Franchise Awards Worth Considering?

Here FDS Southern’s Gary Rigby gives readers of The Franchise Magazine exclusive insight into the benefits of national franchise awards and how to prepare for them.

Why Participate? As any franchise develops, there arises opportunities for a franchisor to participate in a number of promotional activities. One of these is the involvement in a nationally recognised award structure that promotes standards within the franchising industry. Participation can be extremely beneficial, however time should be taken in preparing the presentation of the franchise to an accredited judging panel of experts. Awards present an opportunity to promote the business acumen of the franchisor and gain positive recognition as a leading franchise within a sector. Of course, the ultimate reward for participation is the chance to obtain an accolade of excellence that potential franchise owners can respond to when considering purchasing a franchise.

The Judging Process It is important to understand what judges are looking for with any award – this is often provided in a remit, which clearly defines the criteria required. There may be a review of the franchise network as to how the franchisor is perceived by its franchise owners; good relations are essential for future success. Conducting a 360⁰ evaluation of the network annually will give a strong indication of both strengths and weaknesses.

In effect, the judges are assessing comparable services that are provided to the franchise network, both in qualitative and quantitative measures. Some franchise opportunities by their very nature achieve high turnover/profitability, whereas others can have a relatively low turnover/margin, this is how the judges perceive and differentiate between the well-known brands and smaller start-up franchises.

The quality of the presentation and the thought given to the information provided to the judging panel is vital – preparation is essential to ensure professionalism. The history of the franchise, how it has developed and the future goals are all vital components of a stand-out presentation. Above all, be prepared. If the presentation time is 15 minutes, ensure that you clearly define your message within the period allocated. Ensure you have the presentation in a ready and available format, this will avoid awkward situations in front of the judging panel. If asked to provide a written summary, do not miss the opportunity as often judges will read and research prior to the judging. Having recently been invited to judge at The Best Franchise Awards, organised by Smith & Henderson and sponsored by Lloyds Bank, it was a valuable opportunity to consider not only the different types of franchises but also their specific franchise offerings.

Smith & Henderson Steven Frost explains: “What makes the Best Franchise Awards unique is they are based on feedback from thousands of actual franchise owners. Smith & Henderson, which coordinates the awards programme, invites these to complete a confidential survey, which includes questions about training and support provided by their franchisor, their relationship and overall franchise ownership experience. Only based on this independent feedback, the top franchisors are then shortlisted for the awards. Franchisors can use the anonymous feedback to benchmark their performance, identify areas for improvement and build an even stronger franchise network.”