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Why franchisors and franchisees should work cheek by jowl

Written by Nigel Toplis on Thursday, 19 January 2017. Posted in Insight

Working side-by-side with franchisors can help franchisees throughout their franchising journey

Why franchisors and franchisees should work cheek by jowl

In this world of social media, Skype and digital technology, it is easy to downgrade the value of face-to-face time – but while new technology has its place in communication, in my view these tools actually highlight the importance of meeting in person. Franchising is personal: it’s innatly dependent on a strong relationship between franchisor and franchisee. The most personal of relationships are created, built and retained through direct contact and that personal interaction is absolutely critical in business.

Frankly, if you’re serious about a franchise then you should meet the franchisor at their premises during the initial interview. While you’re purchasing a business system, it’s important to remember you’re also buying into the franchisor so it’s critical that you see the whites of their eyes. When you meet the franchisor, you begin to understand the soul of the business and only then can you answer any questions you may have about trust, integrity, ethics and business approach.

There’s always an element of negotiation between franchisor and franchisee and whilst the franchisor will never negotiate on franchise agreements, there’s often an opportunity to discuss things like territory size, the launch programme and ongoing support. As you sign the franchise agreement, you want to be able to look into the face of the franchisor and say to yourself ‘yes I am happy to be signing’.

Typically, the franchisees who succeed are those who fully take to heart the business system they’ve bought into. For this reason, when you launch your business you need to work closely with your franchisor and make the most of their expertise. Inevitably, with so much going on – and your nose continually at the grindstone – an off-site meeting with the franchisor can really help because it will get you away from the intensity of the business. This will then give you the chance to properly chat through the issues you’re facing – both good and bad. It can help you to refocus and prioritise what really needs to be done.

Finally, there’s the whole area of ongoing support. Whether you have been working in the franchise for 12 months or 12 years, the franchisor should be on hand to offer business advice and support. Having frequent one-to-one review meetings is a great way for franchisees to access guidance on boosting their business’s efficiency, accessing new opportunities and maintaining best practice.

Human beings naturally crave personal contact and thrive on interaction – whether that’s with our friends and family or with our customers and suppliers. For franchisors and franchisees, meeting face-to-face sets the tone of the relationship, builds confidence and respect in the relationship and allows both the franchisor and the franchisee to work together more cohesively to build the business.

About the Author

Nigel Toplis

Nigel Toplis

About Nigel Toplis: Is managing director of four franchise businesses: Recognition Express (badges, signs and promotional gifts); ComputerXplorers (provides ICT educational classes for three-to-13 year olds); Techclean (a leading provider of system hygiene services to businesses in the UK); and Kall Kwik (a licenced operation and premier business print and design company in the UK). Nigel is a past chairman of the BFA, has written three books on franchising and, in 2007, became a Fellow of Lancaster University.

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