By Greg Nathan posted December 5, 2023

A common mistake made by many franchisor teams is to provide the same type of support to all franchisees. In a recent Field Manager Bootcamp, a team from the MTY Food Group workshopped how to best support their franchisees through the six stages of FRI's Franchisee Business Journey. The MTY Group operates 90 franchise brands with over 7,000 locations. The following tips are a useful resource you may want to share, and we thank this team for their thoughtful engagement with this exercise.

The Investigation stage

In this initial stage the franchisee is considering the merits of your business opportunity. Remember, if they proceed, they will take what they have learned so far on the rest of their journey. Tips to support them include:

  • Understand their background and reasons for wanting to join the franchise.
  • Share the key steps in the recruitment process and answer their questions.
  • Understand their expectations, including their proposed role in the business.
  • Provide information on frame frames and what it typically takes to establish a profitable business.
  • Conduct an on-the-job evaluation to help them understand a day in the life of a franchisee.
  • Introduce them to the history of the brand so they gain an understanding of who you are.
  • Assess their passion for the brand and their compatibility with your culture and what you do.

The Initiation stage

The franchisee has now signed a franchise agreement and is undergoing training and induction while their business is being prepared. Tips to support them include:

  • Invest adequate time and resources in their professional development.
  • Provide regular updates and check-ins leading up to the business opening.
  • Reassure them that you are walking down the path with them.
  • Expose them to people who are passionate about the brand.
  • Explain why you do things in terms of protecting brand reputation.
  • Help them to build supportive relationships with other franchisees.
  • Focus on getting them into good habits and ways of thinking.

The Perspiration stage

The franchisee is now in the business, establishing their team, building a customer base, sorting out operational systems, and juggling cash flow pressures. This is often a stressful time. Tips to support them include:

  • Provide emotional support and reassurance to keep them positive.
  • Provide practical, responsive solutions to challenges they have.
  • Normalize the stress and pressures they may be feeling.
  • Increase initial practical support, but wean this back over time.
  • Stay calm and listen to their concerns with empathy.
  • Encourage them to monitor customer acquisition metrics.
  • Focus them and their team on delivering exceptional quality and service.

The Consolidation stage

Everything is now coming together. The franchisee's confidence is growing, their team is in place, customers are returning or recommending the business, and they have reached break-even. Tips to support them include:

  • Conduct a business review to identify new business goals.
  • Identify their strengths, successes and achievements.
  • Visit other franchisees with them to inspire new ideas and opportunities.
  • Help them with the development and growth of their team.
  • Highlight and celebrate their successes with them.
  • Review their metrics and encourage them to work more ON the business.
  • Assist them in developing a Local Area Marketing plan.

The Maturation stage

The franchisee has now been running the business for four to six years, is skilled in business operations, and is possibly skeptical about new ideas. They may also be getting a little tired or bored with the business, and complacency is a risk. Tips to support them include:

  • Encourage them to get involved in consultative committees and groups.
  • Involve their business in pilot testing or R&D initiatives.
  • Invite them onto panels or to lead best practice round table discussions.
  • Provide them with an opportunity to give back through mentoring new franchisees.
  • Review their business plan and challenge them to set new goals.
  • Discuss their lifestyle goals and what's next for them.
  • Encourage a growth mindset and additional professional development.

The Reformation stage

The franchisee sees the need to stay fresh and decides to reinvent themselves and their business. Tips to support them include:

  • Guide them through a renovation or refurbishment of their business.
  • Help them to identify new distribution channels or opportunities to grow their market share.
  • Reinvigorate their passion for the brand through greater community involvement.
  • Create opportunities to participate in discussions with other experienced franchisees.
  • Encourage them to take an extended break and recharge their batteries.
  • Explore succession planning options such as bringing in a partner or selling the business.
  • Assess their suitability to expand into additional units.

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