5 Key Management Principles for Franchising

In the February 2012 issue of Franchising World, I touch on some key management principles that helped me to lay a solid foundation for managing the day-to-day so I could keep my eye on the our strategy for growth. As you begin planning on growth from 10 franchisees to 50 franchisees and beyond, more time needs to be spent on the business, and I propose that, by mobilizing and inspiring your team, you can get there.
  1. Live your vision. As a franchisor, you must develop a new set of skills to influence your team – both franchisees and employees. Your franchisees and your employees need to have confidence in you as the leader of your business; they need to know that you know where the business is capable of going and how to get there. One of the important lessons I’ve learned is that setting the vision for the organization and doing so as a group allows everyone to be driving to the same goals; no one is waiting around for the boss to tell her what to do next. The path has been set and the team has been empowered to deliver the needed results. But what does it mean to live your vision? Having a vision in and of itself is not effective; this driving force must permeate everything that you do. From the perspective of your franchisees, they are not employees, they are investing rather than being guaranteed a salary, so they must have confidence in your leadership, and they must believe that following the model is the fastest, best path to success. Franchisees will not follow blindly, they need vision. The larger your business gets, the more time you must spend away from the daily details and on the big picture. Your time must be allocated intentionally to strategic thinking and looking outside the organization for the threats to and opportunities for your business and your industry. From an employee perspective, living your vision means establishing clear goals; and, once I had this, the organization knew collectively where we were, where we were going, and what needed to be done to get there, and I was able to get out of the middle.
  2. Hire for the future. I learned the hard way over the past five years that hiring good people to fill an immediate need rather than hiring for what I needed to meet my goals in the following two years was cheaper but was also an inhibitor to growth. Once I began building job descriptions for the job that I needed two years out, and hired for that, the pieces the organization needed to grow began to fall into place. But we weren’t looking for just anybody to fill those key positions. It is so important to not only recruit talent that truly fits the culture and personifies your vision, but also be deliberate about how to retain exceptional talent. And as the leader, you always have to be recruiting. Once you know what positions you will need in the future, it is important to place yourself in situations to meet the people you may want to hire. Consider what events these candidates attend and the online groups they are members of. Find a way to spend time among the pool of potential candidates in their circles and empower members of your team to become recruiters of the talent that you need for future growth.
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