We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of ‘Franchisee Business Planning’ and helping enlightened franchisors properly embed Franchisee Business Planning systems and processes within their networks. Our work here invariably involves a mixture of business and financial analysis, consulting, tool development, training and education, and in some instances changes to the commercial structure of the franchise system.
Yet while more and more franchisors embrace Franchisee Business Planning, precious few established franchisors conduct what we would regard as meaningful ongoing Franchisor Business Planning. And by meaningful, we mean a level of Franchisor Business Planning that really is needed and both practical and beneficial to the business. Moreover, we’re talking here about a level of business planning that is not only critical for the franchise system, but will also yield a positive return on effort (a factor many franchisors seem to doubt).
Why is franchisor planning important?
There are many reasons. In our Managing a Franchise System training for established franchisors, we use the following as examples:
- To identify challenging, yet realistic objectives. This is more complicated than many think, because there are many unique dimensions of objectives a franchisor [as compared to other forms of business] can and should consider. Notwithstanding, clear objectives are crucial as without them it is difficult to set meaningful priorities and actions, and demonstrate a clear vision and purpose to franchisees.
- To organise business activities. A franchisor has many unique and critical business processes or business activities that need to be understood, planned and continually optimised.
- To focus available resources. This is important as a franchisor always has much more that could be done than practically can be done, pretty much regardless of the level of available resources.
- As a basis for comparison. Basic bench-marking stuff, really. If you don’t have a formal plan with formal goals, how can you compare actual to expected performance now – or overtime?
- Determine expectations for franchisees. I consider this one of the most important reasons for Franchisor Business Planning in the first place. After all, if you don’t know what you want / need from franchisees how can you align their plans and efforts with yours? This can be general or very specific. But bottom-line, it is one of the most overlooked areas and outputs of a Franchisor Business Plan.
- To plan and prepare for required changes. Again, this is a big one. Managing change in a franchise system is far more complicated and restrictive than it is for company-owned units. Consequently, time planning for future changes is critical – so that appropriate change management strategies can be prepared and implemented.
Franchisor Business Planning is a critical franchisor responsibility. In our view a franchisor has an important responsibility to plan and enact active steps to optimise the franchise system over the period of the longest allocated franchise term. Thus, if some franchisees still have 10 years to run, a franchisor needs to be thinking about that time frame as a minimum.
Franchize Consultants offers support to serious franchisors looking to develop comprehensive Franchisor Business Plans for their business. For more information on what a comprehensive plan should cover and what we can do – feel free to make contact.