Managing the franchisor / franchisee relationship correctly

It is said that franchising is a sure-fire way of becoming a successful business owner, as its building blocks are cemented on the successes of other aspiring business pioneers. Even though franchise businesses usually come with tried and tested plans and practices, healthy relationships cannot be bought with a franchise agreement only. It requires continuous work and collaboration.

Aside from buying in to an established brand, entrepreneurs in the franchising industry are also buying in to a relationship with a franchisor. Although all franchisees are provided with the basic tools to make the business a success, the relationship between themselves and the franchisor does not always come with a best practice guide. Whilst franchisees need to remember that franchisors put in the time, money and effort to create a legacy for the business it is important for franchisors to also ensure that they offer the correct leadership and guidance to establish meaningful relationships.

Founder and franchisor of Sandwich Baron, Sally J’Arlette-Joy, who is also a multiple franchise owner, adds some insight into the relationship between franchisor and franchisee. “As I am ideally positioned on both sides of the fence, acting as both franchisor and franchisee, I do believe that I have a thorough understanding as to how important it is to attain healthy relationships within the franchise model.

According to J’Arlette-Joy, the following elements are important in managing a franchise relationship effectively from both sides of the relationship:

1. Trust and respect

These are considered the two most important aspects to any personal relationship. Likewise in a franchise relationship, if trust and respect are not being nurtured, the relationship will not be a healthy one and will be riddled with strife. Franchisees need to know that they can trust the franchisor and vice versa.

2. Open communication

Communication is key to making relationships work as this will minimise misunderstandings and lessen conflict. Communication that occurs between the two parties needs to be open and grounded on mutual respect.

3. Similar ambitions

It is imperative to share common objectives, ambitions and aspirations to ensure that both partners are working towards the same goals in the same direction.

4. Rapid conflict management

In a relationship, two different people are essentially grouped together to function as a unit. Even in a business relationship, we are only human and some conflict is sure to arise. However, it is important to remember that a partnership is a long term commitment and if strong enough, the relationship is able to weather any storm. Issues need to be resolved amicably and preferably face-to-face in a respectful manner. Franchisors need to be mindful of the fact that the franchisee has made a large investment in their brand and need to feel like they are listened to and respected. In the same instance, franchisees need to remember that franchisors will not be able to make drastic decisions and changes in all situations as any decisions made will affect the entire business model and all other franchisees.

J’Arlette-Joy concludes, “Even when situations of strife occur that negatively impact the relationship, it is possible to rebuild and restore what has been lost. If both parties are open to work through issues and make the needed changes where possible, harmony can once again be achieved for the greater good of the brand that both have dedicated themselves to.”

Contributor: Sally J’Arlette-Joy, founder and franchisor of Sandwich Baron.

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