By: Kim Kieffer
When you join a franchise system, you become a member of an experienced group of business owners dedicated to providing you with invaluable franchise advice and support. Being part of a franchise gives you access to the marketing & operational systems, technology and data that can help accelerate the growth and development of your local business. One way that a franchisor keeps in tune with its organizational needs is to establish a franchise advisory council. This council is made up of franchise owners, and in many cases these franchisees are elected by their peers to represent their interests.
What Is Spring-Green’s Franchise Advisory Council?
Spring-Green has a National Advisory Council (NAC) with regional representation based on the various turf grass types and services offered by area. This five-person advisory board is composed of experienced franchise owners that are elected by their peers. Our NAC meets twice a year formally to discuss the franchise system and issues that are important to it as a whole, but naturally, some issues are discussed that are unique to a certain geographic region or franchise. Our meetings cover the following categories: Franchise Relations, Training & Support, Marketing & Technology, Profitability and Environmental & Regulatory.
How Do Typical Franchise Advisory Councils Work?
If a franchisor has created an Advisory Council, a fee may be disclosed in the Franchise Disclosure Document when you join the system. This fee is typically collected to offset the travel costs of the franchise owners who participate. Some Advisory Councils may meet more frequently or use teleconferencing as a means to connect regularly. Another best practice used by Spring-Green is the use of a private forum established on the company’s Intranet, which allows our franchise advice and support to extend beyond our regular meetings.
The number of people on an Advisory Council can depend on the type of business and size of the franchise system, but five to seven members is usually a good size. To help its Advisory Council accomplish as much as possible, some franchisors may set up other sub-committees that may report their activity to the Advisory Council. These committees could be established as needed or may be permanent. This allows them to focus on certain topics or current issues affecting the franchise without being a distraction to the Advisory Council. An example would be an operations or marketing sub-committee established to test and rollout a new technology platform. Naturally, this affects the entire system, and beta testing the rollout would be a good best practice.
Whether you are considering a Spring-Green franchise or another franchise, here are five important benefits of an Advisory Council.
Benefit #1: Team Approach
A well-run Franchise Advisory Council reflects a team approach, and we believe every system should have one. Here at Spring-Green, we both operate our own franchises and have a strong Advisory Council. Spring-Green’s President, James Young, is often quoted as saying, “The strength of franchising lies within the collective knowledge of its franchise owners, support center staff and company owned franchises. By working together, we continue to address the real world challenges our strategic partners face and harness opportunities to improve profitable growth even faster.” Our company-owned franchises allow us to test new concepts in advance of system-wide rollout so we avoid making costly mistakes yet continue to work to improve our service to our customers. Satisfied customers strengthen all of us.
Benefit #2: Education
By being part of an Advisory Council, franchise owners can play an influential role in the overall operations of the business. Franchisees who meet with other franchise owners on an Advisory Council will gain a new perspective on their business that can help them make better, more informed business decisions.
Benefit #3: Networking
Advisory Council members get to meet and work with their counterparts in other parts of the franchise network. Generally, the franchise owners who join the Advisory Council are the best and brightest. By sharing ideas with these owners, valuable business relationships can be formed.
Benefit #4: Goal Setting
Advisory Council members have the opportunity to help shape franchise policy and to improve the operation of the business as a whole. Although members should not use the council as a way to pursue their individual goals, they can take part in planning constructive goals for the entire system.
Benefit #5: Communication
Advisory Councils do not have decision-making authority, but they do provide the franchisor with valuable information. In fact, it is rare that a franchisor would ignore the recommendations of an Advisory Council. Some of the topics that Advisory Councils discuss include operations, goods and services, advertising, marketing, equipment, government regulations and corporate policy.
At Spring-Green, we feel that this communication with our franchise owners makes us stronger. In today’s business world, it is easy to lose time and customers though inaction. Our Franchise Advisory Council helps us deal with a problem before it grows. We realize that it is our franchisees who interact with our customers face-to-face on a daily basis, so their knowledge is invaluable.
Our National Advisory Council provides us an important two-way communication system that fosters constructive conversations and the sharing of new ideas which makes us all better at fulfilling our mission.
Spring-Green has been beautifying America’s neighborhood lawns and landscapes for more than 38 years. Our locally owned and operated network of lawn care professionals offer quality service performed in an environmentally responsible manner. We encourage you to explore the other benefits of becoming a Spring-Green franchise owner.