Walking into a messy business can be a nightmare, and that is what Steve White faced when he joined PuroClean as a chief operating officer in 2013. The previous franchisees were frustrated with all the empty promises that they had received from the brand. But Steve White had his plans for growth as he had figured out how to turn franchise troubles into trust.
“Franchisees had heard about lots of hype but no follow through,” describes White. In other words, executives would announce major initiatives but, without any accountability, never actually bring them to fruition. The franchise advisory council, he continued, “was really frustrated. They were like, why are we doing this? Nobody is listening to us.
White wanted to turn things around quickly and efficiently. This means filling the past and future communication gaps and aligning franchisor and franchisee expectations. White has over 35 yrs of experience in franchise leadership roles at Dominos’ Pizza and Allegra Network. He spent his first few conventions and meetings giving a full accounting of past promises made and updating franchisees on “where we stand today and what we still need to achieve.”
Puroclean and Franchise Business Review together surveyed franchisees and used that data to make the necessary changes. We empowered regional directors to handle disagreements and concerns.
“You can’t assume you know what their concerns are or what they like about the system,” said White of doing a formal survey. “Once you know, then you ask, what do you think we can do about that? Then you’ve gotta come back and tell the franchisees what the outcomes will be” and what their role is “so franchisees have a sense of ownership in it.”
As a result, PuroClean had a record year in 2020 with 16% increase in systemwide sales.
Collaboration is key in business. Supercuts Franchisee Association that sued the franchisor was granted a seat at the table. The dispute was on how marketing funds are allocated between the national fund and local marketing funds.
“The franchisor, of course, wants to see more go to national and we as franchisees feel we can use the money more effectively local,” said Gary Robbins, the association’s board vice president. The aim was to agree on what is best for the system as a whole. Gary owns 65 salons in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
Gary believed that collaboration is essential for large organisations like Supercuts that operated in over 1000 locations. He thinks that any challenging situation can be dealt with in a mutually beneficial way. Personal relationships with corporate leaders can help overcome many issues.
“If as an association all you ever come to your franchisor with is problems, they start to see you as the problem,” Robins continued. “You never agree 100 percent.. but the most important thing is to work constructively on what you agree on, rather than deconstructively on what you disagree on.”
“I think a franchisor’s greatest asset isn’t on a balance sheet,” he said. “It’s their relationship with franchisees.”
Source: Franchise Times
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