Written by Jim Stokes
Is the honeymoon over?
When franchisees begin operating, they are typically full of energy and can’t wait to take advantage of all the opportunities coming their way. Making short-term sacrifices in favor of long-term success. Some do very well, those are the ones that keep a close eye on their business. Others realize that they just bought themselves a job that they either don’t like or can’t handle. Still others think that all they have to do is buy the program, and it will run itself. Absentee ownership rarely works. Thus, is the reality of dealing with the public, and increasingly complicated operations.
Successful franchisees maintain a high level of engagement throughout the years, never forgetting that long hours and hard work is what got them there. For them, coasting is not an option. They learn from their mistakes and missed opportunities and apply those learnings to bolster future business.
External forces may mean time to change direction
Some franchisors forget that many of their operators have been at it for a long time, not realizing that retail fatigue can be a real problem and impede brand growth. We’ve seen retail fatigue set in when market conditions change and become more challenging. Take the Restaurant category for example, traffic has been declining for three years running. Restaurants and most businesses, cannot live on check or ticket average alone. You must continue to build traffic in order to succeed.
Operators can get used to doing a certain volume of business and when that volume keeps dropping along with their profit margins, doubt and negative thinking become more prevalent. Now add new operational demands to the equation and you have a recipe for malaise.
“I worked hard to build my business. Now you’re telling me I have to do it all over again?” In challenging market conditions, that’s exactly what is required in order to succeed or in some cases survive.
If you are at a cross-roads
For some, it can be overwhelming. If that sounds like you, then you should consider selling and moving on. Remember, franchisors are charged with the health and wellbeing of their system as a whole. If your unit reflects negatively on the brand your neighboring peers can be affected as well.
This is a two-way street. Franchisors, without diluting your brand, think of ways to streamline your process, making it easier for franchisees to comply. B bbBe sure to communicate your programs in ways that are easy to understand and easy to implement. Think about ways to simplify operations and reenergize or incentivize your franchisees during challenging times.
Franchisees, reach back and rekindle the spark and enthusiasm you once felt when your business was just getting under way. You don’t have to lose all that you’ve spent years to build.
Hit the reset button and think of this as the beginning of the next chapter of your business.