Use the Power of Mentoring to Boost Your Franchise’s Success
I would like to start this article with statements that summarize comments I have heard from many franchise executives over the years . . .
The bad . . .
“We tried mentoring and it didn’t work, “The mentors are telling their mentees to go outside the system,” and “the mentors are not meeting with their mentees.”
The good . . .
“Nothing works like mentoring,” “When they hear from the mentor, they do it,” and “It’s a game-changer.”
The difference is simple – an effectively run mentoring program or a thrown-together program.
The goals of this article are to help you understand how great a successful mentoring program can be, and to help you get the good feedback.
Start a Mentoring Program in Your Franchise
I have always been a great believer in mentoring. I have mentored owners in the franchises I have led. I have also had mentors of my own – highly experienced executives who shared their knowledge with me and guided me.
At every stage in my mentoring activities, I felt as though I always saw some extra benefit happening – something I could not completely explain. People on both sides of the mentoring relationship were doing more than just sharing information. They were being elevated – achieving greater profits, retaining their employees longer, and simply getting more done.
Unlocking the Benefits of Mentoring
I recently moderated a Training Unleashed Podcast with Kevin Harrington and Mark Timm, two highly successful entrepreneurs who believe that the more you mentor others, the more success will come back to you.
Kevin was one of the original sharks on the hit television show Shark Tank. He is also recognized as the man who invented the infomercial. Mark, who calls himself a “serial entrepreneur,” has built successful companies in more than a dozen countries, from retail to wholesale to manufacturing and real estate.
And these men are completely committed to mentoring. They believe so strongly in it that they made it the focus of their new book, Mentor to Millions: Secrets of Success in Business, Relationships, and Beyond.
Both men told me that their success was transformed when they were working with the son of Zig Ziglar, the visionary business thinker who believed “you can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
Opportunities to Benefit from Mentoring in Your Franchise
Having your franchisees work with more experienced mentors can truly put the power of human relationships back into your entire franchise organization.
Here are some steps to unlock the power of mentoring and achieve the most benefit from it.
Create a Mentoring Program in Your Franchise Organization
Instead of sitting back and waiting for your franchisees to find mentors, establish a formal mentoring program that matches mentor/mentee pairs together. And when you do, be sure to announce it in your sales activities. It will help prospective owners know that you want to see them succeed.
Formalize Mentoring Relationships
As relationships are formed, make them official with a statement like, “Paul, John is now your mentor.” Consider having each mentoring relationship last for a finite amount of time, perhaps one year, before new mentoring matches are made. In that way, owners can benefit from being mentored by multiple experienced franchise owners within your organization.
Create a Structure for Mentoring Relationships
Of course, the mentor should be available on an “as needed” basis to provide counsel when needed. But the mentoring relationship will be more productive when a structure supports it, such as . . .
- Mentors and mentees have a short weekly check-in call scheduled every Friday morning.
- They will have longer sessions together every year at your annual franchise convention or franchise council meeting.
- Franchisees who have been mentored can graduate up and become mentors.
Train Your Mentors
Don’t assume your mentor volunteers understand how to be a mentor. Mentor training is important to make sure your program is effective. You need to spend time to determine what an effective mentor does, how often they meet, how they onboard the mentee, and other important skills to master.
Meet with Your Mentors
Have regular meetings and ongoing training with the mentors, let them each share what is going on and what they are doing. These meetings will create an accountability check and assure they are not ignoring their mentees. These meetings should be every month, every six weeks, or every other month.
Have Your Franchise Business Consultants Check in with Mentors
It is important the mentor and the Franchise Business Consultant be in sync. This is why they can work together to get best results.
Share the News of Mentoring Success
Communicate news about your mentoring pairs in your emailed franchise newsletters, in email blasts, on social media and in other ways.
Never Stop Mentoring a Wide Range of People!
You can mentor younger people who are just starting out in their franchising careers. You can mentor people who are at mid-career transition points. The fact is, you can mentor people at all stages of their life journeys – and they can mentor you.
If you embark on this path, I believe you will discover what I have about mentoring. It repays you in more ways than you expect. That’s what Kevin and Mark told me. And do you know, they are right.
About Evan Hackel
Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and a franchisee. He is principal and founder of Ingage Consulting in Woburn, Massachusetts. Evan is also the host of the highly successful Training Unleashed podcasts and author of the book Ingaging Leadership Meets the Younger Generation. Evan is a frequent keynote speaker at franchising expos and other events. For more information, visit evanhackelspeaks.com and follow him at @ehackel