Anyone trying to understand the difference between franchising and running a small business should have a read of a recent story on USA Today.
In Steve Strauss's Ask An Expert column, a reader asked him whether he should be wary about a franchisor encrocaching on their business even though franchise itself is quite a successful brand. Strauss tried to alleviate his anxieties and his advice is valid for all franchisees:
Great franchisors listen to their franchisees. It is not, or at least should not be, a dictatorial, top-down system where the franchisor talks and the franchisee listens.
Great franchisors consider themselves partners in the success of the franchisees, and as such, allow for innovation within the framework of the franchise structure.
The key on the entrepreneur's side is to find a franchisor who is as invested in the entrepreneurs success as the entrepreneur himself. He offers the final bit of wisdom:
The thing is, not all franchisors are created equal. Some listen, others don't. Some are great to work with, and others are not. So how do you know? You have to do your homework. There are two places to get the lowdown: