Franchises are notoriously popular because they come with a built-in business model and all the tools and support that are needed for success. Some franchises have better models and support systems than others, but few of them just send their new franchisees out into the world to fend for themselves. When you’re just starting out in business, it’s a great way to get to the top without having to do the work yourself.
Of course, owning a franchise comes with a lot of responsibility, and probably a lot of regular business just because of the franchise name. That can make it difficult to juggle all the tasks, clients, and things that need attention in a day, a week, and over the years. That’s where project management skills come in handy. If you’ve ever worked in any type of role where you’ve been in charge of projects and tasks, you likely have some degree of these skills already.
Project management is all about learning how to properly manage people, workflows, and budgets to keep projects on track and on cost while you work to meet the various objectives of the business. Here are some tips to help you turn your franchise into a well-oiled machine by putting your project management skills to use.
The scope of a project includes:
In simpler terms for those who aren’t familiar with the world of project management, defining a scope simply means figuring out:
Deliverables are the items that will show that you’ve completed your objectives. For example, you might want to run a spring sales campaign to ensure that the warm weather doesn’t distract customers too much. Your objective here is to drive more sales during the spring months (plus whatever others you come up with).
A deliverable to prove that this goal has been met would be a sales report with increased transactions, profits, customers per hour (for restaurant franchises), and so forth.
Aside from improper management, a big reason that projects fail or go off the rails is because of a lack of communication and teamwork. People might say that they’re working together but doing that effectively doesn’t always go as planned. Plus, if you don’t set your people up for success with the tools they need, they won’t be able to communicate and work together effectively even if they want to.
If you’re doing in-person projects and tasks, make sure that open communication and transparency are expressed first and foremost. Explain to people what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. That will get you a much better response than just setting people to task with no explanation.
In the same regard, make sure that you are open to questions, concerns, and other communication from your people. If they don’t feel comfortable coming to you, they’re not going to speak up as freely. This could hinder projects and your franchise’s day-to-day operations in general.
If your franchise team is communicating digitally, use communication tools and apps where you can connect and collaborate in a single space, share ideas and resources, and so forth.
People like to be given tasks and duties. They like instruction and clear direction because it makes whatever they’re doing that much easier. If you’re not good at delegating and managing a project, maybe you need to assign someone else to be in charge—that in itself is delegation at its finest. You should have dedicated people or teams for each task and make sure that everyone knows what they’re responsible for. Accountability goes a long way in successful project management, but you can’t hold people accountable if you didn’t give them the responsibility in the first place.
No one likes to think that their project will get off track. However, it inevitably happens more often than not. That’s why the best project managers recommend having a built-in plan for obstacles and challenges that arise while you’re trying to complete a project. This will save you a lot of stress and make sure that you’ve got the flexibility to allow your team to find a workaround or resolve the issues.
Be ready for anything that comes up. Leave a little room in the project schedule and budget for unexpected events or occurrences. Be realistic about timelines and how quickly things can get done, or you’re always going to be rushing to get there in time.
Project management can be a full-time job for some people. And when you’re already in charge of running a franchise and managing a team of employees, one more thing is the last thing that you need. Fortunately, there’s another option. You can outsource and hire a project management consultant or consulting firm. They will be able to help you effectively plan and execute projects of all types for your franchise.
Consultants may even be able to help you see which types of projects need your attention or what campaigns could help you drive business. If you’re not a marketing expert, that kind of insight can be invaluable. Plus, outsourcing costs a fraction of a project manager’s salary, and you get the same high-quality support and skill.
While you’re handling projects and running your franchise, do you have someone to field the incoming leads and inquiries from clients? This is another part of the business you can outsource—partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai and you’ll get a 24/7 answering service so you never miss an opportunity, along with assistance for lead intake, appointment scheduling, and even your outreach campaigns to get those leads in the first place.