Franchising – A Question Of Relationships

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Many business people have the misguided perception that just because what goes on inside their business isn’t visible to the public and therefore has no impact or relevance on its customers or clients.  This is where many business owners go wrong.

Let’s look now at some of the important things you need to consider to ensure that you establish internal relationships that are conducive to the development of a healthy, vibrant business.

CULTURE

To begin with, one of the most important strategic moves you can make when buying or establishing a new business is to think about the culture you’d like your business to adopt.  Ask all your team members to contribute as this allows them to buy in and identify with the business on a day-to-day basis.  They need to feel comfortable working there and they need to be happy with their working environment.

Once you have reached a consensus on this, write it down and display it prominently at key locations in your workplace.

STAKEHOLDERS

Your internal stakeholders are people or organizations that have a direct interest in your business.  They are “insiders” by virtue of their relationship with you. They are not clients or customers.

So who then can you classify as internal stakeholders? They include:

  • Staff members
  • Franchise Partners
  • Shareholders
  • Directors
  • Contractors and sub-contractors
  • Suppliers

There could be more depending on your situation. Make a note of those who apply to your business by putting names next to the categories. It is worthwhile to rate the importance of each stakeholder and then to develop a communication plan for each stakeholder.

INTERNAL COMMUNICATION

Communication is the lifeblood of any company.

In order to facilitate effective communications, a good, trusting, and non-threatening relationship must exist between all parties.

What is the purpose of internal communications?  Why is it so important? Internal communication basically has four main functions which are:

To manage information

To manage the identification of problems and solutions

To manage conflict

To manage and regulate behaviour.

Focus on getting your internal communications right and you’ll join an exclusive group of companies that enjoys fantastic working relationships with all their stakeholders.

FRANCHISE RELATIONSHIPS

In franchising, the question of relationships plays a very important and prominent role in the success of any franchise system.  There are some considerations to bear in mind that don’t apply to other types of businesses.

A franchise involves a very special type of relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee.  This relationship is far more complicated than is the case with other businesses mainly because it is both a business and a legal relationship.

Apart from all the usual considerations that apply to internal and external relationships, you need to overlay them with the special considerations that apply to franchisees. Pay attention to these few and you’ll be well on your way to running a successful franchise operation.

  1. Keep your relationship with your franchisor or franchisee cordial but professional.
  2. Don’t procrastinate. Make decisions quickly and firmly.
  3. Business must be fun, so open up your communication channels.
  4. Try new things. Don’t stagnate.
  5. Be willing to listen and learn.
  6. Learn to ask for help.
  7. Focus on your own success and not finding fault with your franchisor

Reference: Article by Pieter Scholtz, Co-Master Franchisor in Southern Africa for ActionCOACH

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