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The next generation of franchise talent – the value of millennial franchisees

The next generation of franchise talent – the value of millennial franchisees

Franchising isn’t just for experienced and seasoned entrepreneurs, there is plenty of room for talented millennials.

Words by Andy Knights, CEO of Stagecoach Performing Arts.

It can often be mistaken that franchising is exclusively for well-seasoned entrepreneurs and businesspeople. In fact, international franchises can benefit hugely from integrating young millennials (born between 1981-1996), and sometimes even Gen-Z (born after 1997), talent into its networks. These talented individuals not only bring fresh, creative insights into the field in which they are passionate about, but their unique, contemporary skillsets can raise the standards of the franchise operations moving forward.

It could be argued that those older than the millennial generation can present fixed mindsets and inflexible approaches to business operations due to learned behaviors in their careers. The business and franchise world moves at an immeasurable rate, and it can often be easy to fall behind without noticing. By providing young millennial and Gen-Z talent with open opportunities in franchising and the associated networks, unique and advantageous skillsets can be brought in that could drastically streamline and improve the existing franchise model.

Millennials are ambitious

In any business, welcoming a fresh, modern insight can ignite a new spark to the engine of an already well-oiled machine! It’s not uncommon for those who have been involved with a franchise brand like ours from a young age as a student to ultimately return to us for employment or something even bigger like becoming a franchisee. Many of our franchisees under 30 have been with us for a very long time, from student to becoming an assistant, teacher and ultimately a franchisee.

Having gone through that journey with us and possessing first-hand knowledge of a company like ours at each stage is a truly valuable experience. Tied in with their insight of the modern world, whether it be the media, culture, current affairs or knowledge of the industry, it’s simple to see how they can make a great impact on a franchise network.

While there may be doubts looming over the professional contributions younger people could make as part of a franchise network, this isn’t a new concept. In fact, the millennial and Gen-Z generations have a strong case to argue as to why their presence could advance the business in which they operate. Research indicates that the world is becoming more entrepreneurial. Four in five young people want to set up their own business one day, with 83 per cent of 18–24-year-olds contributing to that statistic.

This is a huge increase from the baby boomer generation (born between 1946-1964), which saw just one in three people having the same aspiration. Considering this, it stands to reason why franchises should be integrating young, fresh talent into their network and teams. Having the strong foundations of an existing and trusted brand but also the freedom to run a franchise on their own – it seems like a match made in heaven.

Millennials are ready to learn

However, it was recently reported that 63 per cent of millennials believe their leadership skills are not being fully developed, and 71 per cent will leave their jobs within two-three years if they feel there is no longer room for growth in an organization. Considering this, shouldn’t we as franchisors be making every effort to develop young leaders in our networks by giving them the opportunity to express their capabilities?

Of course, it’s not as easy as simply throwing any young person into the mix and waiting for something to happen. As with any recruitment process, picking the right people with the attributes and potential to succeed is still critical but if we throw into the mix these younger people who are keen to take up leadership roles, it is up to us to provide the development opportunities to help them fulfill their potential. So, we look for whether they have a clear passion for the sector in which the franchise operates and a commitment to personal and professional development.

While confidence is important in anyone joining a team or becoming a business owner, their humility and eagerness to learn from the people around them must shine through too. For millennials or Gen-Z’s wanting to join a franchise network, striking a healthy balance between their own ego and their respect for those who have been in the game for much longer than them is potentially make or break.

But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a two-way transaction! Having the opportunity to learn and evolve with peers at any stage of a career should be a huge motivating factor in business. The rewards that can be reaped from seeing young, dynamic and passionate people work their way up the ranks and take on more responsibilities are incalculable. Sharing these mutual learning experiences is an important part in keeping businesses relevant but it also prepares the company to move forward and evolve.

Give them a chance and watch them flourish

There is significant evidence that supports having more millennials in leadership positions in franchising. By more diverse age groups cooperating at any stage of a business, market visibility can drastically increase. The modern world isn’t something that should be shied away from, and through embracing the understanding of modern media outputs, franchises will see the benefits of what is so easily at their disposal.

Here at Stagecoach, we have had so many reasons to celebrate the regular contributions our young franchisees make to the betterment of our operations. We no longer consider it to be a matter of ‘taking a chance but rather a ‘no brainer’.

The author

Andy Knights is the CEO of the global children’s performing arts franchise, Stagecoach Performing Arts

Global Franchise Meets.

An inspirational new web video series where we meet the business leaders and influencers in International Franchising.

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