One of the common things that happens in a franchise, is that franchisees become a part of the system, they are just numbers in the system. No one does this with the wrong intention it is just something that happens.
In my ‘previous life’ when I was a Radiographer after University (a long time ago now….), we were taught that we shouldn’t refer to patients by their body parts. So it was ‘I’m going to x-ray Mr Smith now’ rather than ‘I’m just off to do that foot’. Even though we were taught this, after time working, you did refer to people as their body parts. Sounds a bit ridiculous, but in that environment it was normal. The problem was, we were de-humanising people and that is never a good idea.
As a franchise group grows, people become numbers in the system. People become their territory, rather than a person.
On the surface, this makes no real difference and it isn’t a huge problem. On a deeper level, looking at the long term, this is a massive issue. This is especially so if you have a head office team who begin to refer to real people as territories or simply numbers in the system.
As a franchisor, your customers are your franchisees. We want to remember that and you want to make sure your head office team also remembers that. We want to make sure that we treat them as real people. They all have families, they all have bills to pay, they all have hopes and dreams and real lives to live. They also have problems and they also have joys. Buying a franchise could be one of the biggest decisions a franchisee has ever made and in some cases they took longer to decide on this than they did on whether they would marry their partner! We need to respect this decision.
It is easy to forget that franchisees are real people and as a franchisor, it is your responsibility as the leader, to lead by example when you talk about franchisees. Make sure the head office team know who the franchisees are. Get them to remember they have real lives. I know this can be hard as your system grows into the hundreds, if not thousands, but try, you must.
The reason this is so important to me is because in the end, if a franchisee fails in their business and ‘closes up shop’, for the franchisor, this might not be a big deal or even a big hit to their income. This is especially so if you have hundreds of franchisees. One fails out of a group of 500… less than 1%, in fact just 0.2% of your group. No biggie.
But . . . .
For the franchisee, this could mean they lose their home, they could potentially go bankrupt, they could lose their self respect, they could even lose their marriage. They could lose their confidence and never regain it. It might not be as bad as this, but by no means will it be a good ending for them.
Franchisees are real people and sometimes, it is good to remind ourselves and our staff that care and support the franchisees that they need us to treat them as such for them!