While many businesses have had challenges accessing customers due to lockdowns and restrictions, others are having the opposite challenge in accessing enough product to sell to a queue of customers. One could laugh and say, "that's a good problem to have!" However, this can create considerable stress for a brand and its people.
In fact, we are noticing that for many of our clients, shortages of materials and resources, from stock to staff, are testing the patience of their franchisees and customers.
We have always recommended that the best way to secure a reliable supply of materials and labour, is to invest in your relationships. So it's no surprise that the best franchisors and franchisees tend to build deep relationships with their key supporters, including suppliers, that go beyond a short-term transactional focus. Indeed we were grateful when our staff, clients and suppliers stepped up to support us when the pain of lockdowns started to bite.
In this article, we share seven best practice tips on building supporters.
Speaking of great supporters, we are grateful to our friends at Franchise Cloud Solutions, for also providing six fantastic tips on helping franchisees achieve financial success, which we have included below.
There are many ways a franchisor team and franchisees can build supporters that will go the extra mile to help their businesses to flourish in tough times. Here's a few suggestions.
1. Instead of shopping around re-actively for the cheapest price, stick with suppliers that have been loyal to you, and they'll be more likely to have your back.
2. Invest in the professional development of your team by providing regular training opportunities for them to grow their skills and capabilities.
3. Recognise those who put in extra effort by acknowledging their commitment, both privately and publicly, through genuine comments of gratitude.
4. Be proactive in keeping customers informed about delays to minimise uncertainty, and thank them for their patience. Also look for opportunities to provide them with extra care and value.
5. Provide your franchisees with the tools and training to stay connected with customers, and share best practice tips for managing unhappy customers.
6. Treat essential suppliers, including landlords and lenders, with respect, acknowledging their challenges, and aim to negotiate arrangements that are mutually fair and reasonable.
7. Put aside some time each week to check in with your people to see how they are genuinely going, and offer support where necessary.
Now, more than ever before, franchisors need to be keeping a close eye on the financial performance of their franchisees.These tips have been kindly provided by our friends at Franchise Cloud Solutions, an end-to-end franchise management platform with the capability to manage every possible function in your franchise.
1. Create business planning templates so franchisees and field managers are using the same language and concepts. This will improve information gathering, analysis and accountability, as everyone will be using a consistent approach.
2. Coach franchisees to develop specific goals and targets, along with key dates. Ensure franchisees have a genuine commitment to these goals and targets and help them to identify the key behaviours and actions they will need to take.
3. Within your Franchise CRM, set up live, personalised dashboards for each franchisee, so they can view and engage with their own data, as well as monitoring their progress and achievements in real-time. This can be extremely motivating.
4. Set milestones, actions and outcomes with the franchisee. These need to be realistic and specific, with the franchisee's genuine commitment. Agree on how you will follow them up, and set reminders to keep them on track.
5. Equip your field managers with the capacity to effectively coach franchisees. Listening skills are particularly important, as is the ability to ask powerful solution-focused questions.
6. Ensure your field managers and franchisees have access to effective information systems that will enable them to monitor their progress so they stay motivated and on track.
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