Franchise Ownership and Support
What makes a franchise a winning opportunity for prospective entrepreneurs? There are many elements that ultimately play a part in the success of a franchise and the happiness of its franchisees (franchise owners), but strong franchisor support is key. Without support, business owners may feel like they are “on their own”, when ultimately that is one of the major benefits of choosing a franchise over an original business. Franchises can offer support, encouragement and guidance to their franchisees that you don’t get when “going it alone”. Exceptional support is, without a doubt, a highly valuable part of a franchise ownership package.
What is Franchisor Ownership Support?
The following features are instrumental to a solid franchise support program:
- Training: A complete program for the franchise owner and the franchisee’s support staff. The training should provide hands-on experience with every aspect of running the business. Sometimes franchisors will also offer ongoing training as new techniques and products are developed and when franchisees desire a refresher course.
- A well-developed network of independently owned and operated franchises that gain support from each other. Intranets, chat groups, and meetings and get-togethers are all perfect examples.
- An easy-to-follow operations manual which guides a franchisee from pre-opening to a well established, successful franchise operation.
- Support on every detail of owning a franchise, from store decor and lease negotiations to how to hire employees and where to buy products.
- Purchasing benefits and products in bulk and passing the savings on to franchisees.
- Regular communication between the franchisor and franchise owners. From regular newsletters and emails to phone calls, franchisors should stay in touch with and communicate often and well with their franchisees.
- Marketing and advertising support.
- The option to expand, and help with growth.
What’s So Important About Franchisor Ownership with Strong Support?
It’s a given that most franchises will offer new franchisees training and on-site help when they first open their business. Keep in mind that each franchise will vary and support and training will also vary depending on the industry. From that point on, support varies greatly. Most franchisors have field representatives who will, at a minimum, visit the franchised branches at scheduled times and answer any questions the franchisee may have. Other franchisors go a step further: From giving personal phone numbers out so franchise owners can reach them at any time of the day to offering extra training courses, holding meetings and conventions, and writing up a regularly-produced newsletter. Exceptional franchisors will offer their franchisees advice, training, communication, help during hard times, and help with expansion and growth.
Support which is given without “suffocating” a franchisee can often amount to a more successful, confident, dedicated franchise owner. The most supportive and generally successful franchisors are those that look at their franchisees as partners. Partnerships do not work unless everyone is happy, prosperous, and supporting each other.
Franchise Ownership Questions…
When a prospective franchisee is searching for the perfect franchise, support may play a big role in which franchise is chosen. If running the business on one’s own is preferable, support will play a smaller role in the decision process, and consideration of a business opportunity may be an avenue to explore. Generally business opportunities do not provide the level of support a franchise does. However, If support, motivation, and guidance are important factors, some very basic questions should be asked of the franchisor when exploring any opportunity:
- Will training be ongoing or a one-time experience?
- Will I receive help with location, lease negotiation, and interior and exterior design?
- Are any financing programs available to me directly from the company?
- Will I have to pay into an advertising fund and what benefits does this offer me?
- Will I have access to a company-wide buying program? For what supplies/items?
- Are promotional programs developed and offered company-wide?
- Will I have access to someone whenever I need help?
More and more, franchisors are realizing the advantages of offering their franchisees strong support services. For some franchisors, the ability to not only offer advice when a franchisee is having problems with their business but also get to know them as people, leads to a much stronger partnership. For others, helping franchisees become and stay successful brings additional success to the company and the brand. Ultimately, exceptional support breeds happiness and success for everyone involved.