A recent study in Denmark aimed to study how the organizational model of franchising can be effectively applied in healthcare. The researchers profiled three healthcare franchise businesses in the country, and spoke with the franchisors, the franchisees, and their employees to determine their success.
Over the course of their research, they studied how a strong brand name, support from the franchisors, and general monitoring helped the individual healthcare franchises.
In terms of brand name, they found a strong brand name legitimized the business, therefore increasing the likelihood of survival and positive financial performance. A recognizable brand is also believed to stimulate the quality of care and the work satisfaction because it provides a sense of belonging and additional motivation to perform well for employees.
In terms of support, when the franchisor offered extensive assistance, franchisees saw that as a positive influence. Some support types are generally perceived to be helpful in achieving positive results include: the operations manual, performance measurement and benchmarking, a franchisor representative (account manager), and support that aids in profiling for clients, insurers and the government in an increasingly competitive and complex environment (e.g., via website, lobby, and folders).
Many franchisees expressed gratitude for receiving support in ways that allowed them to spend more time caring for patients. This made the franchise owners happier that they could put their time and efforts into what they truly cared about – helping others.
This support not only helps franchisees, but also increases the confidence of franchisors. They can trust that each business with their name on it is providing the same level of care and professionalism to every patient, in any location.
When there is a high level of standardization, everyone wins. Franchisors are able to continue to build a strong brand. Franchisees encourage repeat customers. And patients are confident that they can receive excellent care, even if they visit different locations of the same healthcare franchise.
Support should not be too much, however, as franchisees can find it to be overbearing and restricting. Too little support, however, can leave franchisees feeling abandoned, and struggling to keep their business afloat. There needs to be a delicate balance between support and freedom so owners can still make decisions for their own business. Ideal support works across all aspects of the business, and involves communication with the owners on the field.
With this support comes monitoring to ensure that franchisees are following through with what is being asked of them. Though too much monitoring can also feel overwhelming, the right amount helps give motivation to the franchise owners to complete various tasks, and maintain a high level of quality in care and customer support.
By providing support and monitoring, franchisors can streamline processes and ensure every branch acts successfully. Individual franchisees want their fellow owners to be just as successful as they are, in an interest in growing the brand as a whole. They have confidence in the overall franchise business that they will help them, and their fellow franchises, grow.
The study revealed that most franchisees found the healthcare franchise structure extremely beneficial to their success as a business. With the right level of appropriate support, a stronger brand name can emerge. This boosts every location of the franchise, and encourages them to work harder to maintain their own reputation, and contribute to the greater good of the company.