How can the franchise sector embrace positive franchising?

Franchising relationships expert Greg Nathan is calling on Australian franchisors to come together and discuss how to risk proof their networks, given the current negative focus on franchising by politicians and the mainstream media.

Nathan, founder of The Franchise Relationships Institute (FRI), says “In my 40 years working in Australian franchising, I have never seen such unfair negativity targeted at a sector that does so much good for small business and our economy.

“It’s like the whole franchising sector is being punished because of the bad behavior of a few brands.”

Despite the headlines, Nathan says research at FRI shows that 81 per cent of franchisees across the sector do believe their franchisor acts fairly.

“The reality is, in these extremely tough business times, franchising is the solution to support small business people, not the problem.”

However franchisors must ensure their franchise relationships are rock solid, says Nathan, who recently was recognised in the US for his franchising leadership.

Business models need to be up-to-date to accommodate significant changes to market conditions and customer buying habits he says.

“Perhaps it’s time all franchisors reflected on the health of their franchise networks — culturally and commercially — and asked themselves this important question: ‘Would you invest as a franchisee in your own network?’”

Franchisors also need to be confident and positive in how they respond to questions from their existing franchisees who are “getting twitchy” over the current negative media coverage, he says.

FRI is running a special Franchisor Excellence Masterclass intended to help franchisors understand and employ best practice in the areas of change management, franchisee recruitment, franchisee engagement, and through the process of creating a collaborative culture.

“We are hoping that senior executives from all major brands will participate in this important event” Nathan says.

The Franchisor Excellence Masterclass will be held in Melbourne on 30 April and 1 May. For further information go to