2023 Is (Almost) Here and Things Are Different in Franchise Recruitment!

Growing a brand is challenging. Add economic headwinds along with mindset shifts in the labor force, and growth in 2023 new unit signings may even feel impossible. However, it’s not! Our team has seen a lot and been through the cycles. We’ve dedicated years to data collection and observation to focus on best practices in each situation. For 2023, consider the topics below, and how they might be part of your recruitment strategy.


When the business landscape gets tighter and tougher, non-franchised businesses in your industry can be an amazing place to recruit new franchisees. Add units that start with a customer base and existing revenue.

Most franchisors seek out new startups with individuals from the corporate world who are new to business ownership. In 2023, this will be tougher because of lower unemployment, increased flexibility in the workforce (like working remotely), and higher costs of capital.

However, there are thousands of non-franchised units in your industry that don’t know that converting their business and joining your brand could be an amazing option. The pandemic and current environment has changed the playing field in your industry. The extra support and new programs you implemented for existing franchisees can help others in your industry. What if you picked up the phone today and reached out to 10 non-franchised business owners in your industry? Request a conversation about gaps and challenges they are facing. What would this look like? My guess is that you have solutions right now that could transform their results.

HR and systems

Revisit your business model’s value proposition. A business format franchise — which is what most brands are — has developed a more efficient and effective way of operating. Your data versus the industry should provide evidence of this. Because of your systems, programs, and continuous improvement, your unit results should be better than the industry. Lower cost of goods sold, technology packages, and sales and marketing programs are a start! And don’t forget help desks, in the field consulting, and coaching. These are some examples of areas where you’ve developed real value.

NOTE: If your franchise opportunity doesn’t offer results that exceed basic industry unit results, stop reading now. First, go to work on understanding why this is and what has to happen to change it.

Another area that’s critical, especially in 2023, is human resources. In the past two to three years, we’ve seen a shift. The pendulum of power has shifted to employees. The demand for higher wages, better benefits, flexibility with hours, and ability to work remotely has made hiring, training, and retaining a team much more difficult. Your human resource programs for finding and keeping quality staff might be a hidden gem for the recruitment of new franchisees.

What if your industry has average annual turnover of 100%, but the units in your franchise are at 50% because of your HR programs and systems? And, as a result, your units generate significantly more bottom-line profit versus the industry. Why? Because you help your franchisees with strong and proven human resources support. The candidate wants to leave the corporate world and loves the industry you’re in, but has concerns about finding employees and building a team. You guessed it! They just signed a franchise agreement with your brand… because they discovered the power of your HR systems.

Tip: Back off a little on talking subjectively about your brand and start communicating more objectively and specifically about your systems and results.

What does your outbound lead generation look like? It’s targeted. It’s a purchased or mined list that you’re reaching out to. Think outbound dials, texts, and emails to a targeted group that might be a fit. Most of the franchise industry (more than 95%, based on our experience) depends solely on an inbound lead generation strategy.

With outbound lead generation, you have a name, you’re reaching out directly about your business model, and you’re requesting some time to discuss. This potential candidate may never have heard of your franchise. Setting up an outbound program isn’t complicated. However, it does require a dedicated and disciplined effort with constant adjustments to get your outbound lead generation formula on target. Plus, some version of an outbound strategy will likely be required moving forward for recruitment success.

If you’re feeling in the dark and concerned about your 2023 recruitment results, the best place to start is within. Revisit your goals and what results you need to stay on track with the vision. Explore your data versus the industry, the ideal candidate, and the non-negotiables for awarding a franchise. Get crystal clear on the real value your system delivers.

You can increase signings, build better forecasting, and have confidence in your recruitment. Brands become great, not when it’s easy, but when the landscape is tough. 2023 can be your best year ever.

Let’s go to work!

Art Coley is CEO of CGI Franchise. Using the proven Recruitment Operating System (ROS), his team helps franchise companies implement and execute a predictable, repeatable, and sustainable new franchisee recruitment program. Based in Temple, Texas, they work with brands worldwide. Contact him at 281-658-9409 or acoley@cgifranchise.com. This article was originally featured on franchising.com.