When it Comes to Franchising, Innovation is Included

By John Francis

April 23, 2019


I’ve been working closely with a franchise company to implement a process that while important and very beneficial, is going to create some work (and a little difficulty) to put into place.

And the reaction of the franchisees? Let’s just say they’ve been less than enthused.

It’s an initiative that many franchise organizations implement when they’re in their early stages of growth, yet this company had been able to grow and maintain a successful business without it. Because of this, many of their franchisees were resistant to change – and didn’t understand why they needed to make the investment now. After all, they’ve been doing just fine.  Why fix something that isn’t broken?

The answer to this question is simple…and it needs to be understood by everyone in franchising: when it comes to franchising (or running any successful business), innovation is included. It’s just part of the package – and it needs to be expected and embraced.

I explained to them that a good, healthy franchisor operates at a constant rate of reasonable change. This means that small improvements are always on the horizon, but they are managed in such a way as to prevent “change fatigue.” Regular, gradual improvements also prevent franchisees from becoming too set in their ways – which can easily create another source of resistance when meaningful or more impactful changes are announced.

As we’ve discussed on the blog in the past, this process is an important part of combatting the effects of “economic Darwinism.” This concept teaches us that we need to adapt to survive in today’s competitive landscape. If we don’t, someone else will fill the gap – and you’ll get pushed out of the way.

As the leader in a franchise company, it’s your job to prepare your franchisees for these changes and ensure they see them as a benefit, rather than a burden. After all, one of the benefits of owning a franchise business is that you have access to joint resources that you’d likely never have or afford on your own. This makes it possible for you to grow more quickly, and implement different initiatives, because you have the support of a larger franchise organization.

When was the last time you implemented a change to improve your franchise? Did it improve the results of your franchisees? If the answer to either of these questions is “no,” or you’ve gone too far in the other direction and invested in too many changes (or too many changes too quickly), you might have an unhealthy (tired) franchise brand. Once you’ve identified this as a potential issue, it’s time to have a discussion with your leadership team and advisory board.

And if you need an outside or fresh perspective? I’m always available to help. As a board member and franchise consultant, I’ll provide guidance to help you develop a course of action and get back on track. To set up a no-obligation call, please fill out the form below. Let’s talk!

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