You know I’m a little bit p**ssed off, a little bit angry that there is more negative news on franchising.  When is it going to stop and when are we going to see major brands in the media for doing the right thing?

With relentless negative publicity on major franchise brands, how does it get turned around?  Not just turned around in a cynical, positive-PR-spin-kind-of-way, but truly and authentically turned around?  Turned around because all stakeholders in franchising are healthy: the franchisor, franchisee, and franchisee’s staff. This is what franchising is meant to be like.

There is no better time to ponder and answer these questions!

We are in an era where franchisees are willing to speak out and talk about any negative experiences they are having with your brand.  The code of silence that once was, has been lifted. People are angry and are fighting back.

Not only is it franchisees willing to speak out, but now the spotlight is shining brighter and brighter on how franchisees employees are being treated and if they are being paid correctly.  And of course, the Vulnerable Workers Bill makes it even more important for franchisors to KNOW that franchisees are paying their staff correctly.

Now is the time when you must look at your franchise holistically and take responsibility for the entire system.  No longer is it OK to say profitability is the franchisee’s problem and paying staff correctly is the franchisee’s problem. 

We are in an era where if you don’t take responsibility your brand may be the next in the spotlight. The appetite by the media to follow through on these kinds of stories is relentless and you must be prepared.  

However, it’s much more than the media spotlight, it actually about doing the right thing and showing courageous leadership.

But things don’t change overnight. What do you do?

You need to work on all the factors that build a healthy franchise.  And a healthy/thriving franchise is one where all stakeholders are healthy.

So where do you start?  

The first step is to take absolute responsibility for every part of your system, the outcomes of your franchisees, and their employees.  Although this sounds extreme, there is no way forward if you don’t accept your part in the way things are.

You cannot keep blaming the retail turn down, the rents, the lack of quality franchisees, consumer spending, the economy or anything else.  You created (or managing) the system, you recruited the franchisees and you determine the future pathway of your franchise.

It is your franchise and you are ultimately responsible.  You must be prepared to look at any part of your underbelly, look at it in the eye, and accept responsibility for it.  

 I wrote this article on Extreme Responsibility last year which fleshes out this topic more.

You need to be prepared to listen to things you don’t want to hear. You need to be willing to change.  But first, you need to understand very clearly, what part of your model is working well, what is obsolete and what needs to change. In the words of one wise franchisor I’ve been talking to: “You’ve got to name it to solve it’’.

In Ray Dalio’s exceptional No1 Best Selling book, Principles, he talks about ‘’Be a Hyperrealist’’ – that is to understand and work with reality.  Also ‘’Be Radically open-minded and radically transparent’’ and ‘’Truth is the essential foundation of any good outcome’’.  All sage advice for the franchise sector.

Ray Dalio also talks about Evolution Driving Everything and it is the only thing that is permanent.  ‘’It is simply the process by which things either adapt and improve or die’’.

Part of the problem is that the franchise business model has been on autopilot since the 1970’s. The evolution of the franchise business model has begun. 

Hang onto your hats folks.