If you own a business, the holidays can be a stressful time of the year, but also the most lucrative. And if you’re managing and assisting several hundred business owners, the feeling only intensifies. Such is the life of our friends in franchising.
During this hectic season, your franchisees need all the support they can get from corporate. This starts by developing a specialized, specific holiday business plan and distributing it to your franchisees in enough time for questions, feedback and adequate prep time on their part.
Be sure to explain what you expect of them during this time, and what you will provide to help them reach your shared goals. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating your franchise holiday plan:
Provide Training Support
The time of seasonal employees is upon is – training them will require extra resources.
If you haven’t already, it might be a good idea to create a web-based training portal. Franchisees will need to hire a different number of seasonal employees depending on their store’s volume, and you don’t want to get caught up in the mess of sending various amounts of training documents and other paperwork to everyone.
Encourage them to focus on hiring good seasonal employees as early as possible, and to lean on their store managers for this process – this will make scheduling a group training session easier. Group training is efficient and a great way for employees to get to know one another and build trust before they get into the thick of the holiday rush together.
Provide Tools Needed to Handle Higher Volume
On top of more employees, holiday hours mean your franchisees will need more resources like supplies and updated stock. Help them prepare early on with marketing resources, vendor recommendations and helpful high-performance, cost-saving techniques.
In addition to corporate support, make sure there is a network where franchisees can exchange ideas and support to help one another grow. They are all going through a similar situation in managing your brand, and will be in a great position to ask specific questions and share best practices.
Franchisees can accomplish so much more when armed with a community of support and resources, so give it to them on all fronts.
Support Brand Standards; Let Individuality Shine
Maintain the importance of your brand’s look and make sure franchisees understand the importance as well, but let them get creative with their store where it fits. Try not to get too stuck on small variations from the store’s standardized look. For example, if they want to put a few snowflake decals on the windows, or string some tasteful lights along the edge of the roof during the holidays, by all means let them get in the spirit!
Far from inhibiting business, this show of personality can serve to entice and excite customers this time of year, and help bring them in the door.
A quick and helpful way to guide your franchisees in this process is by distributing a ‘do’s and don’ts’ list and encouraging them to ask questions if they are unsure if any holiday decorations will be in violation of marketing standards.
Keep In Mind “The Reason for the Season”
Remember that your franchisees have families, and though this time of year is demanding, they need to spend time with them. Where possible, don’t require that stores remain open on holidays if franchisees would rather close down for the day.
Though having the doors open may seem convienent for any last minute shoppers, it can reflect negatively in both franchisee and employee engagement and morale, and is ultimately not worth the hurt it can mean for your brand.
The holiday season is also about improving our communities and looking out for our fellow man. Encourage community service during the season, and be accommodating to the time that may need to be taken off to for franchisees to dedicate themselves to this.
Maintain High Energy and Engagement
Again, because of the “reason for the season” the corporate office could take its own approach to charitable giving. Maybe you agree to donate a sum of money based on a portion of each store’s business to a charity of your franchisee’s choice, engaging them on a personal level.
It would also be very engaging to both franchisees and front-line associates to participate in a fun activity around a holiday theme. Perhaps stores can decorate their own tree and send in pictures of it and the team. You can make this just for fun and internal recognition, or turn it into a contest by offering a prize to the winners.
If you create a contest like this, it can also serve as a great social media opportunity. Post the winners/finalists on your brand’s social media account to engage your internal and external audiences. Employees will be excited to see themselves featured, and it will show off your brand’s personality and sense of fun to your customer base.
What’s In It For… Everyone
By implementing these holiday tactics and giving all the extra support to your franchisees, you can expect to see benefits across the board. Patrons will be delighted by their festive and attentive store experience, turning them into loyal, lasting customers.
As a result, business will be positively impacted and your brand can end the year with strong financial results. And your franchisees, grateful for your assistance in their busiest time, will not feel so burned out by the holidays and will enter the New Year full of energy and trust in the brand (the best gift of all).