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A Lesson Franchising Can Learn from Great Football Coaches

by Ed Teixeira

Great football coaches share a particular trait that franchisors and franchisees can learn from.

When qualified sports experts evaluate great football coaches, there is a particular trait that they share. In fact, it's well known that many great players in the NFL also share this same trait. In the world of franchising, both franchisors and franchisees can take a cue from the great NFL coaches and players.

The common trait they share is an ability to gain a thorough understanding of their upcoming opponent, which in the case of franchising would mean your competitors. In football this practice is accomplished by countless hours watching tape. Every NFL has a well staffed team of analysts that use the latest technology to slice and dice game tapes in order to enable the coaching staff and players to view the strengths and weaknesses of their next foe. It's a well known fact that Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots, attempts to gain a complete understanding of the next team they face, so that the game plan can take away the strength of their opponent. Rather, than stick to the same approach in every game, Belichick is known for adapting from game to game. Franchisors can take a lesson from this approach, which means a willingness to adjust rather than simply "full steam full ahead."

In Sports Illustrator's Monday Morning Quarterback Jenny Vrentas wrote: " For example, one company Pro Football Focus will meet virtually any of its clients' requests, such as measuring hang time to two decimal points for punts and kickoffs, and tracking which direction a center turns after the snap as a potential indicator of which offensive guard is the weaker link. PFF has also created a computer program that diagrammed each of the 32,779 regular-season plays from the line of scrimmage in 2014, depicting details like wide receiver splits, and depth of players off the line, motions, and route combinations. That information is then linked to a team's video system so coaches can put eyes on what the numbers are telling them. "

Although it's absurd to transfer this practice to a franchise's competitors the objective is comparable. Franchisors in leading the charge should have a format and process so that their major competitors can be analyzed in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Their franchisees need to be a part of the process for it to be successful.

Analyzing Your Competitors:

1. Include your franchisees in your strategy, so that they understand the process and objectives

2. Request their feedback and utilize a representative group of franchisees to help construct the process

3. For larger franchise systems, there could be different competitors from market to market.

4. Identify the top one or two major competitors in each region

5. Develop a written plan or process to capture key data, including products or services, pricing, marketing approach and which products or services appear to be their strength.

6. Establish a schedule and system so that key competitive data is gathered on a regular basis. This will require discipline

7. Once the pertinent information is gathered the next strategy is to develop a marketing and operational plan to attack the strengths of your competitors and exploit their weaknesses.

Franchising can learn from successful NFL coaches by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of their opponents which in franchising translates to their competitors.



2015 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC

Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He can be reached at franchiseknowhow@gmail.com

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