Think back to when you opened your own business. That first location was a labour of love. You sweated over every decision, large and small: products, pricing, suppliers, decor, equipment… You took on a huge risk in launching your own business and nothing happened without your careful consideration.
Within a few years you were successful enough that you started to think about expansion. And that’s when someone whispered the magic word in your ear: “franchising”. Why franchising? It allows you to expand quickly without shouldering the debt and risk. But when franchisees are the ones carrying the financial burden, they want to ensure their investment will pay off. Ideally, they want a say in the decision-making, or at the very least they need to trust that the decisions are being made by a team of qualified professionals.
But you’ve always made all the decisions, and it’s worked so far. Why change? When all of the decisions flow through you, you create a bottleneck and nothing happens quickly. But more importantly, you don’t necessarily have the time or expertise to make effective decisions on every aspect of your growing business.
In your early days, you may have enjoyed designing your own advertising or choosing the colour of your wall paint, but now those tasks are simply distractions from the real work you should be doing. When franchisees see the CEO involved in every minute decision, they will quickly lose trust that they are part of a well-managed organization.
This is when you need to let go of your entrepreneur mindset and relinquish control.
One common solution is to engage your franchisees, share your plans, and solicit their input. But here’s where the danger lies: like you, franchisees are entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily have the expertise to make effective decisions on every area of the business. If you give your franchisees decision-making power you likely won’t get the business results you need.
Make sure you hire qualified professionals in each key area of your business – from franchising to operations – and empower them to do their jobs. This isn’t an issue that’s exclusive to franchising. Regardless of the industry, great leaders know how to delegate. When your franchisees see a management team that is skilled, efficient and effective – and more importantly, when they see the financial results – they’ll recognize that their future is in good hands and you’ll gain their lasting trust.