Help your franchisees make the most of their businesses by outlining the possibilities, tools and services at their disposal
It’s no secret that revenue streams are important in any business, so how do you make sure your franchisees get the support they need? One simple yet effective way is ensuring they are aware of the opportunities available to them and that your supplier chains are well managed.
Speak to your franchisees
First and foremost, you’ll need to determine the needs of your network. As the franchisor, you already know which core supplies the businesses need. What you may not be aware of are any unique regional challenges and factors that must be overcome.
Let’s say you run a franchise in a place that’s sunny all year round. You expand into new markets and before you know it, you have premises everywhere. Suddenly, your premises in colder climates need snow plough services and grit to battle the snow. Your business has never needed this expertise before, so you need to help your network source it.
Maintaining a dialogue with your current and prospective franchisees will keep you clued in to their individual needs. From there, you can decide how to proceed. Will you need to set up a supplier relationship or will some wholesale ordering do the trick?
Speak to your customers
Any good business will gather information about their customers’ needs and expectations in order to offer a better service. Gathering this insightful marketing data is important, but analyzing and acting upon it is vital.
If your customers love drinking coffee alongside your standard offerings, you know you need to equip your franchises with coffee machines and provide support for those machines. Customer expectations are changing all the time, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest trends and communicate those trends down to your premises. Again, communication is key.
If your marketing team wishes to change things up, don’t leave your network in the dark. Keeping them in the loop will allow them to action those changes intelligently and effectively. A lack of communication between customers, franchisees and franchisors can doom a business.
Look for opportunities to upsell
Many franchises operate in markets where supplementary products can provide revenue streams. A classic example would be petrol stations and coffee vending machines. In order to boost sales revenue, many stations offer coffee and snacks to drivers in need. Diversifying your offerings is an easy way to make more money, but as a franchise, the cost of developing these products or services yourself is expensive. Starting a relationship with a trusted supplier is a fast and easy way to give your franchisees more options and revenue streams.
For franchises, the key is having a supplier with the infrastructure to support them no matter where they are. Selecta supports U.K. businesses from 14 nationwide depots. So, no matter where your premises’ are, they can get fast, local support for their coffee vending machines.
Finding the right suppliers
With your needs in mind, you can head out and look for your suppliers. To find the right suppliers, it’s a great idea to attend as many trade shows or exhibitions as possible. Not only will this showcase what suppliers are available to choose from, you’ll be able to ask them any questions that you have directly.
Many supplier/business relationships are personal ones. There may be someone in your organisation who has worked with a supplier before and can recommend a trusted supplier. Speaking of recommendations, it’s important to read reviews to find an honest appraisal of a supplier’s quality.
Putting your supply needs out to tender gives you the opportunity to explore a range of competitive options. Do your research into a number of likely candidates and have them pitch to fulfil your supply needs.
It is essential to make sure your logistic demands are able to be met by your supplier. This was where KFC ran into problems in the U.K.
In 2018, KFC changed suppliers to one with a centralized warehouse. After a delivery problem hit, half of KFC’s 900 outlets (many of them franchises) ran out of chicken and were forced to close.
Take responsibility for your suppliers
Franchisors need to ensure that they have contingency plans and protocols for when something as potentially serious as a failure to supply occurs. Using a trusted supplier is all well and good, but at the end of the day, your network is looking to you to make sure that each franchise is fully supported.
Contingency plans should also include clear guidance for how your premises can best mitigate their losses, as well as a PR strategy to minimize damage to the brand and customer goodwill.
With this in mind you should ensure that it has in place a robust agreement that covers service levels, warranties, limitations and guarantees. You should also make sure that your franchisees are aware of how the supplier relationship works. What are their responsibilities? How do they work with suppliers?
Maintaining a good supplier relationship
The relationship between suppliers and franchisors is a two-way partnership that adds value both ways. Recognizing that the more you give, the more you tend to get, smart franchisors work closely with suppliers on market intelligence, customer feedback, product development and innovations. In return, you can benefit more from suppliers’ marketing, new products and service offerings.
Over time, a strong supplier relationship can yield huge benefits to you and your franchisees. From training to specialist insight and more.
Giving your network all the tools it need to be productive will ultimately yield profits. Investing in communication, product/service diversification and support from quality suppliers is key to business success.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Freeman is a resourcing partner at Selecta, a leading European vending solutions and services supplier.