'What's Your Next' and Do You Have the Bench to Get There?
Looking forward is easy to do. We do it all the time when we are looking to grow and expand our organizations. We are looking at the marketplace to determine what we can leverage to take us into the next stage of our business. The adverse is looking backwards. We often do not look in the rearview mirror though, because that is history; what can we learn from the past?
If we take a quick look back, however; to where the industry started, we can see there are changes taking place in the last decades which are changing the franchise ownership landscape. For example, as previously reported at Franchising.com, the industry used to be a “go-to” option for entrepreneurs who wanted to be their own boss and provide a specific lifestyle for themselves, which meant many were single-unit operators. Today however, we are seeing a trend with owners moving to a multi-unit, or multi-brand business model.
In this same article, “Current Trends in Franchising,” shifting demographics are another major factor impacting the multi-unit franchisee owner. As an owner you not only have to consider to whom you are selling and the expected customer experience, but also, your talent pool of employees and their motivations to want to stay with you and your organization.
With the change impacting the industry, we are also seeing growth at a rapid pace. With this growth, we are seeing demographic impacts of franchisee owners needing to look at their “What’s Next.” The International Franchise Association reports that the median age of today’s franchise owners is 45-54. And although we may not be considering the impact of Millennials on the future of our industry, fast forward ten years where the Millennial segment will be the largest demographic of franchise owners.
You may be consumed by day-to-day operations and not had time to think about “What’s Your Next,” but every entrepreneur I know, has one, and to make it a reality, we encourage you to start pondering “your next” vision.
Consider why you got into the business to begin with, and have your goals changed from when you started? As you look to your future is your goal to sell your business for a high dollar, maybe dabble with a new concept and see what being a franchisor is all about, or hold onto your business as an opportunity for next generation franchisees? Regardless, there are key areas that impact the value of your franchise operations. Do you know what they are and how to protect what you have built – and your future? Can you ensure your “What’s Next?”
To do this, one of the most critical areas of focus for franchisees today, and one that needs to be a priority area, is in looking at your next generation of leadership. It means that if you are the only person who manages all key relationships, and if the business highly depends on your business acumen and know-how to operate day-to-day, you are diminishing your value because you have no bench. To protect and grow the value of your multi-unit franchisee organization, you must take a hard look at growing and developing the next generation of franchisees. Attracting, retaining, mentoring for leadership, providing opportunity for growth and potentially, ownership. Whether you are looking to sell, stay to grow, or create opportunities for up and coming leaders, talent development and retention is one of the most important value drivers in your business.
In our next installment in this series, we will discuss how the alignment of resources (people, time, and money) impacts your journey towards achieving your “What’s Next,” because everyone has one; no matter where you fall in the business/career lifecycle.