An article by Greg Nathan on Franchise-Chat illustrates how important “confidence” is in the franchise relationship, he writes:
Whether we like it or not most businesses are operating in an environment of fear and uncertainly and this is likely to continue for some time. Fear and uncertainly rob people of their initiative and confidence. This applies to both customers and businesses and it is as much a psychological problem as it is an economic one!
Smart franchisors understand that in addition to granting new franchises, they must provide strong, credible leadership to their existing franchisees. This means maintaining high levels of confidence and hope within their networks and getting their franchisees to willingly deliver on the promise of the brand.
There are good commercial reasons why this is essential, especially in the current environment.
Imagine the competitive edge a franchise network would have in the current market if a franchisor and its franchisees all pulled together with confidence and hope, sharing ideas and fully supporting each other.
And while franchisees with high levels of confidence and initiative are more likely to promote their businesses in their local markets and motivate their teams to deliver exceptional service, the opposite is also true. Franchisees that lose confidence and hope are more likely to fall into a psychological hole of hopelessness where they start to take on a victim mentality. This is bad for them and bad for the brand.
Perhaps unfairly, franchisees who are not achieving are also likely to blame their franchisor. It is thus in a franchisor’s best interests to focus on providing the right type of support to franchisees at this time.
Here are three things that franchisors can do to promote a greater culture of confidence in their franchise networks.
Show responsible, forward thinking leadership
It is a known fact that the attitudes and behaviours of leaders have an immediate and powerful impact on the performance and attitudes of the people they serve.
Franchisor executives at all levels need to show a high level of maturity and discipline in their comments and behaviour. If they want the loyalty of their franchisees they need to set an example of care, competence and integrity.
Discussions with franchisees should be constructive and solution focused at all times. Focus on what you want to see and why. People often respond according to how they are treated so treat franchisees as fellow business people who want to succeed.
Nature abhors a vacuum. In cases where a franchisor fails to keep their franchisees informed on their strategies for addressing market pressures, franchisees will start to draw their own conclusions – perhaps that the franchisor doesn’t care or doesn’t know what it is doing.
Regular phone and face to face communication is vital. Regional meetings and webinars are particularly useful initiatives at this time as they are cost effective and enable people to stay connected to what is happening.
Also remind your franchisees that in this environment everyone’s energy needs to be focused on business improvement, not on complaining, blaming or internal fighting.
The leader’s role is to build hope and confidence for the future not to get drawn into arguments over who is right or wrong. Work with franchisees to identify what is working and why, and build on this.
It is usually obvious what is not working. Acknowledge this and do something about it immediately. This will also build confidence and hope as it shows a commitment to positive action, not just talk.
In summary keep franchisees informed and keep discussions focused on what is working and who can do what to improve things.
Read the other things franchisors can do to promote a greater culture of confidence in their franchise networks at: Franchise-Chat