Never underestimate the power of frachisee engagement. Whether you throw an annual conference or send out a survey, it’s imperative for franchise businesses to engage with their franchisees in some shape or form. Franchisees are the backbone of the business, providing (hopefully) excellent service/products to local areas and territories and interacting with consumers on a day-to-day basis. This leads to a valuable understanding of the needs of consumers as well as being able to recognise gaps and opportunities within the business.
Many franchises offer annual meetings and conferences as a way of strategising, building relationships and aligning business goals with their franchisees. Julie Clabby, franchisor of Busylizzy, a club that offers pregnancy and postnatal fitness sessions for both mothers and babies, understands the importance of franchisee engagement. This is why she holds regular forums in which the franchisees are invited to attend and discuss aspects of their business. Julie says: “We hold quarterly forums where we invite the Busylizzy network to come together and discuss one element of the business that we feel either has an opportunity to improve or become more efficient. It’s a great chance for the franchise owners to meet and catch up about the daily ups and downs of running a business, as well as being part of its future.”
It’s a great chance for the franchisees to have creative input into the business, contribute ideas, give feedback and be heard from by the rest of the network, as well as the franchisor. Julie recognises the success that has come out of the forums, with franchisee suggestions helping the business grow. “In 2018, our franchise owner spring forum resulted in us exploring and developing a 1st birthday service for our members – we recognised that 70% of our clients have a baby under 12 months of age and we wanted to offer additional services. This has resulted in a new revenue stream for the franchise owners, more work for their team and a fabulous party service for Busylizzy members. Likewise, in 2017 our franchise owner forum resulted in the launch of a new pregnancy range of classes at Busylizzy. ‘Mums to Bee’ pregnancy fitness classes now run across the whole network and have increased the average engagement of a Busylizzy member by seven months. It’s been a huge success!”
Having the support of a network that wishes to see the business strengthen, evolve and have an edge on the competition is a resource that should be fully taken advantage of. The aim of engaging the network is for everyone to benefit and be a part of the future. This will improve franchisee satisfaction, and a happy network is a thriving network, so what do you do that provides a listening and engaging space for franchisees? It’s important to think about the various ways to gain insight into your business, whether that be engaging in PR, with franchisees or attending events, you should take it seriously, so ask yourself, what do you do that engages your business and could you do more?