If this past week has taught us anything, we should always be prepared for the unexpected. As we saw last Tuesday night, just about every single political poll (and pundit) thought they had the U.S. Presidential election predicted correctly all the way down to the county-by-county level across America. And they were dead wrong. One can only imagine how the news networks were scrambling behind the scenes to dash off new talking points, update graphics and toss aside their carefully prepared remarks. News crew re-allocations and surrogate swapping interviews were cobbled together at a moment’s notice as the narrative dramatically changed by the hour.
There is a lesson here, of course. And it extends to business and franchising in particular. You have to plan for the unforeseen at all times.
What should franchise brands do to train their franchisees for the unanticipated? Let’s begin with the assumption that the unexpected is just that—an unpredicted circumstance that has the ability to disrupt operations, stall revenue growth and possibly inflict negative press on the brand itself. We can think of one world-class example over this past year in the QSR category and we’re also betting we don’t even have to divulge the organization by name.
But during this week’s blog edition, we’re going to cover preparedness and how a good plan can go a long way to intervening in a startling situation.
First and foremost, if you’re a franchisor and you don’t have a crisis communication plan, you’re already behind in the game of risk mitigation. In fact, many franchise brands do have very intricate plans in place, offering detailed advice on what to do in a myriad of unexpected circumstances. If you aren’t among them, you need to be. Creating a crisis communications plan from scratch—or even revising an existing or dated version, is a lot easier than you think.
If you’re wondering how specific you need to get when developing a plan, there is an amazing amount of information on how to create a crisis communications handbook. As your organization’s leadership brainstorms the multitude of things that could go wrong that need to be addressed, look to others who have successfully managed a crisis. There are some inspiring examples discovered on a simple Internet search.
Keep in mind that different franchisor category should—and will—have their own set of unique unexpected circumstances. And the possibility of them should already be at least familiar to your organization’s executive leadership team. But one factor of unexpectedness is universal: social media. We’ve seen time and time again how the careless use of a social media channel (primarily Twitter) has gotten many a brand in hot water. More and more organizations are laying the groundwork for their own social media policies with a collection of dos and don’ts available to the entire organization from the CEO on down.
What franchisors need to take away from this blog is that the unexpected can quite literally be anything. Maybe it’s a tornado, fire, earthquake, or—heaven forbid, gun violence. Perhaps it’s an errant Tweet or a rogue employee who goes viral or a robbery attempt at one of your franchise locations.
It’s impossible to account for every unexpected circumstance, but there are clear paths to alleviating its effect on your bottom line. So become prepared.
As a franchisor, the best way to start your crisis plan is to figure out which existing and potential franchisees best fit your business concept. Proven Match is the proven solution in determining those factors. Through our proven behavioral assessment techniques, predictive analysis becomes a predictive success for your franchise concept. If you’re ready to show your leadership by getting started, give us a call and we’ll put you on the path to a more productive year in 2016.