Forging an effective franchisor-franchisee relationship is the key to most successful franchises, but it can get lost in all the other aspects of running a franchise. We’re going to outline exactly why your franchisee-franchisor relationship should be a top priority and share our best tips for creating a strong one.
Joining a franchise means you’re entering into a mutually beneficially agreement. You’ll get the chance to start your own business and be your own boss, while your franchisor expands their brand reach across the country and the world. But to get the most out of your franchising journey, it’s vital that you can work well with the other party and that both parties stick to the conditions of the franchise agreement.
Whether you’re a franchisee or franchisor, you’ll struggle if you’re always butting heads with each other. Here are five reasons why a strong franchisor-franchisee relationship is so important, and how you can fix issues before they affect your business.
1. You can resolve problems quickly
The franchisor-franchisee relationship is one of the most unique business partnerships out there. Generally, it will take the form of a mentor-mentee relationship or, if franchisees are young or very inexperienced, a parent-child relationship. The franchisee will need guidance and support from their franchisor, particularly at the start of the relationship, but will become more independent over time.
The franchisor’s role is to share their knowledge and help the franchisee avoid silly mistakes. There will come a point when they need to accept it’s time for franchisees to go it alone. However, by building a strong relationship the right away and highlighting ways to access support, franchisees will feel confident enough to speak to their franchisor about problems before they escalate into a catastrophe.
And from the franchisor’s perspective, it’s going to be much easier to address any problems with a franchisee’s performance if you’ve got a good relationship. You’ll be able to sit down for a productive, civil discussion, rather than a screaming match or one-sided conversation that doesn’t achieve anything.
2. Good communication = clear expectations
Poor communication can cause major issues on both sides. Franchisors could fail to properly explain business strategies or mislead franchisees when discussing the responsibilities of each party. If the franchisee doesn’t feel like they can talk to their franchisor, their satisfaction and success will be limited. In worst case scenarios, it can lead to a complete breakdown of the relationship and the loss of a potentially valuable franchisee.
As with any kind of professional or personal bond, communication is one of the most important parts of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. Even if both parties are completely satisfied, a strong relationship will make it easy to communicate if the need arises. Make sure your relationship with franchisees stays strong long after the initial training by keeping in touch regularly, via email and phone or video calls.
You could even arrange face-to-face visits once or twice a year from yourself or another member of the franchise support team. Regardless of their structure, regular conversations will allow both parties to talk honestly about how the franchising journey is going. Franchisees won’t feel like they’re alone and franchisors will get valuable insight into the state of their network.
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3. Franchisees will feel respected and valued
Some franchisees may initially struggle with being told what to do, particularly if their main reason for becoming a franchisee was to become their own boss. But the best franchisee-franchisor relationships will make it clear that the respect is mutual, and that the franchisee is vital to the franchise’s success.
While it can be difficult to relinquish control to the franchisor and follow strict rules, a good relationship shouldn’t make it feel like the franchisee is a lowly employee. Many franchisees are already successful businesspeople in their own right and have a great deal of experience in the sector. If the franchisor treats the relationship like a partnership and trusts the franchisee to follow the terms of the agreement, both parties are going to be much happier and willing to give their all to making the franchise a success.
Try not to patronise your franchisees or micro-manage their every move. An overbearing franchisor will annoy even the most patient franchisees and could ultimately lead to your relationship souring. Instead, set out clear guidelines in your franchise agreement and offer franchise packages to individuals/businesses that are trustworthy and committed to honouring your wishes.
4. Franchisees are more likely to succeed
Franchising is a way for anyone to become their own boss, even if you don’t think you’re particularly entrepreneurial. And if franchisors devote a bit of time to building a great relationship with franchisees, they could be surprised at how successful and ambitious their network could become. Many franchisees just need a little encouragement to realise their full potential as a business owner.
It’s your job as a franchisor to inspire, lead and educate your franchisees to get the most out of them. Not only will supported franchisees run their franchised business better, they’re more likely to look into expansion or to suggest ideas that improve your franchise as a whole. Yes, it can be time consuming to maintain franchisee relationships, but it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.
5. Your franchise will improve and evolve
Listening to franchisees also helps the franchisor to understand the business from another perspective. It gives them a valuable insight into areas of the business model that might need adjusting. As we explained, a good franchisor-franchisee relationship is mutually beneficial, allowing the business to grow for the good of both parties. Sign franchise Signarama explains how a good franchisor-franchisee relationship can help with central research and development.
“In order for franchisors to gather accurate data about industry trends, they need to rely on their franchisees to communicate and provide relevant information. In turn, franchisees can rely on franchisors to provide reports that they can use to help to build their business.”
Building a good relationship will make it easier for franchisees to offer their insight and opinion. If they don’t know or trust you or the franchise support team, they may be reluctant to share their ideas. Make use of regular team events, conferences and causes for celebration to get to know your franchisees better and find out what their day-to-day view of your franchise is.
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Building a good connection
The franchisor-franchisee relationship is a unique and complex one and will only work well if both parties are invested. A positive and productive relationship is vital if a business is to run at maximum efficiency. A strong brand identity and consistent business strategies will lay the foundations for success, while good leadership and effective communication ensures that both parties are engaged. If both the franchisor and the franchisee work to achieve these factors, a balanced and productive relationship will make success easier to achieve.
Sophie Cole, Point Franchise ©