Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

How to be a player coach

Businesses that move toward franchising stop working for them. Creating a strong, focused brand that will grow your franchise community is critical, and it is emphasized in detail. Franchise Bible Rick Grossman and Michael J. By Katz SQ. The authors liken a successful brand to a “players coach”, a team leader who demonstrates the defensive nature of the players that he or she coaches. Similarly, franchisors must try to guide their franchisees in a proven system designed to develop successful business owners. There are several moving parts to creating a sound franchise community, discussed in detail below.

Related: There are 9 ways you can build a strong franchise community

Invest in the best “players” for your team

Hard to come by ideal franchise candidates. Of the thousands of franchise concepts on the market, each has its own characteristics that make the business model unique. And, by extension, there are unique and qualified franchise candidates who fit in well with certain ideas – but you need to identify, follow, and support them throughout the investigation process. Franchises are predicted on proven business models that, in most cases, do not require prior industry experience, but there are still many common denominators that indicate successful candidates such as networking and management experience. Creating profiles or “personalities” is a difficult technique and it is advisable to list the support of franchise brokers and advisors for creating these profiles.

Related: Why millennials make great franchises – and how to hire them

Perfect the investigation process

Building a strong, centralized franchise community requires a step-by-step discovery process for franchisee candidates that is easy to understand and implement. The goal is to educate potential owners in a consultative manner that avoids the presence of high-pressure sales strategies. The investigation should come in phases through the process as part of the natural progression.

Form an advisory committee

As franchise owners progress through their training sessions and the ongoing support provided by franchisors, their reliance on helpers tends to diminish somewhat. This is why Grossman and Katz recommend the formation of a franchise advisory committee, where selected franchisees are allowed to exchange ideas, processes and skills in a combined setting. It keeps them engaged, feels special and the response given can be both productive and beneficial for building an overall strong franchise community. One extension of this consultation is to create an annual retreat, meeting or conference for all franchisees of the system.

Recognition and appreciation

Advisory committees and annual retreats are team building practices that add both recognition and appreciation to the franchise. Annual rewards or incentive programs to achieve specific goals can be extremely helpful in building a strong voting community. These can create friendly competition between franchisees and help them achieve goal-oriented pursuits ahead of schedule.

Related: Building community is good business

Warning is a final word

Grossman and Katz warn franchisors that what they refer to as “franchise doldrums” – the unit’s growth could stagnate after the initial ownership drive. One to two dozen units are “no-man’s land” where the initial interest and the initial recipients play and the actual recruitment of franchisees begins. The authors think it is reasonable to have a comprehensive and crafted plan for franchise lead-generation and sales development. It does a balancing act to employ new blood in the circle of ownership without upsetting the delicate balance of the community you have already achieved. If you plan ahead for this scenario, you are less likely to get frustrated.

Rick Grossman and Michael J. Katz SQ. Author of Franchise Bible: How to buy a franchise or franchise your own business. Buy it now from Amazon or Burns & Noble.

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