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If you ask 10 sales people from the same franchise what defines a high-quality franchisee candidate, you’ll get 10 different answers!
I am a 35-year veteran of the franchising industry and have spent over 15 years creating and refining a tool and process that transforms franchisee recruitment and training into a predictable science. Franchise Navigator©, is the first and only market-validated profiling system that measures the potential of franchisee prospects – helping companies optimize recruitment, selection and individual performance.
We began the research process for Franchise Navigator back in 1980's as we organized a group of industrial, clinical, organizational and behavioral psychologists. Together, we evaluated different types of personality tests and tools. What we discovered was although the tools were effective in recruiting employees, they were not effective in recruiting business and franchise owners.
In looking for a franchisee, it’s not about personality -- it’s about the right skill set and value system. We wanted to create a profiling system that would tell us whether or not a candidate had the appropriate skills to run a business. “You can have a superior business model, but if it’s not the right person running the business, it could fail.”
After several more years of additional research and analysis, the latest version of Franchise Navigator was launched in 1996. During this time, we have aided hundreds of companies in maximizing their profits while recruiting the right franchisees. In 2005, we were ready to take it to the next level and transformed Franchise Navigator to an online Web-based tool that existing franchisors could benefit from.
Franchise Navigator differs from everything else on the market, because it analyzes and benchmarks the existing franchisees in a company. Each individual owner completes an online survey, which takes approximately six minutes to eight minutes to complete. From there, independent statisticians compare individual survey information with the franchisee’s unit performance, operational compliance and speed to marketplace (if it’s a multi-unit operator). Combining this information, Franchise Navigator is able to specify what traits are most valuable in a successful franchisee for that particular franchise. Franchise Navigator is so efficient and accurate in targeting the high performers that many companies have even hired us to also create their recruitment tools and campaigns that use specific words, colors and toneality to attract certain profiles. And, we have now surveyed almost 17,000 current and prospective business and franchise owners and have a wonderful insight into which profiles perform better in which business models..
Since 1996, Franchise Navigator has benchmarked and created High Performer Profiles for over 100 brands ranging from Kentucky Fried Chicken to Puroclean to Sears Hometown Stores. At Sears, I worked closely with Steve Titus, who served as the company’s vice president and general manager. Titus says the Navigator increased unit revenue by 35 percent in just 18 months, with average ticket prices growing by $75. Additionally, store failure rates went from approximately 10 percent to less than 6.5 percent. This was because thei right people were now runiing the business. The company was able to successfully open between 100 and 125 new locations each year and now has almost 1,000 stores.
“We had 180 existing store owners take the survey, which helped us create a basis for what it takes to be a successful Sear’s owner. Because of Franchise Navigator, we had much happier owners and an extremely profitable business. I have so much trust in Franchise Navigator that I became a share holder in November 2009,” said Titus.
Franchise Navigator will decrease failed locations and improve individual unit performance. We have also changed the way many franchisors operate, at the franchisor level, by better understanding the needs of their franchisees, which includes training issues above and beyond running the business model.
Additionally, we have now launched ConnectMe© – our latest addition to the profiling process which is for the potential candidate who is seeking the right business. For $29.95, anyone can take the Navigator survey and ConnectMe will match him or her to the High Performer Profiles of our clients’ owners. The system further sorts them, automatically, by geographic preference and liquid capital to create the only Proven Match in franchising.
It’s inventive because we are matching people to people. We wanted to create an environment where people could connect and share information about the buying process so we developed Franchise Central that also houses ConnectMe. It is a business and social networking site that connects individuals to his or her best suited franchise. We also have many related specialists adding valuable educational information for prospective owners.
Next up is to connect Franchisee Satisfaction to the Franchise Navigator profiles so a franchisor can better understand what satisfaction means and to whom. I honestly believe the Human Capital part of growing a business is what will make or break a franchise. That goes for both the Franchisor and the Franchisees.