Franchises are an attractive option for entrepreneurs who want to start their own business. In contrast to setting up independent storefronts from scratch, franchises offer operators the benefit of buying into a proven business model with established operational systems. Even better, new operators have the opportunity to capitalize on a built-in support system between the franchisor and franchisee, as well as within the community of franchises.

What could be better than having all of the start-up operations determined in advance AND working alongside fellow business leaders who share the same goals as you?

While that scenario sounds great in theory, there’s (of course) a catch: communication.

Real-time communications are the cornerstone of successful business operations. With multiple locations and franchise operators, a seamless method for relaying information is needed in order to benefit fully from the franchise model.

For example, how do operators learn about new information and announcements from the franchisor? How are training materials distributed and updated? How do franchises talk to each other and share best practices? How are employees kept up-to-date?

Franchises are built on brand reputation and the delivery of consistent products and services, no matter what location is visited. To ensure customer satisfaction and continued loyalty, operational communication must be addressed. Here are three specific areas franchisors can focus on to improve operations for franchises, especially new operators.

Enable Communications

Seamless communication from franchisor to franchisee and back again is the hallmark of a well-run franchise organization. At a time when technology provides a variety of communication methods exist such as emails, Intranet sites, and consumer tools like text messaging and social media, the key to success is equipping franchise owners with a single source for all communications, which should be mobile-enabled to ensure constant and consistent access.

As highlighted in Entrepreneur, “The key to successful franchise relationships is trust. And trust starts with communication. Communicate openly and honestly with your franchisees, and be as concerned with their profitability as you are with your own.”

Additionally, circumstances often arise where it makes sense for all employees to receive information from the franchisor. For example, if the company is launching a new product or promotion and needs to provide updated training materials, everyone should have real-time access to this information. By allowing direct communication from the top to the bottom, businesses avoid the bottlenecks that are created when a single person (franchise operator) is responsible for relaying information. The added benefit is that communications broadcast to everyone create a more open corporate culture across and within franchises.

Encourage Connections

A new franchise operator may feel overwhelmed in the early days of setting up the business, thanks to the challenges of recruiting, hiring, and managing the books. The beautiful part about being a new franchisee is that existing franchise operators have done all this hard work before and have knowledge and experience that is directly applicable to the situation. However, that collective wisdom is lost if operators don’t have a method to communicate between themselves.

Open communication is the best method to build trust between both the franchisor and each operator, as well as between the franchisees. Franchisors who connect their franchise owners to each other not only build a community feeling and a support network, but they also help enable the sharing of best practices.

Ideally, these communications take place on a platform that captures and stores the information for others to read and benefit from as well. By promoting these connections, franchises become a more powerful unit as opposed to individual operations. Given the shared brand and customer expectations, working together for their common good makes business sense.

Empower Collaboration

The people with the most knowledge about what’s working and what’s failing are the franchise operators who live and breathe the business every day. Gathering their input on new procedures or planned promotions can make a huge difference in rolling out successful programs or watching an initiative flop.

For example, shared documents that can be annotated and commented upon allow franchise owners to provide valuable feedback to the franchisor before releasing a final version to everyone. Time and money can be saved when knowledge and ideas are shared and discussed upfront. Franchise operators will also feel more connected and supported by the franchisor if their voices are heard.

The ideal platform allows for permissioned users to add real-time feedback into a living document and for comments to be assigned directly to the right person in order to ensure ownership. Mobile access is also critical for these busy franchise operators who may travel between locations they own or spend large parts of their day on a store floor.

Parting thoughts

Franchise relationships offer a unique situation to work in tandem with other business leaders, but they require powerful and easy communications to ensure successful interactions. Franchisors who commit to a single communication method that promotes dialogue, sharing, and collaboration will empower every franchise owner to deliver better results, which ultimately means happier and more loyal customers for everyone.

Inkling’s Field Workforce Enablement Platform is trusted by leading franchises worldwide. To change the way you share knowledge with your employees, customers, and partners—forever and for the better, request a demo today.