Are You Confused by Franchise Terminology?

Many, including myself, refer to franchising as an industry… even though we know it’s really not an industry. A business model is probably one of the better definitions, but what does that really mean?

When referring to a franchise, even many within franchising choose from a variety of terms as a point of reference – franchise organization, franchise system, franchise company.

Of course, there’s also the varying terms relating to the franchise relationship – franchisee, franchise partner and not to mention the slang, zee. And to the other side of the relationship – franchisor, head office, corporate office, parent company… and yes, zor.

And what’s the difference between franchisor and franchiser?

Confused yet?

And, franchise locations are independently owned and operated. Yet, the franchise relationship is interdependent… or at least it should be interdependent and not dependent or independent upon… Well, you get it, right?

Now let’s look at the people serving the franchise community. Yep, franchise community is another reference for the franchise list above but let’s move on. Franchise consultants, do they sell or consult? How about franchise brokers, sales agents, sales representatives, and again, franchise consultants. Whew!

Moving down the chain there are franchise suppliers, service providers and vendors… What’s the difference? Preferred or approved? Is there really a difference?

Of course, there are references to segments within franchising such as master franchising and sub-franchising… Which one is correct? And, isn’t the sub-franchisor actually the master franchisee? I guess it all depends on which end of the relationship one is on.

How about now – confused yet?

Franchise services means what, and providing services to who? Franchisee to end-user? Franchisor to franchisee? Franchise service provider to franchisor and/or franchisee?

Same can be said of franchise marketing, right? Does marketing in a B2B or B2C scenario but within a franchise environment mean that it’s franchise marketing? Or, is franchise marketing actually marketing to franchise candidates?

Speaking about franchise candidates, when is a candidate actually a candidate and not a lead or just an interested party? Does this fall under franchise sales or franchise development? And who’s in charge – the VP of Franchise Sales, VP of Franchise Development, or VP of Franchising?

And then there’s reference to franchise professionals. Is a franchisee a franchise professional? How about if the franchisee is a multi-unit franchisee with 25 locations? How about a franchise attorney? Franchise service provider?

If a franchise executive is a franchise professional, at what level of management does one begin to be considered a franchise professional? How about within the franchise organization itself?  Secretary, if their support is purely administrative as opposed to an admin that actually communicates with franchisees?

Oh, and should the CEO of a franchise company be considered a franchisor as we often refer to them as such at franchise events?

Ironic how franchising is the replicating of a system with focus on consistency in image, appearance, product and service from one location to another. Yet, there’s little consistency in the terminology used to define many aspects of franchising.

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