Field management tips

The newly named FCA’s QLD Field Manager of the Year 2014, Poolwerx national franchise operations manager Andrew Kidd, shares his tips on enhancing the role of field management support.

Strong field management is one of the most important characteristics of a robust franchise system, playing a critical role in the relationship between franchisee and franchisor and ensuring both high operational standards and achievement of franchisee goals.

Lead franchisees to achieve their goals

The field team should listen to franchisees and reinforce their understanding of their goals and what they want to achieve and then use a balance of inclusion and direction to lead and help develop franchisees to exceed their targets.

Champion systems and processes

The most successful franchisees are those who commit to and follow the franchise’s proven systems and process, yet many still choose to do things their own way. Field managers should encourage consistent best practice across the network and highlight the benefits of doing so (i.e. reporting, sales, customer service).

Check business health

If you’re not undertaking regular business health checks (ie. monthly monitoring of KPI reports, quarterly monitoring of profit and loss statement) for every franchise, you’re not in the franchising game. All franchisees have their own challenges that affect profitability and this is therefore a vital ongoing role.

Training and education

Shared information and learning is one of the key areas that separates franchising from going into business alone. An important element of field support is identifying and facilitating training requirements to ensure franchisees grow with their business as the industry in which they operate also grows.

Information is a resource

Reporting performance might be viewed as time-consuming, but it serves an important function. Leading franchise brands use and share network information and benchmarks to help franchisees identify trends, clarify problematic issues and forecast sales. In an ideal world, all data would be live and have the ability to be benchmarked instantaneously allowing the analysis of every franchise as well as the overall business.

Keep fit and healthy

Field teams are often required to travel extensively across the country, so it’s important to maintain a healthy mental and physical state. Undertaking regular exercise and maintaining a positive work life balance through regular mini-breaks can help to avoid fatigue and burning out.

CASE STUDY: Identifying growth opportunities as a field manager

Over the past 12 months Kidd helped a franchisee turning over $200,000 annually increase year-on-year growth from three percent to 80 percent – and this included the opening of a retail store.

How did he do it?

  • Analysis – despite maintaining on average three per cent growth the franchise had seen a slow down in business growth and the franchisee was considering leaving the system.
  • Business planning – a discussion on boosting growth by going from a mobile-only operation to a retail store used information gathered from the network, existing franchise support tools and research conducted specifically on opportunities in the franchisee’s territory.
  • Management support – financial modelling was developed based on current business performance, network benchmarking and the franchisee’s desired outcome. In October, a retail store opened and the franchise has increased from one to three staff with 80 per cent turnover growth in the first year.

Kidd’s tip: “I used my own decision-making methodology to plant the seed about growth and then provide further challenges to ascertain the strength of the franchisee’s commitment.  This results in two outcomes: choosing a different path or returning with a commitment equal to what I showed them.”

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