These tips were collated from discussions by seasoned franchisor executives at FRI's recent Franchisor Executive Forum in Melbourne. Thanks to all those who contributed to this informative event.
#1: Be transparent with your decision-making processes. Don't leave franchisees guessing how you arrived at your strategies, or wondering what will happen next. When there are gaps in information, people inevitably fill these with the worst possible scenarios.
#2: Respond to franchisee questions and concerns. Create well-organised open forums to gather what's on people's minds, and be willing to answer these questions in a factual, empathetic and direct manner.
#3: Clearly explain why these initiatives matter. Provide a compelling explanation on the background and the short-term and long-term benefits based on the things that matter to franchisees, e.g. more profit, better customer experience, less stress.
#4: Brief and prepare the franchisor team first. Ensure the entire head office team is on the same page before launching a change to your franchisees. If your team is uncertain about what's going on, how can they lead effectively?
#5: Ensure there are regular and varied updates. People often need to hear things several times and in different ways before they take notice. Address the stage you are at in the process, as well as current challenges and how these are being addressed.
#6: Bring in third-party providers or speakers. Sometimes hearing a different perspective from someone on the outside can have more impact on your message.
#7: Identify early adopters and brand champions. Provide opportunities for franchisees who have experienced the benefits of the change to share their experience with others.
#8: Seek feedback from longer-serving franchisees. Use advisory groups and trusted franchisees as sounding boards on the nature of new initiatives and the best way to communicate these. And listen carefully to their suggestions.
#9: Use case studies on successful execution. Create videos, panels and short presentations on how franchisees have achieved great results, including important lessons along the way.
#10: Share the “why". Explain how proposed changes support the purpose and vision for the business, and how these will help to make a positive difference to all stakeholders and the communities you serve.
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