Providing Emotional Support to Distressed Franchisees
|The journey of franchise ownership can be a roller-coaster of emotions, with franchisees often experiencing highs and lows throughout the process. FRI’s Greg Nathan explores this emotional journey in his model ‘The Franchise E-Factor’, which investigates how satisfied franchisees are at each stage of their business Journey. However unexpected circumstances such as the current COVID-19 pandemic can cause distress for franchisees no matter what phase of their journey they are in.
Research shows that franchisees who feel supported are stronger, and this is important in a time where their business could be struggling. The feeling of support from their field manager and wider franchisor team resulted in more proactive, passionate, and successful franchisees. Although due to current restrictions it can be difficult for the franchisor team to help their network in the ways they usually would. So, how can those on the franchisor team help franchisee that require emotional support?
Firstly, during virtual field visits and phone catch ups, team members should be keeping an eye out for signs of stress or upset in their franchisees. Further, behavior such as increased contact with field managers or a detachment from franchisor staff can indicate that a franchisee is struggling in some way. If this is the case, field managers should engage with the franchisees support network to ensure that they are aware of the current situation and can provide support outside of the workplace.
There are other steps that field managers can take to help their franchisees through this difficult time. Assisting with business matters that may be adding further stress can be a helpful process. This could encompass a range of things from action plans and LAM through to help managing their financial commitments.
As many franchisees have had to drastically change their day-to-day processes in the wake of COVID-19, this could mean taking the time to ensure franchisees understand how the current restriction apply to their business. Assisting in the creation of an action plan to implement changes in accordance with these guidelines provides franchisees with a useful tool to refer to. Further, creating a plan for re-opening their business back to normal operation can help provide peace of mind and create an element of certainty for franchisees who may be feeling lost.
If franchisees are experiencing a dip in business, developing strategies to improve sales and reduce expenses can help ease some of the financial pressure. This could mean providing oversight on Local Area Marketing initiatives, it could also mean an evaluation of a franchisees financial commitments to see where costs could be mitigated, or payments could be placed on hold during a time of distress.
No matter what stage of the franchising journey they are at, having a strong network and emotional support can make or break a franchisee’s business. Taking the steps to ensure that that support is present, especially during this difficult time, will strengthen the resolve of each individual partner and the network as a whole.