By Amelia Graham posted February 19, 2021

This week 40 field consultants and operations managers from around the world came together to learn, share and be inspired in a Foundation Field Manager Bootcamp. It is a buzz to see how enjoyable and useful these virtual sessions are.

Keep reading for our latest franchising fact on how COVID is impacting on franchisee mental health, and 11 ways to improve field visits.

Field managers describe the impact of our Advanced Bootcamp

Meet our new Head of Education, Kelley Matson

Kelley Matson

When you meet Kelley Matson you will realise that the extra E in her name stands for Enthusiasm. Like many of you, Kelley has been a good friend of FRI for many years in her roles as Field Consultant, Regional Manager and National Training Manager with multinational franchisors. Not only is Kelley an outstanding presenter and facilitator, she is a passionate mum of three boys, and loves jumping out of planes (with a parachute of course).

1. Best Practice Insights: 11 Ways to Improve Field Visits

It's been nearly 10 years since our Founder, Greg Nathan, published one of his popular Healthy Franchise Relationships Tips on 11 Ways for Improving Field Visits. Clients still regularly mention how helpful this particular Tip has been, so we thought we'd share it below. While COVID may have changed the nature of field visits, these 11 strategies are still as relevant as ever. Here they are...

# 1. Work up a joint agenda with franchisees prior to the visit. Once the agenda is agreed don’t deviate from these topics. If they weren’t important, you or the franchisee would not have raised them.

# 2. Have a clear purpose for every visit. Ask yourself “If the visit were to go as well as it reasonably could, what would be achieved?” Review this in your mind just before you start each visit.

# 3. Have your wits about you and give people your complete attention during the first few minutes of your visit. You don’t know what has been going on in the business prior to your arrival, so check before raising any compliance issues.

# 4. Be friendly but not friends with franchisees. If you decide to socialise, for instance having a meal together, do this with a business purpose in mind. You are there to add value to the franchisee’s business, not for any other reason.

# 5. Arrive at decisions together, especially when analysing financial data. While you may have you own understanding, you’ll get better results by allowing franchisees to first contribute their thoughts. This demonstrates respect and gets buy-in to action.

# 6. Make it clear to franchisees that financial data is being collected and analysed for the purpose of improving their profit, otherwise they can become defensive about how you intend to use their business information.

# 7. Explain compliance checks in terms of brand protection. Remind franchisees how much has been invested in building the reputation of the brand and how quickly this can be undermined to everyone’s detriment, including theirs.

# 8. Keep discussions constructive by asking solution focused “What” questions, for instance, “What would be a good outcome? What can I do to help?” This is an effective way to prevent unnecessary negativity.

# 9. Finish visits on a positive note. Remember the tone of your next visit will recommence from where this visit ended. If the visit has been challenging, acknowledge this and restate your commitment to the franchisee’s success.

# 10. Look after yourself and keep your energy high. The positive energy you give out, (which is a product of how you are feeling), will have more bearing on the effectiveness of your visits than any other single factor.

# 11. Finally, always ask the magic question, “What could I do to make my next visit more useful for you?” This demonstrates your care for the franchisee and creates a learning opportunity on how to continually improve your performance If you found these useful and want more great techniques and strategies to improve your field visits check out our Field Manager Bootcamps.

Franchising Fact: How COVID is impacting on franchisee balance and mental health?

To answer this question we turned to our in-house number cruncher, Darian Hargreaves, who has been analysing thousands of responses to our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Survey. It turns out that franchisees are actually experiencing greater balance with their work and personal life. But there's more to this story because they are also feeling more hassled and stressed. This indicates that while franchisees may be spending more time with their families, financial and other pressures are impacting negatively on their mental health. Keep this in mind when you are interacting with your franchisees. By the way, many leading franchisors find our ACE Franchisee Satisfaction Survey is a useful and effective method to stay on top of how their franchisees are feeling in a number of important areas. To find out more about the unique benefits of this scientific survey, contact our Survey Manager Frank Pietraroia.

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Since 1990, thousands of franchise executives around the world have enjoyed receiving a regular email tip from FRI’s Founder, Greg Nathan.

These short stories on the psychology of business and everyday life have been likened to “mind brightening pills” as they open our thinking to fresh insights for improving wellbeing, business performance and franchise relationships.

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