Embrace change in franchising now, before it hurts

And no matter what your opinion is on the above issues or countless others affecting the industry, the one thing that is certain for all is that change is coming.


The best time to embrace change is when you see it from far away - when you can plan for it before it hurts you. But that’s also the hardest time to change. Why would you want to disrupt operations when things are still working? Why take on that pain? A lot of franchisors can’t seem to find the will to change until circumstances force the necessity. Far too often at the point, it’s too late.


Take for example traditional television advertising. My boys are 11 and 6. They’ve grown up with a device in their hand. They demand streaming video with no commercial interruption. And if we watch regular TV, it is usually on-demand or recorded on the DVR. They don’t have the wiring anymore for a minutes long block of unwanted interruption.


The point is that television is running on an outdated model. A whole generation of children are growing up demanding a completely new experience and what are ad agencies and television networks doing about it – not enough as far as I can see. You know who also didn’t do enough? Blockbuster, Kodak, newspapers and magazines – just to name a few.


I get it. Change is hard. I struggle with it constantly – in my business and in my life. Consistency is easy, but it can lead to complacency. That’s why I admire so many franchise brands out there that are willing to change. The companies that know five years from now, consumer behaviors will be completely different and are working to remodel their stores, shrink their boxes and accentuate off-premise consumption while also being great community leaders.


You have to be proactive in life and in business because change is coming no matter what. You can’t wait for the change because that is when it hurts the most. You have to be the change. It’s ok to be disruptive. In fact, it’s healthy. And yes, you’ll create distress along the way – but without some pain, there is no gain. Because the alternative is watching regular TV, which I suspect we won’t be doing a lot of in the very near future.