The importance of trust in the franchisor-franchisee relationship

In the realm of franchise business, trust serves as the cornerstone upon which all other pillars stand

The importance of trust in the franchisor-franchisee relationship

In the world of Snap Fitness, part of the global fitness franchise group, Lift Brands, trust is woven into the fabric of everyday interactions and decisions. In a journey, brimming with decades of experience in fitness and business management, the Snap Fitness team has learned the undeniable importance of trust in the franchisor-franchisee relationship. Here Development Director at Snap Fitness, Bill Painter, talks about the importance of trust in a successful franchisor-franchisee relationship.

In the dynamic world of franchising, the bond between a franchisor and franchisee isn’t merely transactional; it’s deeply rooted in mutual trust. As this sector continues to grow in the UK, understanding the role and importance of trust in this relationship becomes paramount. So why does trust matter and how can both parties nurture it?

Why is trust so vital?

Trust serves as the foundation for any successful business relationship. In the context of franchising, trust ensures both the franchisor and franchisee work towards a shared vision and goals, bolstering brand consistency and reputation. Through open channels of communication, facilitated by trust, the partnership develops swifter problem-solving and idea generation, ultimately driving profitability.

A significant number of our leadership began their careers as club owners or personal trainers. This intrinsic understanding of the fitness industry landscape has allowed us to foster a compelling sense of unity and vision. At Snap Fitness, we believe that it isn’t just about having a mission, it’s about possessing a purpose. Our Lift Brands’ “One Team” ethos resonates with our purpose: “Creating happy and healthy lifestyles for our customers, franchisees and team members.” Our core values of fun, family first, accountability and, importantly, trust – a promise of honesty, consistency and equality – drive everyone towards our purpose on a daily basis.

Building trust is a two-way street

Franchisors need to start with transparency. Franchisors who are upfront about their expectations of franchisees, including who leads on which responsibilities, and share key company data alongside innovations in processes or systems will foster trust.

Whilst providing ample training and resources for franchisees demonstrates a commitment to their success, there’s much more needed to create a trusted relationship. Allowing franchisees to voice concerns, provide feedback or share ideas without fear of reprisal through open channels is key.

As our Global CEO, Ty Menzies, eloquently puts it, “A strong culture beats strategy every day of the week.” The global landscape of our business offers immense potential for collaboration, yet we’re aware of the challenges it can pose in nurturing a unified culture.

Franchisees have their part to play in this two-way street. Consistency is key in franchising, so upholding brand standards is an essential role. Ensuring you maintain brand standards bolsters the reputation of the entire network and not only bring trust into the franchisor-franchisee relationship but with your fellow franchisees too. Attending company meetings, training sessions and engaging actively in franchisee forums shows your commitment to being part of one big team. This approach has reaped the rewards for our network, for instance, the UK region now enjoys the highest average member counts and a commendable annual growth of +17.5%. 

Trust in challenging times

Even in the most trust-rich relationships, challenges can arise. By embedding our purpose in day-to-day activities and communication, we find that navigating through times of economic, professional and personal troubles can be smoother sailing. If you’re in the process of selecting a franchise to invest in, ask the franchisor what process exists for open dialogue and addressing concerns head-on. 

Starting from the franchisee recruitment process, we focus on aligning potential partners with our core values. Our hybrid onboarding process ensures we connect personally with each franchisee, embedding our ethos from the very beginning. And through conventions, business updates, knowledge shares and annual awards, we keep the Snap Fitness family connected, informed and celebrated. In fact, regularly scheduled face-to-face opportunities to meet up ensure there is a platform for candid conversations which makes it more likely that smaller issues never need to escalate into larger challenges.

The future is collaborative

Trust is fortified when both parties celebrate mutual successes. Whether it’s the opening of a new outlet, hitting a financial milestone or receiving industry recognition, rejoicing in shared achievements can strengthen the bond.

Franchising isn’t about working in silos; it’s about collaboration. By fostering an environment where knowledge sharing is encouraged, this not only breeds trust but also drives innovation within the brand.

True success in franchising lies in collaborative growth. Our franchisees are our ears and eyes on the ground. By taking a bottom-up approach and having an open-door policy, we not only hear but act on the invaluable feedback received. Through initiatives like the UK Franchise Advisory and the 70% buy-in rule for any new developments, we ensure that our franchisees are at the heart of every decision we make.

Trust in the franchisee-franchisor relationship isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. As the UK franchising sector becomes even more competitive, those brands that prioritise and nurture trust will inevitably stand out and flourish, ultimately benefiting their franchisees, the people they employ and the communities in which they operate. 

Trust is more than just a value at Snap Fitness; it’s a practice, a commitment and a promise. A promise to our franchisees, our teams and every individual who walks through the doors of our gyms, that we are truly one team, sharing one vision. We’re all in this together, striving to make the world a healthier, happier place.

Bill Painter
Bill Painter