Franchisees often buy into a franchise system because of the turn-key processes, technology platforms and other “done-for-you” systems in place. As a result, it can be challenging to accelerate change within a franchise organization. However, embracing innovation within a franchise environment — from the corporate support teams to the franchise owners — is critical for positive evolution and long-term success.

Here are five innovation strategies franchise organizations can adopt to establish themselves as thought leaders and stay ahead of the curve.


Innovation is essential for growth, and being innovative must be a shared responsibility across the organization, not isolated to a boardroom or specific title. Everyone in the organization is responsible for bringing innovation to life. This means hiring based on mental agility over functional expertise, which can create a barrier to change.

In a franchise, owner involvement in the innovation process is crucial because they are closest to the customer. By embracing the franchisees’ ideas and backing them up with the right resources, organizations will know they are working on the right things and introducing changes that franchise owners will be excited to adopt.

Establish transparency. 

Encouraging innovation with a high degree of transparency is important because it allows the organization as a whole to measure results, understand scalability and quickly share what is working with the remainder of the system.

In our organization, franchisees are invited to submit innovation proposals on an ongoing basis. This allows owners to receive pilot program funding and implementation support for an idea they believe will grow their business. We ask franchisees to be responsible for designing and documenting the operational business model to accompany the innovation, as their vested interest in the pilot’s success will likely yield the best outcome.

When a proposal is approved, it includes agreed-upon success metrics and frequent milestones to understand progress, performance and next steps. Being transparent allows innovation in one unit to power growth across the system.

To read the rest of the article by Trever Ackerman, Chief Marketing Officer of WellBiz Brands, Inc. and Fitness Together, CLICK HERE for