End of the honeymoon period? How to strengthen your relationships with franchisees

Relationships between franchisees and franchisors can in many ways be likened to a marriage. Problems can surface after the honeymoon period and if not resolved, can lead down an emotional and costly path.

“Relationship breakdowns between franchisees and franchisors are one of the biggest challenges within the industry,” says Tracy Eaton, CEO at Remarkable Franchises.

This can occur once the initial intense training and support period from their franchisor is complete.

“Partnerships either breakdown and end, continue existing because it’s too hard to get out of it or work on the issues to thrive and grow over time,” she says.

“In 2015, depending on the industry, between 11 and 18 percent franchisees either sold or handed back franchises.”

Eaton says communication breakdowns, mismatched expectations, diverging priorities and lack of perspective or future vision are key triggers for problems between franchisees and franchisors.

“Those who are succeeding in the franchise industry are seeking independent advice and mentoring to take the emotion out of their actions and gain an objective perspective, allowing them to understand and accept both sides in the relationship,” she explains.

“Franchisors face a lot of criticism yet they need to stay open to feedback from their franchisees and third parties for the partnership to be profitable for all.”

How to strengthen relationships with your franchisees

1. Profiling: franchisors can profile potential franchisees which could be used to help both parties understand strengths and weaknesses throughout the course of their relationship.

2. Independent advice: find a mentor who has both franchise and business experience to get an objective view on your operations.

3. Training: franchisors should encourage franchisees to network, attend relevant seminars and keep up to date with what’s happening in business and technology.

4. Expectations: don’t expect franchisees to comply with everything. Have an interdependent relationship not a dependent one.