One of the glorious and most famous features of becoming a franchisee is that you get to be your own boss. And unless you are working purely as a sole trader or equal partner, your small business will require you to act as supervisor to other people also. How you treat your employees will have a knock-on effect on how successful the company is: happy employees equal happy customers.
Many franchisees will never have acted as a boss before, and while the franchisor’s training will usually provide guidance on how to hire and monitor staff, carrying the task out can be a culture shock. For some it results in becoming authoritarian, while others may try too hard to be their employees’ best friend, thus losing respect. Staying away from the following will help to strike a balance between the two:
1. “It’s always been done this way.”
This is particularly relevant for a franchise. While the business model has been proven time and again to be successful, there are always ways for it to be improved. Times change, countries’ cultures are different, and the rules must be adapted accordingly. Employees are more likely to challenge once they feel they have a good grasp on the system, and as long as their innovative ideas are suggested in a mature manner, they should be given full attention.
2. “This is MY company.”
It is important not to let the whole being-your-own-boss element go to your head. Stay away from emphasising rank. Don’t worry, your followers are well aware that you are in charge, and they will not appreciate being reminded about it. It’s like being fashionable; if you have to tell someone that you are, then it means you’re not.
3. “What’s the latest gossip?”
Tempting as this may be, it is not wise for an employer. The boss sets a company’s tone, and if you blather about staff members, you are giving the impression that it is acceptable to do so. The environment must not be toxic.
4. “I’m too busy.”
Starting up your own business (unless it’s a part time one) is renowned for initially demanding extra hours and work. You are going to be occupied, but you cannot afford to be so dismissive and show such a lack of empathy towards your employees. Rather than reject them, ask them to come back at a later time when you will be more available (and see it through!).
5. “That is just a small client.”
For some of the popular franchise industries such as fast food or home care, customers are all the same size and therefore this doesn’t apply. However, there are many sectors – the B2B services in particular – that deal with clients of a range of dimensions. Employees must learn not to treat the low-paying customers as if they are any less worthy. Doing so would also cause competition amongst your staff as they fight over who gets to work on the big accounts.
6. “Just let me do it.”
Even if you are more than just a manager – i.e. you are hands-on when it comes to providing the service – the company will not grow if you do it all yourself. The staff must learn to be self-sufficient, and this will not be possible if you continuously step in and prevent them from gaining experience.