The following is an article submitted by Guest Author, Katryn Harris. Katryn is the CEO of Open Box, a company focused on helping franchisors use technology to build their franchises. She brings her background in management, business strategy and communication as well as her team of technical experts to work with franchisors, ensuring that their technology fits their business strategy and moves their franchises forward. Be sure to check out Katryn’s blog at www.growfromhere.com.
Are Relationships With Your Franchisees Strengthening Your Franchise?
as submitted by Katryn Harris
As a franchisor, you are in the business of building relationships; relationships with your franchisees, with your potential franchisees and with your end customers. Relationships build sales, build your brand and build your franchise.
The franchisor /franchisee relationship has interesting challenges that may not be seen elsewhere in the business relationship world. It’s not employer/employee, it’s not quite a partnership, and there are elements of both financial dependence, and inter-relatedness. The franchisor & franchisee depend on one another, and are both accountable to one another, and the success of each depends strongly on the success of the other.
One of the key success factors for good relationships (with both potential & existing franchisees) is to set your boundaries and expectations clearly. Some franchisors are more or less consultative, some are more or less friendly with their franchisees, some are more or less clear from the outset on expectations and accountability (and whole books have been written on which of these is right and which is wrong). I highly recommend
a) Knowing the pros and cons of leaning towards either side of the spectrum (do your homework)
b) Being clear about where you sit along the spectrum, and
c) Communicating where you sit to your franchisees and, particularly to potential franchisees.
Whether you are more or less consultative in your relationships is actually less important than knowing why you have chosen that position, being clear about where you stand, and then finding franchisees who are looking for that particular degree of consultative relationship. If you can attain these three, the franchisor/franchisee relationship will be strong and rewarding for both of you & lead to strong franchise growth.
One great resource for building your franchise through strong relationships is Greg Nathan and his books about the franchisor/franchise relationship, such as The Franchise E-Factor.