I don’t like to think of franchising as being governed by a top-down hierarchy. For a franchise system to really function, there must be an even give-and-take between the people at HQ and the franchisees working on the ground.
It saddens one to scour the internet and read about some of the tensions between franchisors and franchisees that have emerged in certain operations. Many of these differences are avoidable. There is certainly an impetus (with a financial benefit) upon the franchisor to keep abreast of how the franchisees are faring.
Linda Burzynski, CFE with the Franchise CEO, has just penned an illuminating article for Franchising.com spelling out the importance of the ‘validation’ system for franchisors. For Linda, it’s essential for a franchisor to open the doors of their organization wide open (and provide access to franchisees) when a new candidate expresses interest.
She provides the four following reasons why validation works:
- Feedback from candidates or a broker concerning franchisee validation is golden to you.
- As a leader, it's key to emphasize that building the brand by adding units is a winning situation for the entire system.
- Encourage your development team to prepare franchisees and the candidates for the validation process.
- Continue to be the number-one fan of your franchise development team.
Another thing to consider is hiring consultants to interview franchisees. While they say the numbers don’t lie, franchisors must really go the extra mile to understand how their franchisees are coping with this current market. An open franchise organization is often a thriving one.