This is one of the big questions we received in our recent franchisor survey. Many new and emerging franchisors struggle to motivate and get the best out of their franchisees.  They may feel they’ve recruited great people but then once in the business, they just aren’t performing that well.

So what do I do?

In the words of Dwight D. Eisenhower “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he/she wants to do it.” 

As the leader of a franchise system, the key is to get people to motivate themselves to perform. 

While franchisors can provide training, support, and resources to help franchisees succeed, ultimately the franchisee’s motivation and commitment are crucial to achieving success. 

So the more important question is, how do you get people to motivate themselves? 

In this article, we will explore some strategies and best practices for motivating franchisees to perform. By implementing these strategies, new and emerging franchisors can create a culture of high performance and compliance within their franchise system, leading to increased success and profitability for both the franchisor and franchisees.

1. Understand your franchisees’ motivations

Knowing your franchisees’ deepest motivations is important because it can help you understand what drives them to perform at their best and at the same time, help you build stronger relationships with them.

I’ll give you the case of a client of mine, Jess who has 10 franchisees. Jess reached out to me as she didn’t know how to get the best from her franchisees. She felt she was micromanaging as she so wanted them to succeed but was then trying to do it all for them. 

She didn’t understand why they weren’t highly driven and not taking action to move their business forward. She was really puzzled and it was hard for her to understand what was happening as she was a highly driven and decisive businessperson.  It was very hard for her to know what to do.

Sound familiar? 

We unpacked this together in our strategy session and got to the core of what was actually happening, what was driving the behaviour of her franchisees, and what we could do about it. I asked her, “Do you know each franchisee’s why’’? Why did they buy your business, why did they get into business at all, and what it is they are striving for?

Although Jess thought she knew her franchisees well, she really hadn’t delved into their deep motivations.  She didn’t understand what drives them but most importantly, she didn’t understand what they want to achieve from their business on a personal level. 

Through our engagement, she took decisive action and implemented a simple survey with each franchisee to uncover what were their motivations for getting into business and what they want to achieve. This was incredibly insightful to her as before this, she didn’t fully understand their motivations.

Once we understand this, we can then connect to each individual’s ‘’why’’.  This enables you to connect the business as a facilitator of the franchisee’s goals and dreams. When you connect these two things, the magic starts to happen.

For example, if you know that one of your franchisees is motivated primarily by financial gain, you may focus on showing how the business can achieve financial success.  You do this by linking how an increase in sales generates bottom line income. For example,  if you can show $500 per day in increased sales means $100 per day extra in income this can be very motivating.

On the other hand, if you know that another franchisee is more motivated by a sense of purpose and social impact, you may focus on highlighting the positive impact that their business is making in the community to motivate them to stay committed to the franchise system.

Remember, each franchisee is unique, with their own set of values, goals, and aspirations. By understanding what motivates your franchisees at a deep level, you can tailor your approach to training, support, and motivation to meet their individual needs and preferences.

Download The Path to a Thriving Franchise System: A Playbook for Early-stage Franchisors

2. Establish a Culture of Trust

Trust is essential to building a strong relationship between franchisors and franchisees and it is the foundation of a successful franchise system. Franchisors should work to establish a culture of trust by communicating openly and honestly with franchisees.  

A good communication strategy is critical to the success of your franchise. As a franchisor, you want to encourage open dialogue between yourself and your franchisees so that they feel comfortable bringing up any issues they may be having with the brand or their store. This can help you identify problems early on and fix them before they become major issues.

In addition to encouraging open dialogue between yourself and your franchisees, it’s also important that you set up regular meetings with each of them individually — these meetings should take place at least once per month (and more often if needed). 

By scheduling these regular check-ins with each of your franchisees, you’ll be able to keep tabs on how things are going in their businesses so that if there are any problems arising from either side of the relationship, they can be addressed immediately before things get out of hand or cause irreparable damage.

Franchisors should also provide franchisees with regular updates on the state of the business and seek input on important decisions. You should also be transparent about your expectations for franchisee performance and compliance.

When franchisees feel that their franchisor trusts them and values their input, they are more likely to be motivated to perform and comply with the franchise system’s policies and procedures.

Providing a positive and supportive environment is also a must. Franchisors should create a work environment that fosters teamwork, collaboration, and mutual respect. When franchisees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to be motivated to perform and comply.

3. Provide Recognition and Rewards

Recognizing and rewarding franchisees for their performance and compliance is a powerful motivator as it boosts franchisee morale,  creates a positive culture within the franchise system, and fosters healthy competition, which can lead to increased productivity and profitability.

Rewarding franchisees who are performing well and complying with the franchise system’s policies and procedures can encourage other franchisees to follow their lead. Franchisees who see their peers being recognized and rewarded for their performance and compliance are more likely to adopt the same behaviors, which can lead to improved performance and compliance across the franchise system.

In line with this, franchisors should establish clear and measurable performance metrics and reward franchisees who meet or exceed them. Rewards can come in many forms, such as financial incentives, public recognition, or exclusive access to new products or services. 

As a new and emerging franchisor, these don’t need to be expensive or complex.  For example, you could have a simple chart at the end of the month that recognises the most improved in sales, or those that have achieved exceptional customer feedback.  Just make it authentic and have meaning for your business.

4. Solicit Feedback and Act on it

Franchisees are more likely to be motivated to perform and comply when they feel that their input is valued and their concerns are addressed. By actively seeking feedback, franchisors demonstrate that they are committed to continuous improvement and are willing to listen and respond to the needs and concerns of their franchisees. 

Soliciting feedback from franchisees can also drive innovation within the franchise system. Franchisees who are given the opportunity to provide feedback may be able to identify new ideas, opportunities, and best practices that can help to improve the performance and profitability of the franchise. 

In return, this can also help build trust between franchisors and franchisees as franchisees who feel that their feedback is taken seriously and acted upon are more likely to trust the franchisor and remain committed to the franchise system. Franchisors can provide regular opportunities for franchisees to provide feedback, such as through mini-surveys, or one-on-one discussions. 

Ensuring franchisee performance and compliance is not just about enforcing rules and policies. It requires a more nuanced approach that considers the unique needs and motivations of each franchisee. 

By implementing the strategies we have discussed, you can foster a culture of collaboration, engagement, innovation, and trust that motivates franchisees to perform at their best and remain compliant with the business policies and procedures. 

And by becoming effective leaders who understand what motivates their franchisees and how to create a positive franchise environment, franchisors can build successful franchise systems that benefit everyone involved. 

Ultimately, the key to ensuring franchisee performance and compliance is to create a sense of ownership and empowerment among franchisees, so they are motivated to work hard and comply with the franchisor’s standards not because they have to, but because they want to.


FranchiseED is one of the most respected sources of information and support for franchisees and franchisors alike. We have developed a new program called Coaching and Mentoring for Early-stage Franchisors. If you want to grow and improve your franchise, click here to learn more.