By Eric Parker
February is known as the romantic month of love where couples are given the opportunity to communicate and affirm their love for each other i.e., enhance and build their relationship.
This got us thinking that perhaps we should introduce Valentine’s moment in franchising along the lines of when people ask us what the most important word in franchising is, we say relationship. In fact, franchising is built upon a co-dependant relationship between the Franchisor and the Franchisee.
This being a business relationship would need different criteria but not very different to a romantic relationship.
So, what is needed for a good Franchise Relationship?
- Mutual trust and respect for each other. If this trust is broken the relationship comes under pressure.
- A win: win situation. The relationship is like a scale, if it stays in equilibrium things go well. Neither party must be greedy; neither party should take the other for granted; and each party must feel that they are getting what they need from the situation.
- Regular and honest communication is essential. Some of the communication might be telephonic or online, however there still is a need for person-to-person communication. In an email or a text, the message can sometimes be lost or taken the wrong way and it may be better to discuss such issues in person. In a relationship each person likes to be heard and so it’s not just a case of communication for the sake of communication, but where the communication makes the other party feel like they’ve been heard and where the communication adds value.
- Each party must have clear guidelines of what is expected of them. This should be established from the start of the relationship and should be balanced.
- Problems must be brought to the fore and sorted out immediately. If not, the problems are bottled up and magnified. Create an environment where it is easy to raise issues or problems and where the parties understand that doing so is for the benefit of each other as well as the business. Don’t talk behind each other’s back!
- Each party must be prepared to accept constructive criticism.
- Change is inevitable and each party must accept the need for change in this fast-developing and ever-changing world we live in.
- The Franchisor/Franchisee relationship is like a long-distance relationship which makes regular communication even more important.
So where does all this lead us?
Perhaps Franchisors should set up January as a “tell it like it is” month so that they can improve the relationship with their Franchisees, and both go into the new year on a solid foundation. A professionally done Franchisee Relationship and Satisfaction Survey might be a good starting point for this relationship assessment with the outcome providing you with a strategy for enhancement.
We can assist you evaluate and building your relationship with your franchisees. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an obligation free consultation.