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Fostering innovation

As a franchisor you have to pilot [changes], that’s partly what franchisees are buying into – a tried and tested system Chris Allison, Auditel

[discussed] at quarterly team meetings held in six locations to reduce travel for our [franchisees],” he adds. However, not all ideas or changes conjured up by franchisees must be taken as a godsend if they don’t improve the brand. But by evaluating suggestions and taking the time to give critiques, franchisees will learn how to influence the network’s future. “If there are ideas that don’t work, we openly explain the reasons why,” Glover reasons. “This is so franchisees can understand that, as a franchisor, we will always embrace good ideas and reference why a certain idea just isn’t feasible.” Although, no matter how much discussion franchisors encourage, it’s a given franchisees won’t like everything. But it’s far easier when they at least know what they’re talking about and franchisors have a responsibility to ensure they do. “With any new innovation there is an element of education required for the franchisor and subsequently their franchisees,” says Kelly. That includes providing consistent training so everyone's on the same wavelength about upcoming adjustments. “Ensuring that there is adequate training for all is essential not only to drive adoption but also to ensure [everyone] is benefitting from the new change [or] innovation.” Indeed,

franchisees may be putting their foot down for the wrong reasons, so clear explanation can help prevent any unnecessary friction. And there’s no better way to win people over than through examples. “Without exception we pilot everything,” Allison says. “As a franchisor you have to pilot [changes], that’s partly what franchisees are buying into – a tried and tested system.” Certainly, trialling initiatives exposes faulty ideas and saves time and money from mass producing them network-wide. But above all, it provides a case study franchisees can tangibly understand and get on board with. “We develop a business solution, roll it out to a client and then we’ve got a case study we can then present to our franchisees and consultants,” he continues. The proof is in the pudding as some of the concepts created are showcased at workshops and regional meetings. With all this in mind, it’s easy to forge delusions of grandeur about the next big thing for your network. But radically changing your image, product or service for the sake of transformation alone can destroy what made the franchise great in the first place. “Our model is over 30 years old and it works,” Kelly concludes. “We understand that business models need to evolve to stay fresh but we wouldn’t necessarily deviate too far from the original proven model unless it made complete commercial sense for all involved.” It’s therefore crucial to identify reasons for innovation before rolling it out – not the other way round. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.

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Elite Franchise December 2018  
Elite Franchise December 2018