Building a long and happy franchise relationship

Cautious courtship is key to preventing heartbreak for franchisor and franchisee alike

Building a long and happy franchise relationship

Whilst the relationship between franchisor and franchisee is absolutely fundamental to the success of a franchise, there is no single definition that totally explains the nature of that relationship. But it is worth exploring the dynamics of this partnership, what a franchisee should expect from it and what steps they should take to ensure the chemistry is right before signing on the dotted line.

Evidently, where a relationship is founded on mutual respect, openness of thought, common objectives and a comparable level of energy, dedication and drive, there is every chance it will thrive. Conversely, if a relationship has become acrimonious, neither party sees eye to eye and all enthusiasm and trust has dissipated, then for the sake of everyone involved, it is probably worth initiating divorce proceedings.

Before you take the plunge

Taking on a franchise is a big decision – right up there with getting married – so it requires careful and due consideration. As with any new relationship, only fools rush in. That first heady flush of infatuation can wear off very quickly, so it’s best to take your time, find out as much as you can to check out your compatibility and then make your decision based on fact, not emotion.

When you think you have found the right business, stand back and ask yourself the following questions. Can it offer solid, reliable returns? What support is provided by the head office? How strong a foothold does it have in the market? Does the company have a finance facility with the banks? Then, like checking out a prenuptial agreement, franchisees should take the franchise agreement to a bfa-accredited lawyer and get feedback on its contents and meaning.

Once the courtship is done, make your decision. Only if it feels absolutely right should you sign up. Like a marriage, it’s significantly easier to break off an engagement than file for divorce.

Happily ever after?

Clear, open communication between the franchisor and franchisee is vital at all stages of the franchising relationship, from courtship through to marriage. As in any family, there’s bound to be ups and downs but the main thing is you are part of a group of people with a shared vision: to build a successful business.”

If you put as much as you can into your business while maximising the mentoring and support available to you from the franchisor, you will both be celebrating many anniversaries to come.

Nigel Toplis
Nigel Toplis