When are franchisees ready to produce results?

This is a loaded question and one that needs to be carefully considered by both franchisees and franchisors. Although we all understand that it takes time for franchisees to learn the business and be able to implement the system successfully, we often overlook the many learning barriers that franchisees face.

Franchisees, and sometimes franchisors, get frustrated when (in their view) it takes “too” long for the former to produce the desired results.  They think that attending training and implementing the steps and tasks required “should” produce results at their determined time frame. When results are not forthcoming, many franchisees blame the system and the franchisor, while many franchisors blame the franchisees.

Both are missing the point. It is not about who is to blame, instead it’s about trying to understand what’s really happening. Assuming that the franchisor has a good system and an effective training program the focus then needs to shift to the barriers to learning and to assisting franchisees identify and overcome them. On the franchisee’s side, a refocus to the internal dynamics is needed to be able to discover what may be preventing results.

A franchise business is more than a collection of tasks, job descriptions, concepts and business related activities. What makes it a system is the way in which all of these elements are brought together. A franchise system is a way of thinking. It is here (in the new way of thinking ) that we find the barriers to learning and thus to implementation.

Of the thousands of franchisees I have trained and supported, I can count with one hand those who faced traditional learning difficulties such as ADD or other similar problems. Yet all other franchisees, to one of degree or another, had to face and overcome some sort of barrier. Franchisees are smart people. They have been successful at previous endeavors and are now in new situations that requires them to think and do things differently.

Typical barriers to learning and performance are:

  • Lack of confidence
  • Propensity to project and transfer the old situations into the new
  • Inability to see themselves in a new role
  • Perceived sense of urgency and specific time frame for results
  • Inability to adapt to new working conditions
  • Expectations not based on facts
  • Lack of the outwardly set discipline and feedback normally found in a job
  • Emotional states
  • Fear of failure and fear of change

So, when are franchisees ready to produce results? When they have the ability to implement the system, and that only happens, when they have identified their hurdles to learning and have learn to cope with them.

In future posts I will take each of these barriers and expand on how it affects franchisees and their success. Until then, let me know of other barriers you feel are important to mention here. Thanks!


  1. Another great post Lizette! I really like how you break through the traditional “issues” and examine what’s really happening within franchise business relationships.

    I’m looking forward to your posts examining these barriers to learning and performance.

  2. Great post!
    I’ve found this to be true in my experience training and supporting franchisees. Even with excellent training, good documentation and good ops support, most franchisees hit a ‘wall’ that keeps them from growing. The wall seems to be different for each owner. Some is emotional – based on fear of selling, fear of failure or some other fear. Some is personal – divorce, health issues or other life distractions and some are misconceptions/ hubris. Franchisees are usually very smart and talented people; that is what makes them successful. The downside with most is they chuck systems in favor of doing it their way or putting their own spin (reinventing the wheel) until they realize that the systems of the company produce better results and then they zoom.
    Shifting focus and having really good ops people is what helps, in my opinion.

  3. Interesting post Lizette. One point that really hit the nail on the head, and was reiterated in Thomas’ comments, is fear of failure. It’s very easy to concede defeat when your ego and sense of self takes a walloping when you fail.

    On the flip side to fear of failure, I’ve been surprised by just how many small business owners have a fear of success. Success of all things! I remember one client in particular who, after being presented with our plans for a new website and internet marketing campaign, flatly stated that he “didn’t want the campaign to be too successful.” He questioned whether our marketing should be scaled back. I guess the fear of him having to hire new staff and develop new processes was just too far outside his comfort zone and the status quo.

    Even the most successful people can develop really nasty stumbling blocks to achieving even bigger and better goals.