Gig teams versus Head Office

The traditional Head Office model for franchisors is rapidly changing. Smart operators are looking to reduce their headcount (and associated costs) and are exploring the benefits of outsourcing large areas of their operations to expert consulting firms. It’s a strategy that comes with risks, but also huge benefits.

Toddler Kindy, GymbaROO (TKG), a 70 centre franchise system that provides baby, toddler and school readiness classes, took the decision to go down the outsourcing path two years ago and has reached the point where their Head Office team is now just a handful of key personnel – but their offering to their franchisees has ramped up considerably.

“Outsourcing some segments of our operations has allowed us the freedom to focus on our core business - those areas where we have unique expertise,” TKG CEO, Beth Pocklington, explains.

“We are absolutely the best people to evaluate the science and develop new programs, but once the “product” is built, we hand it off to outside experts to market.”

Marketing is one of the first areas that GymbaROO outsourced.

“Brand and product promotion is totally handled off-site. Website design and update, all our social media, local area marketing materials – are no longer done by Head Office, and I couldn’t be happier,” said Beth.

TKG have found a company who could provide all the services they needed. It was also a company that understood franchising and the demands of franchisees - a crucial requirement.

“I think the key to the success we are having is that we have never considered them just a supplier. They are an integral part of our team, deeply involved in many areas of our franchise and we trust them.”

Beth believes the benefits of using “gig teams” (or consultants) are many. “Apart from having access to the best talent, you don’t have all the employment costs or the operating overheads - furniture, equipment, expensive software licenses and office space. You aren’t juggling people going on leave with critical deadlines looming.” When asked what she believes are the key “must do’s” for a franchisor considering going down the path she replies, “Take your time to find a company that has the skills you need but also has a culture and values that matches your own. Integrate them into your business as a trusted resource, members of your team!”

She adds that its important to have clearly defined levels of service and authority and to ensure that there are frequent planning meetings to set outcomes, timelines and deadlines. “And most importantly, communicate with them frequently, as you would with the on-site members of your team."