How Your Company’s Culture Can Help You Recruit Better Franchisees
By Lora Kellogg, Curious Jane
We all know that a strong company culture is a great differentiator for brands, but did you also know that culture can be a terrific tool for franchise development? Culture serves as both your biggest selling point and a benchmark for developing a strong marketing persona and selecting candidates who will best fit into your franchise.
Culture reflects the values, standards and beliefs of a company and its members. In a franchise system, it is critical that franchisees not only believe in a company’s culture but also act to ensure the culture evolves in a way that is consistent with the company’s mission and core values.
How can your company’s culture aid in franchise development?
Attract Like-Minded Franchisees
The franchisor’s vision for the company trickles down, and ideally, that vision should be reflected in your culture. A systemwide commitment to culture helps attract franchise candidates whose values and interests align with the franchisor’s.
Faith-based franchises, for instance, generally attract prospects who are seeking a business opportunity with a company that shares their personal values. Those prospects also may be attracted to the company leadership’s openness about their faith. Because the candidates are closely aligned to the brand’s values, they are likely to be active, hands-on owner-operators. Top candidates are unlikely to be investors who are seeking simply to add to their portfolios; those folks won’t be a culture fit, so they probably will look somewhere else.
Likewise, a franchise whose culture is built around passion for a particular product or service is likely to attract people who want to convert their favorite pastime into an entrepreneurial venture. Some franchises find that their most enthusiastic franchisees are former customers who became their biggest fans.
Deter Those Who Aren’t A Good Fit
Your culture also can help you weed out prospects who are not aligned with the franchisor’s vision. One franchisor recently noted that it’s a red flag for him when a prospect says he wants to put his own “twist” on the franchise concept. It’s important to bring in franchisees who will stay true to the business model and culture.
Especially for emerging brands, it is critical to select franchisees who are on board with your vision. A brand’s earliest franchisees can dramatically affect how its culture evolves.
Culture fit should be a requirement for candidates who want to become franchisees. In fact, we recently worked with a large automotive brand on a franchise development campaign, and one of the headlines we used was, “Do you have what it takes?” We listed seven prequalifying traits on their landing page to weed out people who were just “kicking tires.” Our philosophy is that it’s better to get fewer qualified leads than to chase down hundreds of unqualified leads.
Keep Your Team on Track
Finally, culture can be a checkpoint to keep your team unified. Both franchisors and franchisees may reference company culture to weigh decisions with far-reaching implications or to quash choices that are outside the brand’s standards. Leaders can use culture to elevate the company and to hold each other accountable.
A positive company culture can help you attract the right franchisees, and it also can keep current franchisees happy and aligned with the franchisor’s vision. That’s a huge win, because happy franchisees will work tirelessly to grow the business and to refer the brand they love and believe in to other prospects.
Lora Kellogg, CFE, is president and CEO of Curious Jane, an ad agency specializing in franchises. With more than 15 years of experience and a portfolio of top brands, she and her team work with established and emerging franchises to grow sales, increase traffic, build brand awareness and generate leads. Find out more about Curious Jane here.