How can you help your franchisees make good decisions?

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

Franchisees are continually faced with decisions, from the all consuming 'do I open another store, take on a partner, re-finance?' to the daily mundane decisions; how much to order, where to place the ad and who to roster. They tackle the process with different skills and experiences, often turning to the franchisor team for advice and support.

Below are some tips to help franchisees navigate the decision-making process and land on a well thought out decision.

1.   Start at the end

The clearer people are on the outcome they want the easier they make a decision. Work with them to get sharp and shiny on exactly what they want. Keep the discussion focused on the objective until they are crystal clear on what they want.

2.  Find advisors

Connect them with others who can help. Find people with the skills and expertise to provide valuable input. Connect your franchisee to others who have been in their shoes. Trusted and credible sources of information that can advise them.

3.  Simplify the process

Break the decision making down into chunks. For example with brand newbies who haven’t had a franchise or run a business, the sheer volume of information they need to wrap their heads around can be overwhelming. Set out a path for giving them information in a way that works for them. Then they know what they will get and when and how it will help their decision-making. It takes the unknown out of the process. What’s the first decision they need to make? Then what? Help them list the decisions out and the timeframes and the info they need to make the decisions.

4.   Ask good questions 

Explore the franchisee's risk willingness, their core values, and their real hope for the business. Ask them good thought provoking questions that put the scale of each decision in context.

5.  Set scenarios

Encourage them to explore scenarios with the business. What’s the best that can happen? The worst? What would you do if…? Provide case studies and examples of things that have happened to like businesses and have them work shop their responses.

6.  Call time out

Know when you need to call a time out. Warning signs are usually when your franchisee becomes emotional or resistant or they shut down. That’s when you send them off to reevaluate, get more info, calm down or what ever it is they need to get back into a constructive place.

7.   Watch your language

Don’t tell them what to do; it’s not your place. You are there to guide their thinking, so avoid ‘You should’. Instead, ask questions, pose scenarios, keep digging and cracking until they land at the right spot for them.

8.   Break the brain loops

We’ve all been in situations where we get in a loop of thinking. The same thoughts lead to the same conclusions leads to frustration. Over and over. Break those loops up. Physically by going for a walk or taking a break outside, or mentally by asking questions to guide them out of the loop.  ‘let’s pause for a moment and consider …’

9.   Good analysis 

Good analysis is based on good quality information. It follows a process and reaches a timely conclusion. Over analysis is not helpful, it can cause brain loops and lead to frustration. It can also be avoidance, the anti-decision. Help your franchisee get clear on the information they need and the process to examine it effectively. What are the criteria? When will we call time on the analysis?  

10.  Identify the fear

Some fear is good, it keeps us on our toes. Over-confidence in a franchisee is as big a flashing red light as them being terrified. Help your franchisee identify exactly what is scaring them and ways to address it. Sometimes fears are based on misinformation or out dated patterns of behavior. With fresh eyes you can assist them to recognise exactly what is behind the fear and ways to manage or deal with it.

11. The head and the heart

Awareness is the key to managing the head and heart debate. ‘I just want to’ is a perfectly valid decision justification. As long as the consequences and other options have been considered. Channeling passion is a lot easier than trying to light a fire in someone.

Like most life skills, great decision-making is learnt by doing. So get clear on what you want, get your facts, get your emotions in order … and then get doing!