The Value of Connecting With the Franchise Network
The Value of Connecting With the Franchise Network
One of the major advantages of joining a franchise network is the safety net a franchisor provides with their proven business model, and failsafe processes and systems. However, one of the most beneficial yet sometimes overlooked features of a franchise network is the collaborative, connected environment you become a part of.
So how do you maximise this benefit, both before and after launching your business?
Connecting before the franchise onboarding stage
Before the onboarding process even commences, a great franchise operation will have a leader sit down with you to ensure that you are a great fit for the franchise and that the franchise is a great fit for you. During this stage it’s all about managing our respective expectations. A good franchise business recognises that its network of owners are entrepreneurs looking for the freedom and creative flexibility to run a business how they best see fit, while growing under a common brand.
The franchisor will also provide you with full transparency to minimise the chances of hidden financial surprises. Costs for franchising, the initial fit out, opening promotions, service fees and marketing fees are all laid out so you know exactly what you’re up against.
My tip during the interview phase is to ask this big question: “How long does it take for the average franchisee to receive a return on investment?” The answer should be straightforward and backed by evidence.
For example, if you are serious about investing, ask for financial projections and a draft franchise agreement.
These tools are designed to help you budget, develop a steady cash flow and digest initial investment costs, so you can accurately do the numbers when buying a franchise.
Connecting during the initial franchise onboarding stage
In a supportive franchise network, the onboarding process generally consists of a warm welcome from all franchise owners within the network. This is an opportunity for you to meet the larger group of business owners you are now a part of and get familiar with the culture.
The onboarding process is also a time to sit down with a member of the leadership team to hone in on your “why”.
This is where the franchisor finds out what really drives you — financial freedom, creative independence or helping others — in order to cultivate clear long and short-term goals you want your business to achieve. In addition to goal setting, a franchisor may help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, so the network is aware of what you can bring to the community and also what the franchise can do to support you.
Collaboration and information sharing are key to success.
Training and mentoring franchisees
Throughout the year, there will be ongoing touchpoints where you can learn from different members of the franchise network and grow together.
Conferences are a great opportunity for networking, learning the successes and failures of peers, and discussing the direction of the franchise as a whole. It is also a great place to reaffirm everyone is aiming for similar successes and find inspiration from each other’s activities.
Cluster meetings to facilitate collaboration
Collaboration, particularly in your location cluster, is a great benefit of being part of a franchise network. Those in surrounding suburbs have an in-depth understanding of your area’s demographics and culture, and how they respond to various marketing activity.
Collaborating is encouraged between franchise owners at Vision Personal Training particularly those in close proximity, as we believe it’s a great way to affirm you’re answering the needs of your local community while furthering your knowledge.
Leadership council to facilitate information sharing and decision making
To improve information sharing and decision making between the franchisor, franchisee and between franchisees, mostfranchise networks have a leadership council. The council is made up of franchise owners who represent the network when it comes to liaising with head office on matters regarding changes in the business framework, service offering, HR policy and the like.
At Vision Personal Training, we elect a new leadership council each year to inject fresh ideas from unique points of difference in the network. In addition to being key decision makers, the peer and head office elected leadership council come together at the start of the year to brainstorm innovative ways to collectively propel the business forward. Their input is extremely valuable and appreciated by head office and other franchise owners in the network.
Additional ways to stay connected and get day-to-day support in your franchise include:
- An internal intranet and phone support line
- Franchise Support Visits Training and mentoring for franchise employees
In addition to mentoring franchise owners, it’s important for a franchise network to have mentor programs for employees. Once employees have entered the network there are many career path opportunities to choose from.
At Vision, we encourage our studio owners to sit down with their personal trainers during their onboarding process to find out about their career ambitions. Ambitions vary from becoming a master trainer, to becoming a studio owner or even moving into a head office role. From here an action plan is drawn up to help that employee achieve their career goals.
It’s crucial to have a solid team of employees in your business. A good franchise network will support you to build a reliable and effective team by offering a framework and incentives to attract the right people, and that those people see career progression opportunities.
A good franchise network will invest in your employee’s job satisfaction and create ways for them to stay connected to the network, including:
- Employee summits
- Regular Development Days for your new team players
- Regular Webinars and online modules
- Continued Access to Face to Face Franchise Management Training for you and your Manager
Community and collaboration
Being a part of a community with likeminded individuals is truly great. More than likely, the values that attracted you to the franchise network are what attracted others there too.
As a franchisor, my primary focus is to ensure that each franchise is successful. Each franchise owner places a great deal of trust in us supporting them, so we spend a great deal of time ensuring our network is a place they can lean in to when they are looking for support, friendship and inspiration.
Andrew Simmons (B.Sp.Sc) is the Founder and Managing Director of Vision Personal Training. He is highly respected in the Health and Fitness Industry, being inducted into the Fitness Australia Roll of Honour in 2013.
The first Vision Personal Training studio was established in 2001. Vision is now the largest Australian owned franchised network of Personal Training studios with 58 locations in Australia and New Zealand.