Franchisee Leadership Makes a Difference | International Franchise Association

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Franchisee Leadership Makes a Difference


By: Dr. Kathleen Gosser 

In order to ensure consistency, your franchisor will have established standards and procedures for their franchise locations. The goal of the franchisor is to guarantee uniformity so that customers have the same experience at each location. To ensure compliance with these standards, your franchisor will most likely have regular audits.

However, in order to excel in today’s world, a franchisee should have his/her own leadership footprint in the operations—going above and beyond the minimum standards set by the franchisor.

What is Leadership Footprint?

It is your mark as a franchisee on your business. You own the culture of your establishments. Though your franchisor will have goals and a vision, you should too. You should share your values with your teams so they understand and recognize your leadership.

You also should have your own strategic vision of where you want to take your franchise in the future. 

Having an annual operating plan as well as a 3- or 5-year vision is critical for success. Your franchisor will have goals for the entire system, but only you can know what you expect in your own operation. 

Defining Your Strategy

Understanding how to write a mission statement, vision statement and strategic plans is essential for success. You may be able to survive a year or two, but to be truly successful, you need to define the roadmap for where you are headed. This would include goals around sales, profits, people and growth. 

This is the type of information you won’t necessarily learn from your franchisor—and yet another reason why additional education from an accredited b-school is critical in your journey. With a program like the Franchise Management Certificate from the College of Business at the University of Louisville, you can learn the necessary skills to create a strategic plan as well as learn proven leadership theories.

For more information on the program, visit



Dr. Kathleen Gosser (PhD, University of Louisville) is an experienced leader in the franchise industry and a passionate educator. In her 30 year career in the franchise industry, she has enjoyed numerous roles, including leadership of customer satisfaction programs, operations measurement, employee recognition, training and team member engagement efforts. She also had direct P&L accountability as the Region Coach of 10 restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky.