By Brian Duckett, Chairman

The theme of this year’s British Franchise Association conference was “The Power of Collective Ambition – strengthening collaboration across our industry”. With fifteen franchisees joining the delegates for the first time I was delighted that The Franchising Centre was once again Platinum sponsor of the event, especially as collaboration reflects our own philosophy and history.

Twenty years ago, when ‘three mates joined together to avoid getting proper jobs’ our ambition was and remains “to be the first choice advisors to potential and practising franchisors”. Our purpose is “to consistently enable clients to build successful and increasingly valuable franchised networks” and we achieve that through collaboration with our clients, their management teams, their franchisees, other bfa affiliates and suppliers, and our network of associates in more than forty countries.

Over the years we’ve also collaborated with the bfa to produce membership standards for professional advisors and to develop the QFP programme. Our future collaboration will be all about achieving our collective ambition – increasing the level of engagement of all parties in the franchising process, which further includes franchisees’ staff and the end customers.

Whatever franchisors’ ambitions, they always want more and better franchisees and they want great people to support them. The franchisees and the support team members each have their own ambitions. When all three are aligned through engagement, collaboration brings mutual success. If the franchisees’ staff and customers can also be engaged then franchising as a whole will benefit.
The Franchising Centre’s job is to keep our clients at the forefront of franchising practice. Our team uses the most up-to-date systems and processes to recruit the franchisees; to recruit the support team; to train and develop that support team; to train and develop those franchisees; and to get them all truly collaborating and engaged with achieving their franchisor’s ambition.

The franchisors who were there when I started in franchising will be spinning in their graves at any mention of engagement with franchisees but over the years the franchisor / franchisee relationship has changed. No longer are franchisees just expected to do as they are told. Both parties have learned that being interdependent and working together produces better results. The future of this evolving relationship is closer collaboration and further engagement of all parties involved in the franchising process.

It’s not just within the franchising community that engagement has become a hot topic around the world. Engagement expert Stefan Wissenbach developed his Engagement Multiplier process to improve the performance of any business which employs ten or more people. We’re working closely with him to develop a bespoke model for franchising which will eventually help franchisors to consistently measure and improve the engagement levels of their staff, their franchisees and their customers.

Even before that becomes available later this year a franchisor, or indeed a franchisee, with a support team of more than ten people can try the system for free here

Franchising is about people not processes; it’s about talent not technology. Of course we need technology and processes; franchising works by people following systems; but having the right people doing the right things and doing things right is what makes those systems work.

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