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My belief system, developed after over 35 years in franchising and being a franchisor 5 times and a consultant to hundreds of companies, is there are fundamental issues to franchising that drive success or failure.
The most critical fundamental issue is how both Psychology and Sociology affect a franchise system.
The first deals with understanding the right profile of individual (Psychology) best suited to operate or execute a particular business model. It doesn't matter if it is retail, food service or a home-based cleaning service. If a company doesn't scientifically understand the inner workings of their High Performers they are destined to recruit a myriad of different types of people and it is a crap shot as to whether they will be successful or not. At that point all of the franchise relationship building exercises are a mute point because a company is trying to service,support and maneuver a "round peg into a square hole." That will never work and those are words I quote from the head of one of the largest organizations in the world as we displayed to them who they should be seeking versus who they had been attracting. In fact, we were successful in increasing their average unit sales 38% withing the first 2 years after deploying our recommendations.
Further complicating this issue is that companies attempt to create training and support systems that may work with some and may not work with other people. There is no such thing as a "one-size-fits-all" solution in franchising. Satisfaction for one profile is very different than satisfaction for another.
For instance, we have found, using Franchise Navigator, that certain profiles are driven by a value system of their need for safety and security and they don't really care about the bottom line as long as enough comes in to satisfy their overhead and family; whereas other profiles are motivated by the "prestige" of owning a particular franchise but lack the skills to perform at the unit level and others are motivated by building "empires" and are great leaders and motivators of people and are very "bottom-line" driven.
The second part of this is how these people/individuals/franchise operators function as a group. Each franchise company has its own particular culture, environment and society. How people fit in or don't fit in (Sociology) is also critical. I have personally witnessed how great individuals feel like "outcasts" within a franchise system because they don't fit in while others tend to dominate groups and the franchisor while even others are complacent and are very obedient to the franchisor's system. Interestingly, we have found that the complacent ones are not the High Performing operators but are wonderful brand ambassadors. Which would a company prefer and how do they develop a culture that works today and is positioned for success in the future?
Franchising is a very complex business model that involves both the Psychology of understanding human nature and what motivates a franchisee to the Sociological part of whether they will fit in or stand out in their particular group or society.
As I have said, for well over 30 years, and people who know me know this, that the "very things that cause success or failure in franchising . . . has nothing at all to do with franchising."
Do you agree?