You are a newly minted franchisor or an emerging brand and are wearing all the hats. The question I often get is what position should be my first hire? It’s a great question that doesn’t necessarily have a definitive answer. The automatic answer is to hire for what you are weakest at and focus on your strengths. I agree that strategy should be taken into account but I also believe there is a methodical approach to arrive at a single answer.
What are the core franchise departments?
Franchisors can be broken down in core departments of which can get more granule as you span the org chart and as the franchise brand grows. For the sake of answering our primary question I argue their is Sales (Franchise Dev), Legal, Marketing, Operations, Finance, Human Resources, and Real Estate. All these functions are important and one can argue for each one to be the most important function of running a franchise operations. If you can sell a ton of franchise territories but you cannot get them open; what’s the point? If you have no marketing plan and you open all these units but they cannot ramp; what’s the point? A friend of my once said a good franchise takes a lot of franchisees, who are making a lot of money and are really happy. It takes all departments and functions to make that happen.
So if all franchise departments and functions are important how do you choose a first position to hire for?
To answer that question we have to ask another question. What function can you not outsource?
Legal is typically not in house at the start rather franchisors engage firms that specialize in franchise law. There are so many great firms out there. I have listed a few below to get you started. Also check out the International Franchise Association (IFA) supplier list for more information about these or other resources for franchisors.
- Spadea Lignana – https://www.spadealaw.com/
- Fisher Zucker – https://fisherzucker.com/
- DLA Piper – https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/
If you can sell… SELL! But if its not your forte you can use a Franchise Sales Outsourcing (FSO) company. This group can be your outsourced sales team while providing an inside sales experience and intimate brand relationship.
By no means downplaying the importance of HR. The need might not exists in its full capacity when its just the founder(s) and one or two team members. In this case use services such as ADP and Paychex to help supplement portions of the HR role. Supplementing is only in the short term though ; )
Here we are talking about accounting, budgeting, forecasting, P&L review. The right accountant or accounting firm can easily support this in the early days. As you expand a fractional CFO could be a great addition as well.
Marketing is extremely important when defining you brand, brand guidelines, signage guidelines, marketing strategy, Grand Opening events etc. You name it; it matters. But.. and you knew there would be a but fractional CMO’s, Franchise Consultants, top Franchise Marketing organizations can all assist, support and implement marketing in the early days.
What’s the answer…
The first franchise hire we recommend is in the operations function. Operations is one of the hardest positions to outsource while still maintaining knowledge, brand consistency and continual improvement. One can argue secret shops, or outsourced consultants can plug holes in operations. Great operations though takes someone who knows the brand, knows how to run day to day operations, has relationships with the franchisees and solve challenges on the fly. Hiring a great operations manager, field consultant or more senior operations related role will be the best investment you can make.
Find someone who has the ability to also wear more than one hat by assisting in some of the above functions. This would be the cherry on top. Top franchise talent that is. If you looking for franchise operations team members or a franchise role in any of the departments above please reach out to Tim Katsch; Chief People Officer at Coach-UpWorldwide.com & FranchiseHire.com
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