I attended the Franchise Business Network (FBN) annual event in Denver last month. FBN is a very active regional program initiated by the International Franchise Association (IFA) that brings franchisors, franchisees and franchise vendors together to collaborate and share ideas and resources.
One of the main event topics was franchise business coaching. A panel of three experienced franchise coaches gave a detailed presentation on their respective coaching styles and gave case study examples.
Executive-level coaching is becoming more common in the franchise industry due to a few realities that I featured in Franchise Bible 8th Edition, including the following:
Franchisors are starting a whole new business.
This is an important factor that many franchisors underestimate when they start out. Some believe that they can “try franchising” or add it on as a side business, which is a very bad idea. Franchising successfully takes a serious commitment and focus. I often tell my customers that going from a local unit operator to a franchisor, is like going from a landscaper to a lobster fisherman. In other words, it is a whole new business.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Most franchisors start out without a roadmap to follow. This leaves many searching for direction and resources. Unlike most other industries, franchising doesn’t have a trade school or college degree.
There is “Big League” competition.
Many new franchisors are surprised once they enter the competitive franchise marketplace. They go from marketing their local business to competing with large national if not global brands. These brands have huge advantages including consumer awareness and trust, large marketing budgets and experienced development teams, just to name a few. The good news is they all had to start out the same way and the innovative new franchisors can certainly win their fair share of the franchise buyers if they play their cards right.
Experienced franchise business coaches can help you overcome the challenges, navigate the waters and thrive. One of my clients said it best when he said, “I am already really good at what I do, but you make me even better.” Every great athlete has a great coach, so don’t be afraid to find yours.
Here are some tips to consider when hiring a franchise business coach:
1. Make sure you are “coachable.”
The best advice in the world in worthless if not applied, so this is the first self-evaluation to consider. This goes for your team members as well if your coach will be working with them. Think of the great athletes that benefit from their coaches fine-tuning their skills to get better. The X factor is the willingness of the athlete to follow the direction of the coach.
2. Don’t hire a “yes man” (or woman).
A coach who always agrees with you can be at best ineffective and at worst dangerous. The main benefit of a coach is the honest and sometimes hard to hear reflection and advice.
3. Make sure your coach has a system.
A good coach will bring many benefits to your company including vast industry experience, real world track record and a plan or roadmap to follow. A coach is more than a counselor who listens and throws out nuggets of wisdom. Great coaches have great game plans to serve as the foundation of the coaching.
4. Be sure you have a system to measure progress.
One of the benefits of a coaching relationship is reflecting on what is working, what is not working and what can be improved. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, revenue and other units of measurement should be part and parcel with your coaches’ game plan.
5. Commit for the long-haul.
“Implement, measure and adjust” is the foundation of a strong business growth strategy. Even the best strategies will take some time to show results especially if there is a course correction that needs time to take hold on a system wide basis.