An important part of running a successful franchise system is keeping your franchise owners actively engaged in the direction and development of the company. It is crucial to establish a frequent and consistent line of communication with franchisees to keep them informed about what is happening throughout the system.
One way to do this is through the creation of a franchisee advisory board. This group is comprised of franchisees throughout the system who regularly meet and discuss their successes, failures, best practices and what is needed to improve business.
Every franchisor should recognize that they’re only as strong as their franchisees. Yes, the business model and brand are important. They’re why franchisees are attracted to a franchise, after all. The franchise has a system that works and a brand people trust, and it makes it easier to own a business with both of those ingredients. Still, a franchise system is a system – and if franchise owners disappeared, the system wouldn’t be worth much.
Having a franchisee advisory board can also be very beneficial for the franchisor as well. As the franchise grows, those in operations do not have as much direct contact with the customers and their needs. The franchisees are on the front line interacting with the customers and getting feedback on what has been successful and what needs improving. Establishing a franchisee advisory board is a way to keep a finger on the pulse of an evolving customer base.
If you are investing life savings into buying a franchise, you will want to be sure to pick one where you feel valued and provide feedback. Whether that comes from you or another nearby franchise owner, it is important the company has a franchisee advisory board.
Here are some details about the board, how it works and the value to franchise owners:
A franchisee advisory board. In many franchises, an advisory board is often made of members representing a certain geographic region and are responsible for gathering feedback from franchisees in that area. These franchisees should be actively involved in the business and advocate on behalf of their area, not just their own interests. Advisory board members often serve two or three-year terms, although that may vary by franchise.
These meetings can be extremely valuable in getting input from the franchisee when the company is planning on testing new processes or products. They know the system and what may or may not work and can help validate the plan. A good franchise system asks their owners for their advice and wants to hear what is on their minds.
How our franchisee advisory board works. Every year, eight owners are elected by their fellow franchisees to represent their views and opinions, and we meet with them on a quarterly basis at our corporate office in Midlothian, Illinois. During the meetings, we talk about everything and anything of concern to the various brands in the Moran system. That might be discussions on what is happening with the economy, changes with auto industry regulations, new initiatives that the company is doing to bring in more women and diversity into the franchise – you name it, we probably often are covering it.
Communication is a vital part of a franchisee advisory board. In addition to the board meetings, we also hold regional meetings and conventions which gives the chance to meet and interact with more of our franchisees directly. These are excellent opportunities for our people to meet, network, receive updates and offer feedback that can only help everyone else throughout the system. Along with sharing ideas and communicating our thoughts, we also do a lot of listening. We learn a great deal about the day-to-day business concerns of our franchisees, so we can improve the system for everyone. No detail is too small. We want to hear it all.
Franchisees want to be heard and know their opinions matter. Having an established forum for communication of concerns or ideas and making sure franchisees are staying profitable are essential to a strong franchisor-franchisee relationship.
A franchise can always be improved, and it’s often the people on the front lines who know how to do it. Sure, sometimes we come up with ideas because we can see the big picture, but just as often, the franchise owners are the ones who suggest the tweaks that advance the system. It is a partnership, and our franchisee advisory board is a big part of why things we have been so successful.