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How to build a collaborative franchise network

How to build a collaborative franchise network

Collaboration can only be a good thing, so encouraging peer-to-peer support could drive bottom-line results

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There are many tactics and strategies that can ultimately lead to the success of a franchise: a strong online and social media presence, comprehensive training, ongoing support systems and resources, influential advertising and marketing materials, recognizable brand identity – the list goes on.

At Blo Blow Dry Bar, we take this all one step further by actively practicing a collaborative approach with our franchisees, working closely to identify their needs, and incorporate suggested ideas.

Collaboration is an essential driver of businesses in any industry as it results in new ideas, products or services. It also serves as a strong reminder that your corporate team, franchisees, and their employees are all working towards one common goal: the success of the business.

As a unified group, franchisees are able to learn from one another, evolve as leaders, and grow their business and the entire franchise into something they are proud of. We have designed several strategies for building a collaborative franchise network, but three approaches take particular priority.

Be conscious in your recruiting efforts

At Blo Blow Dry Bar, we look to award franchises to individuals with an existing strong leadership presence as well as valuable skills and experiences. It is vital that prospects also have an overarching passion to own and operate a business in their community. And this rings true for any kind of franchise because finding quality franchise partners who are a good brand-fit is crucial to future growth.

Make it known from the start that franchisees will be welcomed into a collaborative environment and are encouraged to take advantage of that – this makes the opportunity more appealing, especially for those who have had successful careers.

“Your goal should be to recruit franchisees who are or have the potential to be idea-generators and possess an entrepreneurial spirit”

Your goal should be to recruit franchisees who are or have the potential to be idea-generators and possess an entrepreneurial spirit – these qualities result in leaders who proactively look to better the franchise as a whole.

Create an open work culture

Once you have built this strong network of franchisees through recruitment tactics, create an open-door culture that empowers people to feel comfortable sharing feedback and ideas. Our leadership team is in constant communication with all franchisees and actively creates opportunities to solicit and encourage their input.

It is also important to encourage franchisees to stay connected with one another, learning from each other’s experiences and sharing new ideas. Franchisee-to-franchisee collaboration is an important way to raise performance standards. Through idea-sharing, a fellow franchisee may be able to help evolve the idea into something greater. Better yet, the new ideas may become a part of the brand’s overall business plan or day-to-day operations.

Throughout our history, franchisees have suggested new services and products which have been added to our system’s offering. They’ve also shared management practices that have proven to be successful at their location that have now evolved to become a system standard of best practices. We want our franchisees to have their fingerprints all over the business so they know their contributions have been an asset in reaching success.

Prioritize freedom and flexibility in your culture as well as active listening from all team members. An open environment builds a certain level of comfort on the part of the franchisees who will then feel their interests and those of the franchisor are aligned. This helps create a sense of security which instills a level of confidence needed to take on challenges and seek out new opportunities to build their business and share ideas or observations.

Incorporate innovation and technology tactics to facilitate collaboration

To facilitate the open environment and culture you’ve built, hone in on innovations and technology that enable franchisees to easily collaborate and share ideas. For example, schedule regular calls where franchisees are invited to share feedback, suggestions or new ideas. Or, utilize a Facebook group or a franchise management software platform making it possible for ideas to be submitted any time.

Adaptability is a valuable attribute a franchise system should strive to practice. Your plans and strategies should be consistently evolving over time to meet the needs of franchisees and a changing marketplace. It’s important to stay on top of trends, identify challenges, brainstorm solutions, and deliver support. Never rest on your laurels as you work to grow a business that will flourish over time.

“As a unified group, franchisees are able to learn from one another, evolve as leaders, and grow their business and the entire franchise into something they are proud of”

Collaboration doesn’t just make a team feel recognized and included, but it also drives the exact results your franchise is working to achieve. A franchise is only as successful as its franchisees, which is why it is so crucial to make conscious efforts throughout the recruiting process to ensure you are bringing on strong franchise owners with that brand-fit.

Continue these efforts in building a system that encourages and facilitates franchisees’ contributions. And finally, always pursue opportunities to innovate and improve, for the benefit of your franchise partners and your business as a whole.

The author

Vanessa Yakobson is CEO and co-founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar, North America’s original blow dry bar and the world’s largest blow dry bar franchise.

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