I have taken on a franchise and have several ideas on how to improve the business. My franchisor is fairly controlling, however, and isn’t very keen. How do I persuade him that my ideas will work, or do I just have to accept the situation?
It is a good thing that for most franchise systems, this situation is not likely to arise – unless as a new owner of a franchise business you have a very short memory. It would be a case of ‘short memory’ because it is highly likely that the owner of the brand said at the outset, “I don’t want somebody joining the system who wants to change it from day one.”
While some may regard that statement as a sign of inflexibility or lack of entrepreneurial spirit, the truth is, it is usually a pragmatic reflection of what everyone in the system wants.
Franchise networks need the ability to change and, like every good business, the ability to innovate and evolve. But they do not cope well with a lot of individual ideas being thrust about. This is more likely to lead to a wasteful distraction of resources than a profitable redeployment. As such they are opposed not only by the brand owner but commonly most of the franchise owners as well.
Most good systems have a multi-faceted internal communication process which allows for feedback from franchise owners to the brand headquarters – often via a franchise advisory council (FAC) or similar group; sometimes via a ‘high achievers’ franchisee group. These are the channels through which ideas and innovative proposals are filtered – so that they get the benefit of the collective experience and understanding of the broader group, rather than that of the new entrant alone.
The good news is that positive, constructive ideas which get the nod will then often be implemented by the franchisor through a company owned outlet. This provides opportunity for ‘testbed’ implementation without the need for costly adoption across the whole network.
So the short answer to the question may well be that influencing your franchisee colleagues may well be the quickest route to having your good ideas implemented by the franchisor. You may regard that as an unnecessarily cautious approach; but you might also find that it ultimately saves you time and money.