There are three recognised stages to franchising - starting out, growing the business and planning for retirement. A franchisor has three sets of franchisees at any given time: those enthusiastic newbies who want to get going, the established locations looking to improve and the old-timers wanting to hang up their hat. These different kinds of people want different things, and one thing the franchisor needs to consider is whether or not those differences require a variable approach.
The notion of these different stages and the varied requirements of franchisees was established almost 20 years ago in extensive research conducted jointly by the University of Westminster and Georgia State University. The study found that there were, indeed, various stages of franchising - and that they probably required different approaches.
At that first phase, starting out, the franchisee is keen to focus on independence. They want to run their own business, but the very reason they have selected franchising is because they want to minimize risk. These people are not the "go-getter" entrepreneurial personality types that are risk-takers. Franchisees are more conservative in their business approach, and this is appealing.
Meanwhile, the established franchisees, who have a business doing well, want to do better but also want people to know they are good at their job.
At the third stage of franchising are the old-timers seeking retirement, the kinds of individuals who wish to make a contribution. They don't want their years of franchising experience to go to waste. They want to retire, but leave some kind of legacy.
Using the Stages to Motivate Franchisees
These different aspects of motivation can be used by franchisors to help relationships, but there is an issue if the franchisee's position is considered too centrally. After all, the established franchisee motivated by a sense of achievement can quickly take their eye off the ball and see a reduction in sales. Similarly, a retiring franchisee motivated by mentoring others can see their business, like them, start to wind down. Franchisors need to be able to blend caring for their franchisees at the different stages of franchising, with motivating them to continue to make sales and grow their business.
There are more than a dozen different theories of motivation, yet there is a central connection between them all. The individual has to, at some point, motivate themselves. External motivation can lead people in the right direction, but ultimately it is down to the individual - leading horses to water, and all that.
Motivational Technique Alone Doesn't Work
That's a problem for franchisors; they can point out what franchisees need to do to establish or grow their businesses, but no amount of "motivational technique" can make them change - except if you tap into those stages of franchising more individually. You can, for instance, help the retiring franchisee continue to increase sales if there is some link between selling more and mentoring. Equally, the established franchisee can be motivated to sell more if they are being recognized for their success. Connect the motivation to do business with the motivation to make the most of the franchisee's specific stage, and you can achieve more.
The three stages of franchising all need different kinds of motivation, but those triggers to continued success are only likely to work if they are tied to the personal requirements of franchisees at various stages of their lives and careers.