Inspiring Millennials in Franchising: Part 1

Entitled, narcissistic, idealistic, lazy, unfocused and spineless, these are the terms used to describe the millennial generation (PWC, Millennials at Work, Reshaping the Workplace). Often, these are the expectations of and perceptions towards those who will be the next generation of franchisees. Perhaps, this is why the biggest challenges franchisors face is finding those who are ‘good quality’. I’d like to propose that by adopting the following philosophies you can help develop your franchisees further and better benefit their lives.

Is every franchisee 100% ready to start a franchise with the perfect setup in terms of finances, knowledge, business experience, industry experience and sales skills? Obviously, the answer is no, a small proportion are, but for most we have to input time and effort into developing and supporting them to grow their business. And for many, this is what makes being a franchisor so rewarding.

If at this point you’re thinking, ‘I don’t really care too much as long as they pay my fee’ then there’s no point wasting your next five minutes reading on. But if, like us, you’re incredibly passionate about building relationships and growing franchisees as individuals and businesses then read on.

The reason we focus on the millennial generation is because these will make up the bulk of your franchise network over the next decade. Franchising is growing fast in the UK, with 14% increase in the number of franchise-owned businesses in the last two reported years (BFA/Natwest Franchise Survey, January, 2016). Additionally, 40% of new franchisees are between the ages of 21 and 40, which closely matches the millennial age bracket (those born from 1981 to 2001). If you can inspire these to come on board then you have the opportunity of an incredibly fulfilling business and a successful one.

But wait, all this talk of ‘inspiring franchisees’, aren’t they said to be “entitled, narcissistic, idealistic, lazy, unfocused and spineless”, so how do I ‘inspire’ them?

Let’s start at the beginning, firstly, if you, like many still consider this generation as described above then you need to remove those expectations. People have a knack of living up (or down) to the expectations set. After this, I believe it boils down to one key element – mentoring.

Below are three true stories about Joe, James, and Kirsty who are all Millennials and successful in their own right. They aren’t all franchising analogies, but they speak clear truths about how the Millennial generation have been conditioned and how to help.

I have a close friend called Joe. He used to struggle through school not really being that interested and never really knew what he wanted to do after. When he came to the end of his compulsory schooling he had no idea what to do and kind of fell into a carpentry apprenticeship. But in that apprenticeship, he found David who was passionate about carpentry. David had high expectations of Joe and helped Joe to be passionate too. By the end of his apprenticeship, Joe had won young carpenter of the year.

What about James? At 16 James broke his back during his pilot’s training, but by 17 was the youngest person to ever receive a pilot’s license. Since then James set up 4 business, 2 international business before the age of 20. It’s clear James has drive and ambition right? Yet, even with this drive, at 22 he had the support of a mentor who informed, helped and guided him in the creation and running of his most recent business where he sells airplanes.

And finally, Kirsty. At 21 Kirsty, was one of the first franchisees of The Futsal Partnership, now at 24 after building a successful and stable franchise, she owns a Master licence franchise and is supporting others to do the same. Along the way she has been supported by Matt, franchisor and passionate advocate of supporting young franchisees.

As I mentioned before, in all of these scenarios there is an individual who has the capacity to achieve great things, however, they’ve never done it alone. In every scenario a mentor has played a pivotal role in their success. As a franchisor, this is you!

This article is part 1 of a series of articles delving into the mindset of millennials and how to gear your franchise up to be successful within the millennial generation. It is written by Kieran James, 28-year-old business leader of Stryde, husband, soon to be father of two and passionate developer of people.

If you’d like to find out more about how we’re supporting franchisee mentorship, please call 0330 043 4589 or email

Read Inspiring Millennials in Franchising: Part 2


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