Franchising 101: What Exactly Does a Franchise Owner Do?

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Role and responsibilities of a franchisee

You’re interested in running your own business, and you’d like to take the franchise route, operating under a recognised brand. But what exactly does a franchise owner do? Here, we take a look at what it means to run a franchise unit, and what you’d be doing on a day-to-day basis.

The phrase ‘franchise owner’ can refer to either the franchisor or the franchisee. In this article, we use it to talk about the franchisee. 

Franchises provide a great deal of financial security and business support, so they’re a fantastic alternative to entrepreneurs who are looking for a relatively low-risk venture. But if you become a ‘franchisee’, having bought into a franchise brand, your daily routine might look a bit different compared to the activities of an independent business owner. 

So, what exactly does a franchise owner do? Keep reading for the six main commitments franchisees must make. 

What it means to run a franchise unit

1. Keep track of finances 

One of the most important aspects of operating a business as a franchisee is taking care of your money. Before you get up and running, you’ll make an initial investment, but most franchisors also ask for monthly fees, such as royalties and contributions to a marketing fund. 

If you’re to be a successful franchisee, you’ll need to be prepared for these costs, and able to keep track of your outgoings. You can find a full run-down of the fees involved in setting up and running a franchise unit in our article, Franchising 101: The Complete Guide to Franchise Costs in the UK

2. Adhere to the franchise agreement regulations 

Every franchisee must adhere to the regulations set out in their franchise agreement. When you sign the contract with your franchisor, you confirm you’ll run your business according to a set of established rules. These regulations are vital for franchisors; without them, investors would be able to alter their business model, products, services and strategies, resulting in an inconsistent brand offering. Ultimately, this would damage the franchise’s reputation. 

As a franchise owner, it’s likely you would have to: 

  • Complete an initial training programme and take part in ongoing coaching sessions 
  • Hire a strong workforce and provide training and support
  • Sell your products or services in line with the regulations set out by the franchisor
  • Be passionate about the franchise’s values
  • Be committed to building a strong customer base and growing your business over time
  • Complement the franchise’s marketing campaigns with your own local promotional activity

3. Demonstrate a commitment to personal and business growth

Good franchisors offer a lot of business support, but you’ll still need to be actively thinking about growing your unit. You’ll never be able to expand and boost your profits if you get stuck in the routine of focusing on day-to-day tasks. Consider where your business is going and which direction you want to take. Your franchisor is there to discuss your growth, and will be able to help you. 

Franchise owners should attend all the training sessions, workshops and events available to them and ask plenty of questions. You may also want to set targets or think about opening additional franchise units in new territories. Whatever your ambition, you should always have business growth in mind. 

4. Network

When you join a franchise, you immediately gain access to a chain of like-minded business owners. Most franchisors run events to give their franchisees the chance to mingle, so you should have plenty of opportunities to share stories, ideas and concerns with your peers.

Unless you join a fairly young franchise with few franchisees on its books, you’ll probably be able to meet experienced business owners who can offer useful advice on issues you’re facing. Also, you can use networking events to find out how other people are developing their units and get great ideas for your venture.

5. Lead

If you employ staff, you’ll need to be able to set an example and keep them motivated. Being a great leader is all about organisation, dedication and the ability to work well under pressure. You might have lots of issues to deal with at once, but you’ll need to remain calm and stable for your employees. If they come to you with a concern, you must be able to offer support and work towards a solution to their problem. 

The skills you’ll need as a leader will depend on the type of franchise unit you run and the sort of boss you’d like to be. One franchise owner might like to start the day with a quick motivational pep talk, spend the day with their workers and arrange lots of social events. Others might dedicate their time to working hard behind the scenes organising training events and making sure their benefits package reflects employee priorities. 

6. Anticipate challenges and adapt

Planning for the future isn’t just about growth and development; it’s also about anticipating challenges. As a franchise owner, you might be faced with:

  • Changes to consumer buying habits
  • Economic recession
  • A decline in customer footfall
  • New competitors in the area 
  • New industry technologies 

These are just a few of the potential issues you could come across when running a franchise unit. 

The best way to protect your business from future problems is to keep on top of industry trends and current affairs so you can see them coming and prepare. There may be steps you can take to counteract the effects of certain issues or safeguard your franchise unit. A failure to adapt could mean your business falls behind the competition or suffers significant financial losses. 

I’ve seen many changes throughout the years, and when businesses fail to adapt, they get left behind. So also be open to learning, as the world is constantly evolving and you need to keep up.

– Pip Wilkins, BFA CEO

Being a franchisee

If you think you’d make a great franchise owner, there’s plenty of research you can do to find out more about what the role entails. Why not take a look at our Become A Franchisee articles? You’ll be able to learn everything you need to know before you invest in a franchise. 

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