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I Just met with a franchisor who raised a very common complaint. He said that when dealing with his franchisees it always seems like he’s herding cats. He said that none of the franchisees are willing to follow the franchise model because everyone has a better way of doing it.

Whether the issue is related to advertising, customer service, bookkeeping or even the services offered, no one seems to be on the same page. This is what we affectionately call, herding cats and while it is quite normal, it’s not a strategy and definitely not a strategy for growth.

What causes "herding cats" franchisee managment?

"Herding cats" management typically is the result of not providing clear direction and standards to the franchisee and support personnel. In the absence of standards or at least complete standards, the franchisee will fill
in the gaps by themselves. This almost always leads to inconsistencies across the system and makes it almost impossible to reign in the brand that you built.

Case study on franchisee management

We recently worked with a well-established coffee franchisor, a company with an excellent product and a large following. They prided themselves as offering a brand experience based on the art of coffee. The only problem was that the experience differed from location to location.

Solution to "herding cats" and franchisee management

The solution to Herding Cats is for the franchisor to establish clear processes and standards across the franchise system. Processes and standards that when incorporated into the franchisor's training can be easily understood, replicated in any market and measured.

Once processes and standards are in place across your franchise system, the herding of cats is no longer an issue. When franchisees clearly know what to do and when to do it, they no longer fill in the gaps, and the herd of cats transforms into a focused team.

I would love for you to share your comments or your own herding story with me. It is my passion to help franchisors grow and build empires.

Are you thinking of franchising your business?

Your business is your baby and it is growing.  You've decided that franchising your business is the best approach to expanding your brand, but you're not sure how to get there and what you need.  So how can you find the right company to help you move forward to reaching your goals?  Well, you are actually looking for a franchise development company like ours.

There are many firms like ours throughout the U.S. some good and some not so good.  When interviewing franchise development companies, we recommend that you ask these following question

1. Where is your office located?  If the consultant is working from home, then they are not a legitimate business.  A stable franchise development company has employees and a physical address.

2. How do you charge for your services?  Some companies have an a la carte approach to pricing, other companies charge by the project.  The most important question to ask every prospective development firm is, "What exactly are the deliverables?"  A complete franchise system will have franchisee training and support programs, all the necessary legal documentation, on-the-job training for employees, marketing plans and strategies for franchise sales, and franchisee relationship management.  Ask to see their work.  As they say, "The proof is in the pudding."

3.  Does your company focus on franchise development or does it sell franchises?  There many different types of services in the franchise industry.  There are franchise brokers, franchise consultants and franchise advisors, who help people find the right type of franchise to purchase.  If you come across a company that is more into the selling of franchises, then that might not be a good fit for you.   You really need a franchise developer that is committed to building you a complete, comprehensive franchise system.

4. Are franchise documents prepared in-house or outsourced?  One of the most important legal documents that you will need is a Franchise Disclosure Document that complies with the Federal Trade Commission.  Some companies take the easy route and use a template, a one-size-fits-all approach, then charge you an arm and a leg.  Every business is unique so therefore your FDD must reflect your business model.

5. How many franchise systems have you built?  Ask to speak to their existing and past clients.  Invest some time visiting the actual franchise businesses.  Are the franchisees satisfied and do they feel that they were adequately trained to operate their franchise.  You will be amazed at how much information you can receive from franchisees.

As with any business relationship, you need to trust the company that you are working with.  Ask for references from their vendor list.  The way someone treats their vendors is a pretty good indicator of their character.

We take a customized approach to franchising your business.  The process is not easy, but we try to make it fun, affordable and prosperous.


Costs in Franchising

Understanding the costs in franchising is an important step in evaluating the right path when selecting a franchise development team.  There are many phases when it comes to franchise development and no two companies are the same.  Some offer only the necessary legal documents and others provide full-service from development to sales.  To truly compare franchise development companies, you must insist on a detailed proposal from each firm, so you know exactly what you are getting for your dollars.

You also need to take into account the type of business you own.  Full-service, sit down restaurants are the most expensive businesses to franchise.  There are a lot of moving parts and costs involved with restaurants; inventory, recipes, point-of-sales systems, kitchen equipment, cleaning procedures, back-of-house and front-of-house policies, etc.  If you are in the service industry where a potential franchisee can work from home, then the cost to franchise this business is much less.  When looking at pricing a franchise system, we take into account the all the moving parts and costs involved with your business.

Prior to even talking about the price though, we make sure your business is franchisable.  Not every business model can be franchised.  We have a vested interest in your success and we want to see your model succeed.  We take the time to learn about your business and get to know you, too.

Our goal is to build complete, responsible franchise systems that become enduring brands where all parties benefit; you, your franchisees, your vendors and most importantly your customers.

Every business has processes and ways in which they provide services. But are those processes consistent with all your employees? Whether or not you decide to franchise your brand, your business would benefit greatly by becoming more process focused.

As the founder and day-to-day manager of your business, you might sometimes work 'on the fly'. Let's say, for example, you own a sandwich shop. You recently hired an employee who has never worked in the food service industry. You'll have to train your new hire to utilize your systematic approach to building sandwiches. How to set-up the line prep area? How to avoid cross contamination between meat and produce? How to build a sandwich using your unique approach?

These processes must be consistent with all employees and the best way to do that is by systematizing your business processes. From opening your kitchen, customer service, and mixing your proprietary sauces to closing your kitchen, every process must be systematized and implemented to ensure consistency. So whether customers visit you for lunch on Tuesday or dinner on Monday, their brand experience is consistent.

Becoming a processed centered business is the first step to franchising your business.