The Role of Mentoring
Alan Payne | General Manager | Mr Rental
"If you are looking for a franchise opportunity and you are trying to evaluate whether a franchise system is worthwhile buying into, its mentoring program should be on your list of things to investigate in.
I found it being important that new and existing franchisees are mentored and guided by a business coach rather than an area manager or a field manager. This puts the emphasis on guidance and positive reinforcement combined with adherence to standards rather than managing franchisees.
The advantage I see in this approach is that it encourages active participation from franchisees and promotes ideas and solutions generated by franchisees. If you are searching for a franchise opportunity that allows you to take ownership and responsibility for your business, to be accountable for your business and to be involved in the action planning for the growth of your business, my advice would be to look at franchise systems that emphasise this approach.
There certainly needs to be a healthy balance between the protection of the brand for everyone's sake and the development of the Franchisee's business. We prefer not to engage in store audits or performance checklists but we have quarterly Business Development Reviews. The Business Development Reviews address all areas of compliance but, unlike in store audits or performance checklists, they promote self regulation by franchisees. This caters for a more mature franchisor - franchisee relationship than a top down franchisor to franchisee management approach does. More resources such as time, team, money and energy can then be devoted to business development.
Franchise opportunities with high emphasis on mentoring want their franchisees to grow as personally and as business owners and give them the tools to do so. To give you a practical example, at Mr Rental, we encourage our franchisees from the first training day to think proactively how they can grow their business and resolve problems. At the same time we put forward to our franchisees to use the resources we provide and to interact with the Franchisee Network, the National Support Office team members and their business coach who is the front line connection between Franchisor and Franchisees in the Mr Rental system.
A key element of the mentoring process is also the common thread that runs through all stages of the relationship from the initial Business Plan completed by prospective Franchisees through the Business Development Reviews which work towards this Business Plan.
If you were to take on a Mr Rental franchise opportunity, you would be mentored in a 3 tiered approach starting with developing your business and personal goals and converting them to a financial budget with supporting marketing, operations and team plans. Each of the financial goals (Sales, GP, Expenses, Net Profit, Cash Flow etc) are linked to a number of Key Performance Indicators that produce these financial outcomes. Our proprietary software, Cairo, produces KPI reports in real time via the intranet, which is available to all stakeholders. These KPIs are then linked to the various activities that drive them. All 3 tiers are reported separately but allow all stakeholders to "drill down" to identify opportunities for growth and improvement, using a logical approach.
It is the mentoring approach coupled with the test and measure approach as well as the3 tier methodology and our culture that makes our coach be truly seen as a mentor who guides and mentors rather than manages and directs. A positive by product of this approach is that Franchisees share a common language and value system with the Franchisor and among themselves. The mentoring approach empowers them and makes our franchisees feel confident enough to mentor each other, in particular new Franchisees.
It really is a win-win situation. Our franchisees enjoy their sense of ownership and control with the guidance of an experienced business coach and National Support Office. At the same time, the more our franchisees grow as business owners, regulate and control their own business within the company standards and lead their business to success, the more we can dedicate our time and resources on a National level to grow the business overall. This is what I see the role of mentoring in building a successful franchise system being."
For more information on the Mr Rental franchise opportunities, go to their company listing under A-Z Franchise Listing. For other retail franchises, look up the Retail Franchise section on topfranchise.com.au. Visit our home page for other franchising opportunities.