Don't Be Fooled By What Makes Franchisees Tick

A senior operations executive, relatively new to franchising, strode onto the stage at the annual franchisee conference. He had spent months developing a benchmarking tool that would enable franchisees to compare their financial performance against their peers. And he was convinced they would lap it up.

But he was about to miss something important.

“Obviously”, he opened, “No one runs a business because they enjoy it!” While he expected a laugh he instead received blank, silent stares. He continued, “The only reason we are all here is to make money, right?” Again no response. So he pushed on with his presentation.

I was watching the franchisees from the sidelines and was pretty sure I knew the reason for the disconnect. His statement was not entirely true, and saying it with such certainty had undermined his credibility.

What really motivates franchisees

The thing is, workplace research has found that self-employed people are generally more satisfied than corporate employees, despite facing higher financial pressure and working longer hours. For example data emerging from our current Franchisee Success Study is showing 85% of franchisees find running their business enjoyable and satisfying.

Don’t be fooled into thinking this “Franchisee happiness factor” is because they are making more money. There is no evidence for this. Indeed, many employed executives work less and earn more than a typical franchisee! Of course franchisees want to make money, but most are also strongly motivated by the following four factors. If you want to tune into your franchisees and get support for new initiatives, take note.

  • A desire for independence and flexibility. Many franchisees are seeking to escape the politics, rigidity and frustration of working for others. Indeed, nearly half the 1,500 franchisees who have so far responded in our Franchisee Success Study say they bought their franchise primarily to have more flexibility in their life.
  • To seek a personal challenge. Many franchisees are also highly motivated by achieving results directly linked to their own creativity and hard work.
  • To make a difference. Franchisees often treat their staff as extended members of their own family and take pride in helping them grow personally and professionally. They also get great satisfaction in helping customers and in making a contribution to their local communities.
  • To earn the respect of friends, family and peers. Never underestimate the importance of status, pride and position. Respect is something we all crave. Treat a franchisee with disrespect and you may well pay the price.
  • How to earn people's trust

    Now back to our story. How did the franchisees take to this new benchmarking initiative? It bombed. Barely any franchisees signed up. While there were some past issues that had undermined franchisee trust, this franchisor executive's lack of understanding of what motivated his franchisees would not have helped.

    If you want people to willingly open their businesses and share their financial details, you have to earn their trust. And we are most likely to trust people who understand us. To summarise, it's not just about the money.

    Before I sign off this week I wanted to share some news and opportunities for learning, growth and business development.

    Franchise Research and Education News

    Sneak preview of Franchisee Success Study findings. If your brand is not yet involved in our Franchise Sucess Study we encourage you to be quick and get on board. Benefits to your franchise system are significant but the free opportunity to be part of this global study closes next week. If you would like a sneak preview of the preliminary findings click here. We are happy to share this with you.

    Field Managers embrace 3rd Annual Summit. Registrations are now flooding in for the third Annual Field Manager Summit. Several brands have registered their entire field team, in some cases over 20 people spread over the three locations.

    Profitable Partnerships available as e-book. You can now order Profitable Partnerships in e-book format from Amazon. This global best seller on how to improve your franchise relationships has sold over 40,000 copies. Click here to order a copy or write a review - now that would be a cool thing! :)

    Funding for Business Skills in People Management. Our good friend, Louise Broekman from HR Coach has secured funding to assist franchise systems in the hospitality and tourism industry with free access to quality Certificate IV training in people management and HR skills. If you're interested call Louise on 0419 726 732. Applications close on 15th August.

    Regards until next time,

    Greg Nathan

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