As a franchisor we’re always available to answer questions but sometimes franchisees just want to talk to someone doing the same role as themselves
During the franchisee recruitment process I rarely get asked any questions about our franchise network. Often I’m asked how many franchisees we have and where they are but seldom any other questions. I find this surprising as a good, strong, active franchise network can really help both new and existing franchisees.
If I’m buying a franchise I’d want to know what interaction the franchisor facilitates between franchise branches. Do the franchisees have regular meetings? How often are the franchisees getting together? Is it just once a year at an annual conference or are there other meeting opportunities? I would want to know if the franchisor makes it easy for franchisees to talk to each other.
You may be wondering why this matters. After all it’s your business and why would you need other franchisees once you get started? You can stand on your own two feet, right? But I believe the strength of the franchise network can have a major impact on your firm.
Some franchisors don’t want their franchisees talking to each other but I feel the more we can get our network chatting the better. As a result, we hold franchise meetings three times per year, have a Christmas social, arrange additional networking and training opportunities and ensure franchisees have time to chat with each other. For many, it’s one of the most important parts of attending.
Fellow franchisees are great to talk to in good times and tough times – this is because they get it. They may be at a different stage of the franchise life cycle but they understand the business better than almost anyone else you could talk to.
While I love healthy competition, I feel it’s unhealthy to pitch franchisee against franchisee as it doesn’t foster camaraderie and goodwill. When making your franchise decision, look for a franchisor that fosters good relationships between franchisees.
Many franchisors have forums or Facebook groups so franchisees can communicate freely with each other. Other franchisors run buddy systems so that when you join the network, you have a more experienced franchisee to speak to and they can act as an additional source of support. Networking with fellow franchisees also allows you to expand your personal network. The franchisee may have customers that do business in your area. They may be able to introduce you to key accounts or other people within their network that can help your business.
The most important thing to remember as a franchise is that, while you’re in business for yourself, as part of a franchise network, you’re never by yourself.