The Next Three Big Things

We always have our antennae up for emerging trends that might help franchisors keep their networks safe, happy and profitable. Rather than just report on them we've also been proactive, investing in research and creating opportunities for clients to prepare themselves for these shifts. In this tip I'll share my thoughts on three "next big things" along with links to some useful resources.

New ways of engaging with prospective franchisees

Habits to do with how people source information are changing at an amazing rate and are different now from even six months ago. We expect to have instant online access to accurate, relevant information. If we think we are presented with anything inconvenient or irrelevant, we can leave it behind with a click.

Now apply this mindset to a person who might be interested in your franchise opportunity. Candidates will no longer be happy to phone or meet you just to get some basic information or access to a brochure. They will also be less likely to answer your follow up phone calls or emails until they're ready. This will be after they have had a chance to gather the information they want, at their own pace and in their own way.

Many franchisor recruitment teams, (and if we're honest, most of us) are still coming to grips with this rapidly evolving digital world of readily available, detailed information. For instance, a record number of franchisee prospects are now downloading templates to help them gather relevant information before they want to engage in a more serious "purchasing" conversation. There are important opportunities here for franchisors to revisit how they are engaging with prospective franchisees.

With this in mind we recently invited Matt Forman, an expert and author on digital franchise marketing, to run a webinar for franchisors. If you missed this informative session you can watch and listen to it here. Matt has some great tips for using these new digital tools in innovative ways. We have also organised a series of online learning programs with two of the world's leading experts in franchise recruitment marketing, Joe Matthews and Thomas Scott, the first being "Changes In Franchise Buying Behaviour". We will keep you posted, but meanwhile you can check out their informative franchise recruitment blog here.

Franchisors investing in company units

"Every time we convert a company store to a franchise, sales go up by over 30%".

We've all heard franchisor executives make comments like this on the virtues of a franchisee driven business. I have also long been a promoter of the "skin in the game effect". However does this stand up to rigorous testing?

I ask this question because we are seeing a trend for franchisors to review their position on company owned units. Some are investing in company units as a deliberate strategy or by circumstance, while others are divesting. In response to a series of client requests we decided to research the assumption that franchise units always outperform company owned units. The results are not as clear as many of us have previously assumed.

The emerging role of the field manager

Several years ago field managers could get away with dropping in unannounced to conduct compliance checklists and catch franchisees out for breaches in operating standards. Such visits have always been resented by franchisees and of dubious long term value. The average tenure of today's franchisee is approaching seven years. Many are running mature businesses and expect their field consultants to engage with them as a business partner, offering practical advice to improve financial metrics, coach them to set relevant goals and guide them in developing effective local area marketing plans.

So there you have it. Three emerging trends and some useful resources to position your network ahead of the curve.

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