Sometimes franchises reach new heights of success when they plan and execute major changes. They change their product offering, expand into new countries, add new lines of business, or implement major new marketing programs.

But I would like to offer my opinion that significant improvements often result from smaller changes, like these:

    • Franchise A creates a buying service which enables franchisees to get lower prices and better service, resulting in an across-the board profit increase of 5%. Although not sexy, impactful.
    • Franchise B implements a learning management system which reduces training costs and results in improving Net Promoter Score by 10 points and increasing sales by 20%. Although not sexy, impactful.
  • Franchise C implements a new compensation package and bonus system that reduces turnover by 50%, saving the company money in hiring and training and resulting in improving net profit by 3% due to having a more effective, seasoned team.

How Can You Plan to Make Changes Like Those?

As you can see, several small changes made in concert can result in profit increases that are on a par with those that result from major changes. But how can you plan those changes? Aren’t they difficult to conceptualize or incorporate into your company strategy for the coming year?

Well, yes and no, because you can make plans to connect openly and effectively with individual franchisees and uncover a number of seemingly small initiatives which, in sum, can add up to major improvements in operations and profits. In short, as a franchise company you can . . .

Use communication with your franchisees to create new initiatives and to more effectively execute

When you do that, you open floodgates that release a flow of new ideas and plans from the front ranks of your franchise company. And you can do that in 2023 by making plans like these.

Establish or Improve a Franchise Council 

A franchise council is an organization within your organization where individual franchise owners come together – either in-person or virtually – to connect and share their best ideas, discoveries, and suggestions.

Depending on the size of your franchise and the number of your locations, membership could include only four or five individual owners, or as many as 20 if your franchise includes 40, 50 locations or more. You can invite individual franchise owners to become members or ask current owners to nominate other franchise owners who should join. Hold meetings at regular intervals and encourage members to share ideas and make suggestions to the central franchise company.

Use your council to generate those smaller ideas that have big impact.

Establish Sub-Councils and Task Forces

If you have a franchise council, you can set up sub-councils that focus on issues like customer service, marketing, technology, and other critical topics. If you do not yet have a council, you can still invite franchisees to join task forces that address those topics. Again, the result will be that individual owners no longer feel like they are “working in a vacuum.” A new flow of suggestions and ideas will result.

Have a Second Conference Each Year Held Virtually 

This is a low-cost way to improve communication within the system. This can speed up your implementation of programs and give you a second opportunity to launch new initiatives.

Decrease the Volume and Increase Quality of Your Communications

In most cases, franchise systems communicate too often, creating a lack of urgency by the franchisees to read or listen to the communication. Having less communication, but done at a higher quality will greatly improve the effectiveness of communication within your system.

Practice Open and Ingaged Listening with Your Owners

In my book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation, I explain a way of listening that I call Ingaged Listening. To practice it, you simply cultivate the habit of listening for ideas that are right and promising, not wrong. (How many executives are always seeking to find fault? I am afraid that too many of us are.) And when you hear one of those positive “nuggets of wisdom,” be sure to ask about it and ask the speaker to explore and develop it further.

The result will be a flow of good new ideas from the ranks of your franchise owners. Many of them will be actionable new practices like those I listed at the start of this article. One franchisee could take the lead in renegotiating vendor and supplier relationships. Another could develop new training approaches for training your product installers.

There are major plans and then there are minor plans which, in combination with others, can result in significant improvements in your profitability and success.

I hope that 2023 will be the most successful year in the history of your franchise, starting today.


About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel, President of the New England Franchise Association, is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and a franchisee. Evan is an Entrepreneur, Author, Speaker, and Podcaster. Evan is the CEO of Ingage Consulting and an advisor to Tortal Training. Evan is also host of the highly successful Training Unleashed podcasts and author of the book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation.

For more information, visit and follow him on LinkedIn