Field Management Programme requires strong foundations to succeed. A franchise company’s field visit programme can have a dramatic impact on franchisee and franchisor performance and value. Based on our experience working with established franchise companies seeking improvement, and training attendees for our specialist field visit workshops, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to field visits. By Dr Callum Floyd.
We present 5 fundamentals for a Field Management Programme
1. Establish and formalise a base frequency and duration for visits. A planned approach is needed. Too often we see franchise companies vary their visit schedule and duration in response to seemingly more-current, pressing issues. Variance in the number of visits and duration, whether by year or location impacts franchisee satisfaction and reduces the potential gains obtainable from a well-planned field visit cycle and presence. Even if a franchisor only visits franchisees once or twice per year and for one day, they should let them know they can expect this as a baseline – and deliver on it.
2. Focus primary visits on improving franchisee profit. Many franchisees do not value visits from their franchisor. A key reason for that sentiment, we believe, is not framing the visit on something that really matters and is incredibly relevant to a franchisee: Profit. Given profit improvements are typically the outcome of improved management, a profit focus provides a legitimate basis for many suggested improvements.
Too often we find franchisors do not keeping abreast of the financial performance of their franchisees. This situation removes many of the potential levers for, and benefits of, successful franchising in the first place.
3. Franchisees must work to an approved business plan. There are many reasons why this is crucial to the franchisor and franchisee alike (we’ll outline these in another top 5 article). But bottom-line, to a franchisor, a franchisee business plan provides the basis for performance development and management. No approved plan leads to the equivalent of “Jelly Wrestling” on field visits.
4. The field visit needs a structured and agreed agenda in advance. A cup of coffee can occur on the visit but it should never be the purpose! A structured agenda means the visit can take the business forward and return results on the time and investment associated with conducting it. A structured agenda in advance means that both parties can prepare. An agreed agenda involves both parties having input. That helps the agenda to be relevant to both franchisor and franchisee.
5. The field visit process must complete with a formalised output. Field visits are too expensive for their not to be a valuable outcome. The output of a field visit should encompass a completed and agreed Action Plan, as a minimum. An Action Plan and Written Report is recommended.
Field Management Programme Conclusion
These are just five basic fundamentals relating to a field visit programme. There are many others that are also crucial; not least, a Field Manager Toolbox.
The potential impact of field visit programmes cannot be overstated. They play a crucial role in building and maintaining the franchise relationship, franchisee satisfaction levels, and driving franchisee and franchisor performance. Field visits are expensive to conduct, so they’re worth doing right… all the time.
They play an import role in building and maintaining the franchise relationship, franchisee satisfaction levels, and driving franchisee and franchisor performance. Field visits are expensive to conduct, so they’re worth doing right.
For more information on field visits contact Franchise Consultants. You may also consider attending one of our two training programs specifically focused on improving field visit outcomes: