The franchisee/franchisor relationship is a unique one and differs significantly from the employee/employer dynamic. Ensuring an optimal relationship between the two will not only improve your bottom line, but perhaps your emotional wellbeing as well.
Related: Sizing up you franchisor
When you’re new to an organisation, you quickly understand the larger purpose of having two ears and one mouth. There is much to listen to and many to learn from before you start making changes. Here are three suggestions on maintaining a great relationship with your franchisee or franchisor.
1. Always give the benefit of the doubt
As a franchisee: Let your franchisor know you will give them the benefit of the doubt when there are changes occurring in the organisation. By giving the benefit of the doubt, the first thought that comes to mind should be: “There is a good reason this decision or issue has been addressed this way, and I should find out more before having an emotional reaction.”
Remember, the top two assets of a franchisor are their franchisees and their brand. If a decision damages either one (or both), they are hurting themselves just as much as their franchisees.
2. Seek first to understand
Dig up all those old listening skills. Sometimes, we’re so busy that we don’t take the time to truly understand where someone is coming from when engaging in a discussion. We misunderstand the true issue being raised by honing in on one element of the bigger picture.
If someone doesn’t like your new marketing plan or they receive poor service from your staff, or, given today’s economy, they’re stressed out more than normal, you should take a second to ask them what else might be bothering them. It will make a world of difference.
As a franchisee: Clarify your message if you are unsure of the core issue at hand, and don’t be afraid to speak up. When starting out, follow the rules and processes, and if you find something could be done better, speak to your franchisor first before putting it into action.
Remember, the reason your franchise is popular is because consumers always know what to expect when they walk through your doors. If you’re shaking things up (even if it’s for the better) you could be upsetting the apple cart.
3. Visit your teams one-on-one
As a franchisee: Technology is great, and phones, email and even web-conferencing have improved communication in many ways, but a one-on-one visit to your corporate office is a great way to improve your business.
Your accomplishments depend on a successful execution of your model, and the franchisor wants to help you.
Related: Blunders to avoid
Take the time and spend the money to fly or drive to their headquarters and schedule time with everyone — from the customer service and support to the president, CEO, and owners if possible. Let them know how you’re doing, your future goals and what they can do to help you achieve the success you desire.
It’s not uncommon at times to feel isolated or disconnected from the organisation. Seeing the big picture or the strategic nature of the operation can be difficult.
Remember that franchising offers support, templates and a relationship that drives performance and a unified sense of purpose: You fail together, and you succeed together.