Having spent the past eleven years in the franchise business and worked with several hundred franchisors, we have seen many successful franchise models and plenty of unsuccessful franchise systems. For all of the complexities involved in launching and developing a successful franchise organization, it seems that the most critical element of a successful franchise development effort is also the simplest.
When considering whether to franchise your business, it would make sense for you to evaluate how you manage relationships. Right? Many new franchisors overlook this all too important element of building a franchise organization. When you franchise a business, you are in effective developing relationships with other independent entrepreneurs. Franchisees are not employees, they also are not partners, but in order to franchise a business successfully, it does take leadership who can be “friends” with a large array of personalities.
We have worked with many franchisors, large, small, service based, restaurant and retail and everything in between. What has made the big ones big and kept the small ones small? In my opinion it has been the franchisor’s ability to make friends with people. It seems trivial, but a great franchisor is typically the most liked person in the room. Ray Kroc was said to be able to win over a room just by walking in….the same could be said about the legendary Colonel Sanders.
Franchisees are a delicate breed. They require structure, content, value, constant reassurance that they made the right decision in investing in your franchise and on top of that, they require love and attention. Great franchise systems have valuable content to deliver throughout the training, support and implementation processes and also can manage and build upon personal relationships with each of the franchisees.
We have worked with franchisors who have had difficulties with partnerships in the past and can’t seem to keep a strategic partnership together for longer than a month without a fight breaking out or some major disagreement ensuing between the leadership of both organizations. These are signs that a business owner will have difficulty in successfully being a franchisor. Franchisees take time, energy and a lot of patience, particularly when they first open their franchised business.
When considering whether to franchise your business, you should look yourself in the mirror and decide whether you are the type of business owner that can “play” with others or are you a lone ranger who has difficulty sharing the pie. If you find that you are the latter, you probably are not made for franchising and the responsibilities that come with it.
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