What are the building blocks for an effective franchise relations program?

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Trust is the watchword for any franchise, as with any business model or practice. It’s more often the relationship based on the trust that does magic time and again in ensuring the sustained growth and profitability of a franchise system. Ask any successful franchise system on what drives the trust factor…And voila! Here you go…a blueprint that is ready for you to duplicate and execute.

 Successful Pilot Operation to duplicate:
A franchisor must boast of a successful business to duplicate before it decides to franchise its business concept out. It is the very often the track record of the franchise in terms of profitability that’d speak. “It is imperative for the franchisor to develop a pilot operation that is both functional as well as profitable, with well-documented processes, for duplicating the business model easily,” says Iyyappan Rajendran, Founder, Strategizer Franchise Consulting Services.

Recruitment Process:

The success of any franchise system, for the most part, is decided by the right recruitment process – the individual’s financial prowess, previous business experience and personal qualities. Adds Iyyappan Rajendran, “Another thing to find out is whether the franchisee’s experience and background match with that of the business acumen required in managing the show. The franchisee must be in a position to cover financial expenses until the franchise makes profit.”

The initial training offered by the franchisor determines the pace at which a franchise turns out successful. This should be an ongoing process to address the changing business needs, based on the growing knowledge demands of the franchisees, and close the gap between knowledge and training.

Management of the franchise relationship:
There are a few factors that come into play when it comes to managing the franchising relationship:
Support vs. Compliance:
The franchisor must be duly careful in the way it handles its franchisees when it comes to balancing support and compliance. The franchisor must be empathetic towards the franchisee with a support system; any policing must be done with the bigger picture in mind that would benefit the entire franchise network. The franchisee, at the same time, must rise to the expectations of the franchisor for a successful franchise system.

Allocation of resources:
The franchisor must be have an understanding on how to deliver support and services to the franchisee. It involves answering certain questions like whether it will have a central office for support and how frequently the franchisor will visit the franchise. There should be effective communication between the franchise and franchisor.

Most franchisees want to be recognized and the franchisor must create an environment that is conducive to competitiveness in terms of productivity, sales and giving back to the franchise network.

Field Presence and Support:
The field staff members of the franchisor are pivotal for the continuance of relationship between the franchisee and the franchisor.  Also, frequent visits by field staff members may help them get useful inputs in terms of growth and productivity from the franchisees

Open Communication:
Franchisors should try to develop common open communication with franchisees without depending on too formal a structure. Association & committee meetings and annual conventions should facilitate open exchange of issues and solutions. Open collaboration tools and chat forums online should help both franchisors as well as franchisees take up certain issues and espouse solutions.

Continuous effort to evolve the business:
Continuous research and development of new technologies, products, systems, and ways of doing the business must be in place and communicated to the franchisees. If a franchisor thinks that a franchisee displays innovation in a specific area, it must be communicated to other franchisees of a particular franchise business to keep the ball rolling.

Brand Promotion:
Finally, franchisors, besides the task of selling new franchises, should look to promoting their own brand in a powerful way. Remember branding has its own inherent advantage in terms of trust.

Trust Factor

The above-mentioned points are only a few factors to creating rock solid trust factor. Iyyappan Rajendran concludes, “There should be two-way trust between the franchisor and the franchisee in terms of communication, collaboration and innovation. Trust should be earned on merit and with time.” Feel free to add your points to the blog by writing to us.

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