A loyal and engaged franchisee network makes for a more enticing prospect for other budding business owners. Here’s how to retain your franchisees and grow your organization.
Franchisors find themselves in a very competitive marketplace, vying for the attention of those turning to the model as an avenue to owning their own business or achieving a better work-life balance. As any franchisor knows, the ability to recruit and retain the right franchisees plays a crucial role in business growth and may be the difference between success and failure.
With a strong team, a franchise business can flourish but finding them can be one of a franchisor’s biggest, most time-consuming challenges. So, where’s the best place to look?
Look internally first
Recruiting from within your existing customer base is the best way to find new franchisees; selling the idea of ‘getting paid to do what you love’ has been a key message for us.
By scouting your regular clients, you’ll be dealing with people who are passionate about your brand and understand your ways of working. It’s also a fast-track method, as existing clients are invested and aligned with the brand.
Create opportunities for your current customers to understand more about what you do in a no-nonsense way, whether it’s an informal chat with existing franchisees or a more formal inquiry through the website.
Similarly, a referral scheme is an effective way to recruit. It harnesses the power of word of mouth while demonstrating to existing franchisees that you value their efforts with a reward for successful recommendations.
This, too, can be a fast-track method, as your current team often anecdotally qualifies the lead before a formal inquiry is made, sharing the corporate values and key benefits with prospects.
It builds an environment of support and teamwork, as existing and new franchises band together to develop the brand.
Showcase what you do
Word-of-mouth expansion can make for a linear growth trajectory, snowballing from one epicentre, so it’s important to reach new audiences outside of this by showcasing your brand.
So much of the rapid growth we’ve experienced is because we’re visible, showcasing at trade and consumer events up and down the country. This gives consumers and potential franchisees the opportunity to try out what we do for themselves, developing an understanding of our classes and experiencing the atmosphere firsthand. It can be draining, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
Once new franchisees have been on-boarded, retaining them is the next challenge. How can franchisors show value and keep franchisees motivated and invested?
Continued professional development
Continued professional development (CPD) programs demonstrate your commitment to franchisees. Offering ongoing training reinforces the support provided by the franchisor and this commitment to their upskill ensures they feel valued in the best possible way.
An exceptional CPD programme that is significantly more comprehensive than anything offered by our competitors has been key in retaining franchisees at ((BOUNCE)), as well as a USP when attracting new ones.
Rewards and networking
In any business, the workforce craves recognition and to feel they’ve contributed to the company’s success, and franchising is no different; no one wants to feel like a number in a list.
So, it’s vital to ensure feedback from franchisees is heard and listened to and, likewise, their successes are celebrated.
Communication is vital to this. Provide a platform for franchisees to voice their opinions and share suggestions. An open forum is a huge asset in retention and provides franchisors with clues on what is hindering or supporting their team, offering insight on how obstacles to success can be overcome.
In addition, making this a space where like-minded franchisees can connect also strengthens the business and maintains connection as the company expands. It can be a platform for franchisees to offer support and advice to one another, developing a real community feel.
It’s also worth using this platform to recognize and reward franchisees. Offer tangible incentives for specific objectives, but don’t underestimate the value of sporadic “shout-outs” to simply commend something positive. We love to commend our franchisees on contributions to the company from time to time, such as a great idea or a rave review from a customer.
A corporate social responsibility program is valuable in giving back to the community and enhancing the reputation of a brand. By involving franchisees in the decisions around the program, this can be a powerful tool for building franchisee loyalty. It recognizes their social and community values are shared by the company and engages them in the direction and progression of the company.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kimberlee Perry is the founder and CEO of ((BOUNCE))