TEN things you want from your franchisor

Article by Nigel Toplis

The Bardon Group

Whilst different franchisors have different support structures, in my 25 years’ experience there are key ingredients that I believe are paramount in a successful franchise relationship.

1. Direct access to the most senior franchise management as running your own business can be lonely and an open channel of communication is vital.

2. Successful businesses are not random – they are planned, and the franchisor should work with you to create a business plan and then review the plan with you on a regular basis.

It is not for the franchisor to insist the franchisee prepares a business plan, but rather the franchisor is there to be used as a non-executive director and can be a huge asset.

3. Creating a business plan is a good start, but you should take advantage of regular 1-2-1 reviews with your franchisor.

You need to look at the business on a regular basis – to review key performance indicators (KPIs) and think about how to make improvements.

Do not waste the opportunity to exploit the experience and intellect of the franchisor.

4. You should expect regular communication from the franchisor to keep the network up to date on new initiatives, tools, programmes and any changes or upgrades to the system.

5. In addition, getting people together can do more to share best practice than any number of emails or newsletters. The Bardon Group hold regular network meetings and encourage franchisees to attend every meeting, to take advantage of new ideas, to network and to share experiences amongst colleagues.

6. Conferences work in a similar fashion – plus they are also used to celebrate occasion or success. It is important the franchisor takes the lead in ensuring success is recognised.

It’s lonely out there and so it is important that franchisee efforts are rewarded and recognised.

Many franchisors take a hands-off approach to franchising believing if the system is sound then personal interaction need only be limited.

I am a massive champion of the counter position. As a small business, there is no-one better to talk to than another small business owner – someone who understands the frustrations, recognises the effort needed and can both celebrate and counsel.

7. To this end I go out of my way to make several 1-2-1 franchisee visits, often being out at least two days every week – I expect it of myself and I think franchisees should expect to SEE the franchisor.

8. Of course, these personal visits should not detract from the essential operational support the franchisor has to provide.

The business system remains the cornerstone of every successful franchise and needs constant updating and augmenting.

9. Marketing support is a crucial part of the core operational support – but its’ importance warrants special mention.

Franchisees rightly look to their franchisor to provide the collateral, tools, systems and programmes on an on-going basis to ensure they have all the mechanisms to market their business.

I am a great believer in ‘friction free’ marketing – with tools and programmes requiring minimal involvement from the franchisee and run centrally by the franchisor.

10. A key component of friction free marketing is PR and it is fitting that this is the tenth aspect of support a best practice franchisor should provide.

We use a specialist agency to package together our PR messages, to support local franchisee activity and to gain national coverage through centrally run PR campaigns.

Ten things I would expect from a good franchisor.

By no means everything you want – but a hell of a good start.

Last Updated: 03-February-2020