When you consider investing in a franchise, your first thoughts might be that brand recognition is the most important factor, or that the location of your unit will influence whether or not you succeed. These things are important, however, there’s another element that can be just as important to your success: the franchisor/franchisee relationship.
Although not as obvious or tangible, the strength of this relationship could be an important factor in whether or not you make it in the franchise world. The franchisor/franchisee relationship is a very unique one. It’s not quite a parent/child relationship and not quite a marriage, although it is a partnership. The franchisor provides a structure, but the franchisee has the responsibility for the success of his or her unit(s).
Building a strong relationship with your franchisor and making the most of it can be a determining factor in your success.
Open Communication and Trust
As in any relationship, honest, clear communication is the foundation of a strong franchisor/franchisee relationship. This means sharing best practices, honest feedback, and ideas for future innovations. There are numerous examples of instances where successful products or campaigns that benefit the entire franchise have come from a franchisee.
Having a method for sharing ideas and feedback is key to open communication. Intranet portals, daily bulletins, newsletters, conventions, and regional meetings are all mechanisms that facilitate communication between franchisor and franchisee. Use them to your, and the franchise’s, benefit.
Find a Franchise with a Culture That Matches Your Own
It’s hard to build a strong relationship if you don’t have the same business approach and outlook as your franchisor – beliefs, ethics, values, and purpose should all align. This is even more important than the vertical in which you choose to franchise.
When your goals and philosophy match up, you will be working toward common ideals and have a mutual understanding of company culture. When you have the right culture fit, the relationship starts off on the right foot. If the culture remains true to its stated beliefs, then a long-term relationship is built and continues to strengthen.
Franchisor Commitment to Training and Support
A franchisor that is committed to training and support is committed to helping you succeed. Some franchises support the entire system, including training, materials, and ongoing support. Others offer guidance and advice. Either approach works as long as you know what to expect.
Simple things such as promptly returning phone calls, talking to the franchisee on a weekly basis, and working with the franchisee to set goals will strengthen the relationship. When the franchise and franchisee work together to create plans and develop business strategies, both the relationship and the brand are strengthened.
It’s Not All about the Franchisor
A franchise system comprises many individuals but it is only as strong as the people in the system. The franchisor is only one-half of the equation. You’ve joined them because you believed in the stated goals and company culture. As a franchisee, you are a vital part of the relationship, but you must do your part. When you demonstrate that you are a team player, you’ll see that corporate will value your input.
The franchisor/franchisee relationship will be strengthened when each side takes their responsibilities seriously. As with any business, sometimes you have to bury the ego and get in the trenches, and when you demonstrate that you are willing to do so, franchisors take notice. When franchisor and franchisee remain true to the organization’s purpose, their relationship will thrive and continue to strengthen.