If you lead, they will follow

When I attended IFA (International Franchise Association) I learned that there were several franchisors that did not make it due to the poor economy. There are several more that may not make it this year.

I will admit that COMPUTER EXPLORERS  was rattled. We  asked ourselves if the poor economy would force us to quit. When I say “we” I mean both corporate and franchisees.  In a strategic planning session late last year we answered that question. It was decided that we DO NOT want to quit nor continue as status quo. What is needed for COMPUTER EXPLORERS is to seriously look at the model, opportunities and possible changes. We are doing that.

What  I am also finding is that the effects of the economy shook some of my franchisees to their inner core.  I have conducted serious discussions about their future. Do they have what it takes to continue? Can they move from fear to fight? Are they planning to close or to lead?  If they choose to lead what is needed from them to lead their team? What changes if any do they as a franchisee need to make to survive? The conversations are hard. Honesty is a must in order to move forward.

Sometimes I need to call in reinforcements to help me with these discussions. Strong business coaches that will make my franchisees dig deep and discuss  their plans and strategies about the future of their  business. Coaches that will not accept the standard “I plan to grow my business” but make them articulate the how and why in detail. Coaches that will push for clarity and discuss their why and detail the how.

Some of the reinforcements I have worked with are the best in the franchise industry: David Handler, Joe Mathews and Flo Schell to mention a few. My latest recruit is Randy Hall, CEO 4th Gear Consulting. In the short time I have worked with Randy I have grown to respect and trust his coaching skills. Randy is not only a coach but a presenter and I look forward to his presentation at our annual conference in March.

Last week a group of franchisees exerted emotional labor on a call with Randy. They love their business, pour their heart and soul into the daily activities and without realizing it they are the “Linchpins” that Seth Godin writes about. They are the essential building blocks of our franchise system. They speak frankly about their needs and challenges as a franchisee. They are not afraid to address what  they are not receiving from the corporate office. But they do it constructively and with a purpose to improve the system.

As President & CEO of COMPUTER EXPLORERS I know that there will always be franchisees that will leave the system. It will be a decision that is right for them as individuals and for the system. I am confident that the franchisees that plan to continue will lead their business by working hard. They will attend conference in March with a goal to succeed and an open mind to new strategies. Leading franchisees will continue to work with business coaches and not be afraid to put themselves out there. They will make a committment to build a stronger business which naturally build a stronger system.

I don’t want to quit. I plan to be a strong leader and dig much deeper into the how I plan to lead.