By Roz Sandham
1. A good match
Just as we try and seek out a lifelong perfect life partner, so too should we seek out the right partner in franchising.
If you are the franchisee then the franchisor must be the right fit for your investment. Do you share the same values? We do not mean the ones on the wall, but rather the way things are done in the organisation. Does the franchisor support their franchisees and treat them with respect? The best way to find out is to talk to current franchisees.
If you are the franchisor, then ensure that the potential franchisee is the right fit for your brand. Essentially you are appointing a brand ambassador and you need to make sure that your franchisee recruitment process is robust and not just about the money in the bank. We have seen partnerships based purely on money inevitably end badly for both parties.
2. Growing together
One factor for good relationships is that you grow together.
As the franchisee, make sure that you take every opportunity to learn and invest the time to understand the operations and procedure manual, the processes, routines and what is expected of you in the business. Then it also becomes critical for you to realise that this is your business and you too, have a major role in growing it and making it a success.
Franchisors are required to train the franchisee and set them up for success, whatever it takes. As a franchisor, if you do not take time to train and develop your franchisees, the damage that they will do to your brand may not be recoverable or may cause considerable reputation issues that do not go away easily. Technical or product training is essential and as important as teaching franchisees how to run their businesses. Human Resources, finance and marketing skills need to be taught, very few franchisees come ready with these skills.
If you don’t communicate, it is impossible for anyone to know what is going on in your world.
Franchisees will often suffer in silence when they are not coping. It is critical to call on your franchisor for help, that is why you bought into a franchise and did not open your own brand. Most franchisors have support departments that can give guidance on people issues, local marketing, profit issues, etc. If you don’t put your hand up and ask for assistance, then you only have yourself to blame.
As the franchisor your role is to keep franchisees in the loop. What is happening in the broader business, how is the business performing, what are the plans, what is the strategy, etc. Keeping your franchisees in the dark does not help them to grow. By sharing performance of other franchisees, the franchisor will benefit from behaviour change as no one wants to be last on any list.
4. Know your roles
Good relationships have clear roles and responsibilities.
Franchisees are often surprised by the fact that once the franchisor has trained them and set them up that they have to actually run/operate the business. As a franchisee, it is your job to be in your business daily and know what is going on. This way you can address any issues that arise. If your people are a problem, it is not the role of the franchisor to chair your hearings, as an example. If your sales are down, then you need to take control of how to improve this. You could try upselling or cross-selling or also consider looking at the cleanliness and layout of the shop/offerings to improve the appearance and that way you could possibly identify the problem. When your profit is concerning you need to be able to identify what is going wrong and put policies and controls in place to remedy the situation.
The franchisor has the responsibility to set the franchisee up for success. To continually market the business and strategise about future plans. The franchisor may negotiate with suppliers in to assist the franchisees in cost-saving. The franchisor must equip the franchisee with all the skills and support necessary to ensure success for both parties.
Franchising is a great way to expand as the franchisor and is a great way to become a business owner for the franchisee. Just like a marriage, there are legal documents that cover the relationship and hopefully, like any relationship it will not get to the point that you have to use that agreement as the basis for your relationship negotiations when things need attention.