After months of planning, training, introductions and onboarding, the big day is finally here: It’s the birthday week of a brand new franchise, and everyone is excited. Grand openings represent major beginnings for entrepreneurial franchisees and the brand as a whole; and like any significant milestone, they’re a benchmark well worth celebrating.
But, once the last balloon has popped and franchisees have settled into the "new normal" of running their business' day-to-day operations, how does a successful brand continue to motivate and inspire them? Here are five tips.
1. Emphasize the key stages of business growth.
No matter how prepared a franchisee is for life as a business owner, the daily grind of managing a business can bog anyone down. Franchising is about having long-term relationships with a brand; and every relationship built for the long haul is going to have natural stages that include highs, dips and milestones.
The grand opening is kind of like the wedding, but what matters most is how the franchisee approaches the daily grind after the party is over. It’s helpful to remind franchisees that growth comes in stages, not leaps, and that growth is ultimately achieved by plugging away at the basics every day.
2. Break tasks down into daily goals.
To be successful, every franchisee should have goals that always come first -- and should emphasize those goals above all else. It’s easy to get sucked into the drama of minor minutiae, but what actually matters is driving membership and meeting minimum goals, so bills can get paid.
Reaching basic goals on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis gets franchisees into a pattern of organization and long-term planning that sets them up to successfully reach the next big milestone.
It’s easy to obsess over a paint color, the need to clean the windows, a computer crash or other little task or upset that seems important (and distracting) on any given day. However, the ultimate task is management of sales, attrition and ongoing customer service.
So, franchisees need first to recognize issues and deal with issues that may get in the way. A goal of signing on a certain number of new members probably isn’t concrete enough, but if that mainline goal is best broken down into daily and weekly tasks that come before everything else, it’s easier to focus on what’s important.
3. If goals aren’t being met, get to the root of the problem.
If franchisees are consistently letting their goals pass them by, it’s time for an earnest chat about what’s really going on. Franchisees are sometimes distracted by tasks that overshadow the more important sales activities, but the root issue may be something else. Every franchisee has different strengths, so if one of the key sales initiatives doesn’t mesh with his or her natural abilities, discomfort may be the issue.
For example, some franchisees are scared to make outbound sales calls, but doing so is essential for generating new customers and forming key local partnerships. If a franchisee has just such an Achilles heel when it comes to meeting goals, pay attention: Just one obstacle could end up being the end of the business.
4. Help franchisees form good habits.
The best way to master a new series of goals is to break them down into daily tasks. When franchisees get into good daily habits, the work becomes more streamlined and easy to get through; and any discomfort with certain responsibilities begins to melt away, with practice.
When milestones are broken down into smaller and smaller actions, people feel comfortable. If cold calls are terrifying, for example, regional developers might try coaching a franchisee to start with three a day, then work up to however many need to happen to make sales appointments.
5. Don't accept excuses.
If your franchise model works and has been proven with other locations, there’s no excuse for not getting things done. “No excuses” may sound like a tough love phrase, but it’s ultimately the philosophy every franchisee has to take on.
It’s every franchisee’s job to stomp out personal procrastination, put essential daily tasks first and manage his or her time with a daily schedule and task time limits. Prioritizing core goals is a choice that every franchisee has to make. The rest just isn’t relevant.
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