Running a successful franchise as the head honcho only goes so far. Eventually you’ll want to diversify your portfolio by investing in another franchise, or opening up another location. Many franchisees find the latter much easier as they already know the ins and outs of starting up a franchise location and pushing it to fruition. That means someday it’ll be time to turn over control to a qualified General Manager who can run your franchise location and make sure it maintains the same standards you set forth. What exactly should you look for in a good General Manager, and what red flags should you identify early on?
LOOK FOR INITIATIVE
General Managers know that running a franchise location means getting into every facet of the business. It’s not enough to sit back and delegate tasks. A good General Manager needs to lead by example, just as a boss would do. Not only does this foster a great sense of team spirit, but it can make employees feel more comfortable if they have a positive-minded leader at the helm.
Keep an eye out for General Manager candidates who think they are above a particular task. This is a major cautionary flag to watch out for, and these potentials won’t hesitate to cruise along and do the bare minimum (or worse) on your dime. Their lax attitudes will trickle down to your employees, and your customers will take notice. Choose leaders whose egos are smaller than their qualifications.
A good General Manager is just as interested in making your franchise location a success as you are. They will end up being the face of the business, at least in spirit. As such, make sure to look for a candidate who isn’t interested simply in getting a paycheck, but contributing as a part of the team. Be on the lookout for enthusiastic candidates with fresh new ideas or examples of major challenges they overcame for the betterment of past businesses.
On the flip side, watch out for those who talk the talk, but fail to walk the walk. These candidates will embellish their resumés while giving generic, broad-stroked answers to specific questions in an attempt to throw you off. Focus on candidates who can cite specific details and really get to the nitty gritty of their experience, accomplishments and overall vision for your franchise.
CHOOSE A DIPLOMAT
Conflicts are going to arise regardless of the situation. It’s simply part of owning a franchise. When customers become irate for no reason, or upset because of an error on their order, you’re going to need a cool head and a charming face to right the wrongs. Oftentimes the General Manager will need to emerge from the back and personally address patrons, and that’s not a bad thing. They can also help train employees on how to defuse hot situations.
Don’t forget about employee relationships, either. Not everyone is going to get along, and when the workers get riled up, it pays to have a General Manager who can take charge, put people back in line, and move towards reconciliation. You’ll want someone tough, no-nonsense, yet fair and honest, otherwise employees simply won’t tune in.
NO PASSING THE BUCK
Everyone wants to be a manager, but few truly understand the ramifications of the position. Most times, General Managers have an unglamorous job keeping track of everything from inventory to special events, and employee issues. When something goes wrong (and it will), the last thing you’ll want is someone who shifts the blame onto their employees, or attempts to downplay its significance.
Good General Managers know that messing up is part of the journey, and how they deal with a problem will speak volumes about their character. If criticism provokes a guarded or hostile response, you are dealing with an insecure Manager who is unfit to lead. If you find that your candidate acknowledges the issue and then immediately takes steps to prevent it from happening again, you may wish to plan out a raise for them in the coming months.
PROBLEM-SOLVING IS A MUST
Situations will always arise that challenge a franchise, be it a slow economy or a broken appliance. Whether great or small, all problems should be met head-on by a General Manager who thinks rationally and is ready to make moves. The last thing you want in a General Manager is indecisiveness, which can be devastating.
The secret is understanding that not all General Managers need to know the immediate solution to a problem, but rather simply demonstrate the willingness to figure it out. By refusing to bow to panic and insecurity, a good General Manager will compartmentalize the situation and deal with it accordingly through delegation, common sense and a little planning.
We hope these tips are beneficial when choosing your General Manager. Remember that it’s not always about experience or accomplishments, but street smarts and a keen mind. Hiring and trusting in the right people can be a major lift to your franchise, so pick a good one! For information on how to do this, contact us today!