Keeping in touch with your franchisees …
Without a doubt, one of the most crucial elements of a successful franchise network is regular communication with its franchisees, whether that’s regarding the everyday management of the business, training and ongoing support, or just relevant news …
These days, however, there is a common tendency for franchisors to rely on email and online communications and forgo face-to-face contact.
“This approach is a mistake as it can depersonalise the franchise and demotivate your franchisees!”
Never forget that they made the decision to invest in your business, not only because of the rapport you established with them, but also because they wanted to feel part of your business family.
A good franchisor will regularly use a variety of communication methods, rather than just using the occasional email, and appreciate that business relationships are built on consistent, two-way dialogue and direct contact.
Given that franchisees are often in several different parts of the country, the Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the ideal opportunity for the franchise network to maintain a dialogue with its franchisees and continue to enjoy positive, working relationships.
Here are my top, five tips for planning your AGM:
Don’t try to cram in too much information
A franchisor will typically utilise the AGM to review the past year’s progress, discuss plans for the future and address any issues currently affecting the business and its sector, but it should not be limited to that.
The AGM is a fantastic opportunity for team building and collaboration, so ensure you make this a priority and don’t bombard your franchisees with too much information!
Take care in choosing the right venue
When choosing a venue for your AGM, it’s important that you not only select a central and convenient location, but also make sure that the space is flexible and enables you to plan other activities, such as breakout and team-building sessions.
Include relevant and interesting speakers and sessions
It’s worth bearing in mind that the formal business of the AGM doesn’t have to be the only thing that happens at the event. Speakers and sessions can make the event much more appealing, so try to invite speakers who can share their knowledge on relevant topics, such as marketing and social media, then arrange training sessions on these topics.
Psychometric assessment sessions are always useful to help franchisees determine their style of leadership and how they will cope under pressure.
Don’t forget to recognise your franchisees’ hard work
It’s also important to include recognition and rewards during your AGM so that your franchisees know you appreciate their efforts, rather than getting too caught up with business plans and targets.
An internal awards ceremony is a great way to help with this and will not only recognise your franchisees’ achievements but also help to reinforce your own business values.
Enjoy your time with your franchisees
Your AGM provides you all with a unique opportunity to have fun, unwind and get to know each other better. If you build dinner, drinks and lots of social time into the programme, everyone will feel more like part of your family. They will feel more relaxed and comfortable and, therefore, enjoy their time together.
Most importantly, social time will encourage collaboration across the franchise network, so make sure you find out what your franchisees enjoy doing and organise some fun activities too!
The Approved Franchise Association is here to support and advise our members whenever they need. Want to plan your AGM but don’t know where to start? Call us on 0208 088 2400 or click here to send us an email enquiry as we’d love to help you.
Until next time …
Why not visit www.theafa.org.uk and find out more?