This lesson is part of our free Franchise 101 course.
Strategic planning might sound like it’s a long way from your interests as a potential new franchisee. But its strategic planning, or lack of strategic planning, can tell you a lot about a franchise and about the experience you would have as a franchisee.
Why You Need to Ask About Strategic Plans
If you’ve already spent time working within a business, then you might have gotten the impression that strategic plans only matter to managers high up the food chain, that they’re used to make big decisions but don’t matter on the ground.
That’s flat out wrong. Within a competently run business, everything relates to its strategic plans, because these provide the sense of direction. Changes to targets, processes, and products are all developed toward those goals. New directives and decisions about how to work connect to them.
Because of this, it’s important to find out about a franchisor’s strategic plans before you decide to join them as a franchisee. You need to know if they’re going in a direction that you’re comfortable with, and what this will mean for your work.
Strategy as Symptom
The other reason why you need to ask about the strategic plan is because it reflects a company’s competence.
If the company doesn’t have a strategic plan, if the staff you’re dealing with don’t understand it or know where to find it, if they can’t communicate it to you, then that’s a bad sign. It indicates that the company lacks the sort of direction and purpose that leads to clear leadership, strong support, and ongoing growth.
Even if you’re not sure how the strategy will affect your work, you need to know that it’s there.
Finding Out About a Franchise’s Strategy
The best way to find out about a franchise’s vision and strategy is by asking questions when you contact the companies on your shortlist.
Just asking “what is your strategy?” might get you a vague or unspecific answer, so ask more specific questions:
- What is the company doing to further grow the business?
- Are there plans for new products or services based on customer needs?
- Are they thinking about how to diversify revenue streams for franchisees?
- When will there be a brand refresh or location redesign?
- What partnerships are being developed with other businesses?
- Is the company working on fresh new marketing campaigns?
The answers to these questions will tell you a lot both about the company’s strategic thinking and about how that thinking will directly affect you. It will show you whether there’s a strong sense of strategy that’s filtering down to the franchisees themselves and whether the execution of that strategy will affect you.
Deciding which franchise to join isn’t just about whether a company is competent or not. It’s about whether they’re a good fit for you, and finding out about their strategy can really help you in understanding that.