Every franchise group will go through a major change whilst you are a franchisee. It is inevitable that change will occur at some time. Some of it is really major, such as a rebrand or complete change in the franchise structure, whilst other will be more minor in nature such as marketing strategies, head office team changes or systems and processes.
I find a lot of franchisees get very caught up with changes in the franchise rather than just getting on with their business.
The first question when change is occurring is to ask if it is a definite change that is going to happen whether I go along with it or not? When I was a franchise, the brand went through a rebrand. Not just colours and logos, I mean, they changed the name. Now, it was going to happen whether I complained about it or whether I got on board with it. It was a given that it was going to happen and I had no say in it. Some franchisees in the group decided to take what I call the ‘protest’ route. That is, they stamped their feet, they complained, they wrote heated emails and stood up at conference to say they weren’t happy. Now that is their right to do that, but I do wonder how much of their focus and energy was going into this and basically, they were never going to change the franchisor’s mind on this. It was a done deal.
I, instead took the approach that I call ‘putting on blinkers’. You know when horses are racing and they put blinkers on the horse so that it runs its own race rather than looking side to side at the other horses. In the above situation, I realised that I could get all upset and waste my energy, or just get on board with the changes happening and run my business. I put my ‘blinkers’ on and stopped looking at what the other franchisees were doing and just got on with my business and followed the change that was going to happen.
Now this will be very hard for many of you. To just allow that change to happen and not have to get involved – in a negative way – will be hard. I believe that the biggest challenge many face is that they feel like they have lost control on their own business, their own future, when a franchisor makes a change. In the end, this is part of what you have signed up for. There are always two edges to a sword. You joined the franchise group to work in a group, to have a system, but part of that is that the business can change.
Now I don’t suggest that you should never question change or speak your mind if you think the change is going to make things harder or take you down the wrong path as a group, just think logically and basically know how to pick your battles. Some people are just not accepting of change no matter what it is. Don’t be one of those people. Sometimes it will be right for you to voice your concerns over a certain change, just don’t let it consume you to point of forgetting to keep your eye on the prize and run your business.
Change is going to happen and those that can jump on board with change and work out how to make it work (rather than just complaining it won’t work) are generally more successful and more profitable. If you do see that a change is wrong or not in the best interests of everyone, then don’t complain, come up with a suggestion or a solution or an alternative.
The franchisor knows that if you are not successful, then they will not be successful. I really don’t think they decide to change things just for the fun of it. If you don’t understand the change or why it is happening, then ask for more information before standing up and complaining.
I’ve seen this play out many times whilst I’ve been at franchise group’s conferences. I can tell you, if you do not have a logical reasoning as to why you think the change is bad and you do not have a logical solution or an alternative suggestion, then basically you will look and sound like an emotional idiot. Harsh, but true. Those that can communicate why – with reasons – a change is not going to be beneficial and then provide an, or multiple, solutions or suggestions or alternatives, in a calm manner, will get results and start a helpful discussion. Those that are acting in haste or emotional – they might be talking loud and appear to have everyone’s attention, but in the end, no one is listening.
Keep your focus on running your business.