How to Clone Your Best Franchisees

If you are a franchisor I bet you've wished once or twice that you could clone your best franchisees. Actually you can. It's called multi-unit franchising.

Like cloning, which started in 1952 when two American scientists cloned some northern leopard frogs, multi-unit franchising has been around for some time. And like cloning, the processes for selecting and supporting multi-unit operators have also been gradually improving through trial and error.

This is good news because around two thirds of Australian franchise companies are currently experimenting with multi-unit franchising. Yet many franchisees and their franchisors have suffered because the franchisees were not ready to take this next step, or the support being provided was not relevant to their changing needs.

Tips for supporting multi-unit operators

For instance, in a research study involving 870 multi-unit franchisees we found they were significantly less satisfied than their single unit counterparts with the support being provided by their franchisors.

So here's a tip. Try to partner your better calibre field support managers with your multi-unit operators (MUOs). If this is not possible ensure your MUOs have the opportunity to spend regular time with your senior franchisor executives.

In another study we just completed for a large franchisor with a significant number of MUOs, we found the most successful MUOs scored higher on measures of leadership, communication skills and business acumen. Before allowing franchisees to take on more units you should be measuring these and other important attributes.

When you get to 3 everything changes

Possibly the most significant insight I have heard from franchisees and franchisors who have experimented with multi-unit operations is this: "When you get to three or more units, everything changes." In other words, a successful single unit franchisee can take on another unit and work a bit harder, or put their partner into the second unit, and keep managing things pretty much the same way. And they will probably make a bit more money. But this "work harder" strategy is a recipe for disaster if they grow beyond this.

When it comes to multi-unit franchising you need to operate from a different set of rules. These rules will again change as the number of units increases.

So let's not be like Dolly the cloned sheep who died prematurely. If we are going to use multi-unit franchising to clone our best franchisees, let's make sure they have the best chance of a long and prosperous life by equipping them with the right knowledge and support.

With this in mind the Franchise Relationships Institute is running the third Multi-Unit Franchising Summit on March 10th and 11th in Melbourne. Click here for details.

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