experience allow many collaborative franchises to uphold exceptional standards for excellence in service, quality, and experience.”
Beyond just growth
Collaboratively running your franchise mean your franchisees will view success differently. “A traditional franchise will often merely direct you to open another franchise location in a new territory. While this is also an option in a collaborative franchise, your experience as a working member of a smaller franchise team is extremely valuable in other ways as well,” says Lowry.
Experienced franchisees can now use their expertise to mentor less experienced or first-time franchisees who have just joined the network as opposed to opening another store. Instead of limiting their growth and yours, this produces a higher calibre of franchisee every time you open a store at a new location.
Related: How Risky Is That Franchise?
Collaboratively running your franchise has many benefits – for both you and your franchisee network.
Enforcing rigid rules and an unnecessarily high barrier for entry may make you more comfortable in terms of being in control, but it may not yield the growth you’re aiming for. Neither for your business, nor for yourself.