How To Achieve The Basic And Most Obvious Goal Of A Franchise: To Make The Relationship Beneficial To Both The Franchiser And The Franchisee.
Franchising can be likened to having a car after a trip to the car dealer. Once we are done with choosing a franchise or deciding to franchise our business, we would need to address this crucial question: in the same way that we need to get the car out of the dealer’s premises after paying for it, in the same way that we need to get the car out of the dealer’s premises after paying for it, how do we make the franchise work once it’s in our hands?
Much has been written on how to franchise a business or to choose one, but this particular phase of franchising is simply the tip of the iceberg, so speak. It is making the franchise work making it succeed and grow into a viable and vibrant business that’s really the heart of the matter, and I must say that this is a challenge that is bound to test the maturity of both the franchiser and the franchisee.
The basic and most obvious goal of a franchise is, of course, to make the relationship beneficial to both parties, but even then, we must recognize that our actions in going into a franchise relationship may not necessarily be motivated by the material benefits that we can derive from it.
It could be that the benefits we expect are primarily social – “I want to own or belong to a successful team.” “I can prove my business has excellent potential.”- or psychological- “I just would love to do what franchise concept calls for.” “by franchising, I can now expand my business.” – or perhaps even emotional – “I will need a support system to start my business.” “I won’t be alone but have other entrepreneurs managing similar branches.” Still, the bottom line w0ill ultimately be the financial benefits that both parties can derive from the franchise relationship.
Indeed, franchising may be distinct from other means of expanding a business, but the expectation of a good financial return will always be at the root of it.
As in driving a good racing car to peak speeds of up to 220 kilometers per hour, you can make the franchise engine work at peak efficiency only if all of its components are working smoothly and harmoniously. Franchises are like vested cars in races -they have to be very well maintained and their parts must always be kept in tip – top condition.
So, to pursue the analogy further, if your franchises were a car, how would you make it work so you can derive the maximum benefit from it and harness its full potential?
The Operations Manual
The first thing to do is to make the franchise Operations Manual work for you.
Oops! Don’t make the mistake of keeping that manual in a secure and safe place or, even worse, keeping it under lock and key. The Operations Manual is meant to be understood and regularly referred to as you operate your franchise. You must read and fully understand the operating manual of the car. Why? It’s because that car manual identifies all the parts of the car, explains how they function, and shows the user how to maintain them. In the same token, the Franchise Operation Manual contains all the information you need to make the franchise functional, whether you are the franchiser or the franchisee. Because it prescribes in detail the standards of the business model, the Franchise Operations Manual is what will enable the franchise system to achieve uniformity and consistency in its implementation.
The franchisee should use the Operations Manual as the primary guide for running his or a static and inflexible set of rules. The franchiser should regularly update and improve it to enable the franchise system to keep up with technology. It won’t be an understatement to say that a franchise system that doesn’t regularly update its Operations Manual is headed towards disaster sometime soon.
The Communication Fuel
Tons of articles have been written about the importance of communication not only in franchising but also in general. To go back to the car analogy, what will keep the car running to our desired destination is fuel. In a franchise system, the equivalent of the car’s fuel is communication. It is communication that will enable the major participants in the franchise system – the franchiser and the franchise – to achieve unity of vision and objectives and to agree on how to achieve them. When there is basic acceptance of the importance of often dialogue between franchiser and franchisee, the franchise system is greatly enriched and grows much faster.
When the unity of minds between franchiser and franchisee is the goal, the communication dynamics in the franchise system be comes more challenging and exciting. On one hand, no longer will you have a franchiser who thinks his or her franchisees are just there to collect fees and not to provide support. In such a situation, even if the initial atmosphere may be stiff and uncomfortable, at least the franchiser and franchisee can now sit down in a spirit of openness and dialogue.