Every day in the business world, we are inundated by buzzwords and phrases. Disruptor. Bandwidth. Synergy. Move the Needle. Crushing It. You probably have a top 10 list of buzzwords you avoid at all costs. One other popular word in business, often times falling short of the level of buzzword, is mentorship.
In business, mentorship is seen as a "nice to have," like a swimming pool in a new home purchase. It certainly adds value, but at the end of the day, do you really need it? Yes, you do. And in franchising, a failure to mentor could mean poor performance, or worse, total failure for your business.
The World of Franchising
Usually when we think of mentorship we envision helping someone in a new position, or taking a junior employee under your wing. Those forms of mentorship are still important. Yet, the truth is, if you're hiring and promoting the right talent, they're intelligent and driven enough to make sense of the position, the company, or the challenges ahead of them.
Franchising is a whole different ballgame
Looking at the business from a 30,000-foot view, mentorship in franchising might be more important at the franchisee level than at the upper levels of the company. Franchisees are often transitioning from other successful careers and gaining better work-life balance and/or control over their careers. These transitions are often the first experience these professionals have with both franchising and the new industry they've just entered.
Any good franchise will enable a smooth transition. But mentoring, on a peer-to-peer basis, is a crucial element to extending that comfortable transition period straight into success.
The Opposite of Peer Pressure
The simple truth is this: Any communication from headquarters is perceived as a corporate edict. The same information from another franchisee is support. Having access to a reliable, helpful network of colleagues is such an underrated feature in the success of a franchise. Nothing works perfectly in a franchise, particularly the first 18-24 months. That's the period in which new franchisees truly grind, with the promise of a greater payoff in the medium term, not tomorrow. A mentor can help set expectations, share their own experience and, yes, commiserate on the latest policy that came from headquarters.
Beyond the simple peer-to-peer help a mentor provides, having good mentors is equally helpful to the franchise itself. If we are as strong as our weakest link, mentors in the field can...