Part of the joy of running a franchise is that you do not have to start from the ground up. Instead, you have a reliable business model and recognized brand name to work with from the start, which can help set you on the path to success. As a result of this, it is hardly surprising that Australia currently has 1,100 franchisors and 65,000 active franchise units – with the number growing steadily each year.
However, in order to survive in the current climate, franchise businesses must stay agile and find ways to adapt.
Why is it important for franchise businesses to stay agile?
In the business world, agility is the key to success.
It means being able to adapt to changes as and when they present themselves, as opposed to scrambling for a solution at the last minute. It means developing a better understanding of your customers and the consumer market as a whole.
Above all, it means extending the longevity of your business and standing out from your competitors.
In short, it’s important for businesses to stay agile as the business world is a notoriously competitive one. Failing to stay ahead of the curve means that you’ll fall behind your competitors and may struggle to stay afloat.
How can franchise businesses stay agile?
The key to staying agile as a franchise business owner is adapting to change quickly and efficiently. While you may have grown accustomed to certain styles of working, customer acquisition, or marketing, it’s important to remember that they aren’t set in stone.
That is, a practice that serves you well at one stage will not always bring in the same results. With that in mind, here are some ways in which franchise businesses can remain agile by adapting to change.
Rely on customer feedback.
Gaining genuine feedback from your customers is one of the easiest ways to pivot your brand toward success, as it can draw your attention toward any mistakes you may be making. It also means that you can continue to make customer satisfaction a priority, which, in turn, fosters loyalty and repeat custom.
There are many different ways in which you can gather customer feedback, including:
- Customer focus groups
- Customer feedback forms/surveys
- Social media polls
- Social media direct messages
- Phone/email communication
In some cases, you may also want to complete a detailed analysis of your target audience to ensure that you’re tailoring your services to this demographic.
Build your social media presence.
Many businesses have enjoyed a significant revenue increase or ROI when investing in their social media presence. This is unsurprising as more and more customers turn to social media to discover new brands and products. In fact, a recent study found that “76 of social media users buy products they come across online”, a figure that is only likely to grow over the next few years. Some consumers even prefer to shop through social media as opposed to visiting a brand’s actual website or sales page.
However, before you begin to post on your chosen social media channels, you should familiarize yourself with your franchise’s social media policy, as there may be certain rules you need to follow when curating content. For example, you may need to use certain stock images, colours, and fonts or emulate a specific tone of voice.
When posting on social media, ensure you are doing so consistently. This will help you to build up a steady stream of followers and conversions. However, you should also be sure not to flood their feed with multiple posts a day, as this could cause them to hit the unfollow button. Between 5-6 posts a week is usually a good bet.
Recruit the best staff.
Building a team of innovative or outside-of-the-box thinkers can also help to ensure your business remains as agile as possible. After all, this means that you’ll always find a solution to your problem and that fresh perspectives are offered throughout the day-to-day running of your business.
To achieve this goal, you may need to spend some time improving your recruitment methods. For example, you must write informative and engaging job descriptions in order to appeal to your industry’s top talent. Be sure to go into detail about what the role will entail and your company culture. Given that over 85% of candidates are reluctant to apply for roles where salaries are not disclosed ahead of time, you should also discuss salary ranges in your initial listing. By doing so, you can increase the number of applications you receive.
You should also offer an attractive benefits package or career progression opportunities to your team. This can help with both recruitment and retention.
Offer consistent training.
Trying to remain agile as a franchise owner means that you’ll likely have to shake up some of your day-to-day practices. For example, you may invest in automation technology to speed up response times to customer emails and free up time for your staff to dedicate to other tasks. However, this new tech is useless if your team doesn’t know how to use it effectively.
As such, each time you introduce new technology and software or make a change to how you’d like your team to work, ensure everyone is informed and given training when necessary. This will also serve to increase employee satisfaction, as they are developing new skills that will enhance their resume or improve their employability.
In addition to tech-specific training, you may also want to offer in-house development training, such as shadowing or mentorship schemes. This ensures that your team grows from strength to strength and can also improve teamwork and communication. – both of which are integral to your growth.
Study your market.
No matter what industry your franchise falls into, be it food service or clothing, you need to maintain an excellent understanding of the market in order to remain competitive.
This can seem easier said than done if the market is constantly changing, but there are certain strategies you can use to further your insight. This includes:
- Reading industry-relevant studies, newsletters, and reports
- Attending industry events and panels
- Connecting with other industry leaders (online and in-person)
- Engaging in further study
- Gathering customer feedback
- Reading more general consumer studies and reports
Get advice from other franchise leaders.
Asking other franchise leaders or owners for advice can also come in handy. After all, it could be that they’ve modernised or adapted certain outdated practices that you’re still relying on, and this switch can make all the difference when it comes to growing your business.
When running a franchise, it’s easy to focus on what lies ahead. For example, you may celebrate reaching one sales milestone by setting yourself another. While this can help to boost your profits and revenue, it’s not always the most useful tactic. Sometimes, you must look back in order to move forward.
That is, you should study your performance each quarter to identify any mistakes you’ve made or areas where your performance could improve. For example, a few weeks of bad sales could mean you’re reaching sales milestones far later than expected, and being able to identify the reasoning behind this can make a real difference moving forward.
There are many different forms of metrics and data you should study when trying to grow your business, not merely sales. For example, you should also assess the effectiveness of your marketing trends and campaigns to ascertain whether or not the money you spend on them is bringing positive results.
Tap into marketing trends.
Marketing campaigns can last over the span of several months, but it’s one area of your business that must adapt the most consistently. After all, it’s important that you’re able to capitalise upon the latest marketing trends before they lose their effectiveness.
For example, there’s little use in using a “trending” sound on TikTok or Instagram weeks after it’s trending, as this means your post will fail to gain the right kind of traction. Conversely, businesses whose finger remains on the pulse of social media trends are able to grow their following and obtain conversions through their marketing campaigns.
If this is something you struggle with, you may want to consider hiring a social media manager. This way, you can rest easy knowing that your socials are being handled by an expert who knows exactly how to reach your audience. That way you will know the growing trends in franchising.
Get some extra help.
If you’re struggling to determine what your next step should be or feel as though your franchise is underperforming, there’s no shame in outsourcing some extra help. After all, sometimes, the only thing needed is a fresh perspective.
At Franchise Simply, we’ve helped countless franchises better their standing by updating their systems and leveraging growth. We’re on hand to assist with a range of tasks, including the creation of operations manuals that your team can use to improve their performance.
If you’d like to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.