The business of managing expectations in franchising

Sally-JArlette-Joy4-SmallWithin the franchising model, the premise goes that the business concept is one that offers entrepreneurs a sure-fire way of being successful. With its foundation firmly established on a legacy that has stood the test of time, a franchised business offers any entrepreneur the tried and tested plans and practices to make a business excel.

While the expected success rate of a franchise proves to be its strongest point, it can also be one of the most misleading points, which has blinded many owners once they are in the business, as the expectations that many franchisees have upon entering into this industry are often too high. Founder of Sandwich Baron, Sally J’Arlette-Joy, who is both a franchisor and franchisee, knows first-hand how unmet expectations within a franchise can often lead to frustration and even conflict within a group and shares more insights below.

When the negotiations between the franchisor and the franchisee start, everyone’s hopes are high. For the franchisor, securing a new franchisee means progress, a new means to expand the brand and gain more loyal customers. The franchisee on the other hand is excited to take this business model and make it their own. They believe the business will thrive with the unwavering support of the franchisor, who only has their best interest at heart. These are their expectations, at least.

The reality is, however, that these expectations will not necessarily be met and are in many cases unrealistic. In franchising, the process of managing expectations is an ongoing one as the relationship between the franchisor and franchisee will always demand some form of compromise.

Managing the franchisees’ expectations:

Franchisees are investing a great deal into the business and expect to get quite a lot in return. Aside from providing them with a fully functional business, they also expect adequate support from the franchisor. Whether it be in the form of advice, training or even marketing, the franchisee has the need to feel that they are being supported – as this is what they have invested in and are giving a share of their turnover for as well.

It is also important for the franchisor to remember that the franchisee plays a major role in their business. They are after all a major contact point between the brand and its customers, making it important to ensure the relationship between themselves and the franchisee is managed effectively, that conflict is resolved quickly, and that open and honest communication always takes preference.

What franchisees need to remember though is that support extends both ways. The relationship between the franchisee and franchisor simply cannot function optimally if there is not mutual cooperation between the two. The franchisor can supply as much support as possible, but if the business owner does not utilise what is shared and reciprocate through operational support, the store will not flourish.

Managing the franchisor’s expectations:

With any new franchisee, the franchisor expects only greatness. The franchisee is after all an entrepreneur who has fully researched the business and is ready to live and breathe everything it stands for. The franchisee needs to remember this business is not some fly-by night concept that the franchisor just came up with. It is a brand that has evolved, in most cases, from humble beginnings with minimal capital. For the franchisor, blood, sweat and tears is what has made this business, which is why they expect 110% commitment. They want someone who will be hands on in the store, be honest in the turnover they make, treat staff and customers with respect and above all, protect the brand with all their might. This is why the set standards have been put in place and why the franchisor enforces these strictly – this does not make them unreasonable.

In managing their expectations, franchisors need to bear in mind that franchisees are still only human. Even with the great support offered to them, franchisees will make mistakes and will not always be able exceeds the expectations set forth by the brand. Franchisees will also face trying times in business and will not always perform like superstars.

At the end of the day, expectations can only be managed when all parties communicate openly and honestly. Even when situations of strife occur that negatively impact the relationship, it is possible to rebuild and restore what has been damaged as both parties are in the business for a greater good.

Opinion piece shared by PR Worx.

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