7 ways to help your franchisee navigate their way out of Struggle Street

Encouraging franchisees out of a slump is in everyone’s best interest. Here are some proven ways you can help them ditch the funk and get motivated again.  

Even the most motivated of us have been there. Struggle Street.

You know it. It’s the place where everything is too hard, where you just can’t be bothered, nothing seems to work and it’s all just blargh!

Lots of things can be the cause of why we end up there. Something has gone particularly bad and coloured everything else, a series of unfortunate events, a disappointment or the position of the planets! I don’t think how we get there matters much as our ability to get out.

Sometimes a good strop is justified and even necessary to work through something, purge the emotion and stomp around in your cranky pants!

A visit to struggle street is OK, the problem is getting stuck there.

For franchisees handling new situations, navigating a business, dealing with competing demands, managing disgruntled staff… not to mention the demands of a franchisor.

The point is there is a lot that can nudge franchisees on a detour down struggle street, and when there they can get apathetic or negative and sometimes even destructive.

As a member of the support team, you are a card carrying cheerleader, sitting on the outskirts of struggle street encouraging franchisees to motor out of there as quickly as possible.

How do you do that? There is no one size fits all solution, but here are some ideas that might help the next time you see a franchisee in a funk and needing a little nudge.

7 ways to help franchisees

1. Shine a light and start talking

Sometimes franchisees don’t know they are on Struggle Street, and may be completely unaware their attitude has slipped. Acknowledging where they are is the first step of making a change.

You can help your franchisee realise they are there by, respectfully, pointing out what’s happening. When a franchisee starts to reflect and talk about what’s going on, you can encourage insight into their situation and behaviour.

‘I’ve noticed the last few times we’ve caught up you’ve been negative, which isn’t like you. Want to talk about it?’

‘It seems you’re dealing with a lot at the moment and it’s getting to you. Let’s have a chat about it.’

2. Don’t join the pity party

The worst thing we can do is go meet a franchisee on Struggle Street. It might feel like we’re empathising, but it’s not useful to join them. Other people’s emotions can trigger our own, so be aware of how you are in the moment.

This is not about you. It’s about helping them.

Franchisees may need to let off steam, which is good, but be careful of joining in or letting it go too far. When they start repeating themselves it’s time to redirect the conversation.

‘I’ve heard what you’re saying, are you ready to start talking about ways to fix it?’

‘You’ve shared a lot of detail on this situation, thank you. How about we now focus on options to work through it?’   

3. Battle overwhelm

You know that moment when everything looks bad and everyone looks like an enemy? My grandad used to call it ‘battle overwhelm’ and the only way to get perspective is to retreat to higher ground. From there you can clearly see what you’re fighting and get a new perspective.

‘You are in the thick of a really tough situation at the moment. Can you take a break? Have a night off? Come back to it with fresh eyes in the morning?’

‘How about we take a few minutes, go for a walk and clear our heads?’ 

4. Revisit the goal

Every franchisee is in their business for a reason – to build wealth, for the flexibility of being their own boss, for a love of the business… whatever their motivation, revisiting their goals helps get perspective and refocus on their why.

‘Yes it’s really tough right now, but you’re on the path to achieving your goal. Let’s put our heads together and work a way out of this.’

‘This is a set back, let’s pull out your business plan and see what we need to tweak to get you back on track to achieving your goal.’

5. Reframe

Telling a franchisee to look on the bright side when all they see is gloom can just make them feel worse. Cognitive reframing is a way of disrupting negative thinking to look at things in a more positive and constructive way.

I dropped an ice cream on a family outing and was told by the youngest ‘oh dear, you were really looking forward to that. Never mind now you won’t have to get up early tomorrow morning and walk off those calories’… reframe level master!

Encouraging franchisees to see setbacks and issues from a different perspective urges them to be solution focused.

 ‘Your manager has resigned the week before your peak trading period. That’s tough…. But this could be an opportunity for you to step back in and realign some of those practices you haven’t been happy with.’   

6. Have some fun

You’re thinking “Yeah, good one Karli – have you every tried to get your fun on with a franchisee in a funk?” The last thing someone on Struggle Street is thinking about is having fun.

But the best way to raise our energy is doing something we enjoy. It could be as simple as encouraging them to go to the park with their kids or taking time out with a coffee and their favourite mag.

Or it could be a longer term strategy of taking up a hobby or incorporating something they find fun in their day to day. Fun is kryptonite to Struggle Street.

‘You’ve been putting in huge hours for a few months and it’s taking it’s toll. How about we look at some ways you can get some time off.’

‘You really love riding your bike it seems to energise you. Given this has been a rough time are you planning on getting out soon?’

7. Encourage them to help someone else

There’s lots of evidence to prove that the more we help others, the more meaning we find in our lives and the happier we are. Helping others makes us feel good.

For a franchisee on Struggle Street helping someone else might give them a break from their own troubles and boost their self-esteem. Having a conversation with a fellow franchisee who is struggling with something they have mastered or mowing their neighbour’s lawn or popping in to support a newbie franchisee on their first day of trade… simple things that have a big impact on the recipient.

When we do good, we feel good.

There is an ebb and flow to motivation. It’s impossible to be A-gaming all the time, so a visit to Struggle Street is OK, sometimes necessary. The trick is knowing when your franchisee needs a nudge [and how you can help them] to navigate their way out.