Most franchisers and franchisees will start off feeling confident about their prospects for the franchise set up between them in a particular area, but the good relationship needs to be kept in order for a franchise to be successful.
To get the best chance of a good relationship though, plans should be drawn up for the very beginning of the process.
When meeting for the first time, both parties should devise a system where they can check against a list of characteristics and achievements to determine how well the franchisee will fit into the business and if the franchiser will be able to meet the needs and expectations of the franchisee.
Potential franchisees may have a number of the right qualities, but they must be able to work within the business structure without feeling frustrated and wanting to change a number of things that they believe will improve the franchise, causing unnecessary tension.
Once an agreement has been made, franchisors should allow suggestions to be made to them, but they need to be firm on this issue and make it clear that they are ultimately in charge.
In addition, although the product or service itself may attract a franchisee, the way the franchise is run is more important. Therefore, franchisees should look out for franchisors that view them as customers, rather than as partners (albeit with the franchisor in charge) who need to work together to build up customer loyalty.
When they have joined a company, ongoing training and communication is important for improvement, but what is vital is that franchisees have a contact to discuss problems with so that effective solutions can be devised quickly, otherwise difficulties will begin to pile up.
Once a concern has been dealt with, franchisees should note how the franchiser went about solving it. Ideally, it should have analyzed how it affects the whole franchise, how staff or systems can be improved to stop the problem occurring again and the cost implications.
This approach will ensure franchisees are confident that they have an excellent level of support and should mean that they will not try and take on too much, which could happen if they have doubts about the problem solving capabilities of the franchisor.
Franchisors should also consider setting up a franchise advisory council. This gives franchisees a formal process to put forward their views on a range of issues and should make sure they do not form their own organization without the knowledge of the franchisor.
Franchisees must give regular reports to the franchisor as well and keep it informed of any potential marketing opportunities in their area.
By working together closely, having clear, defined roles and through sorting out troubles as efficiently as possible, a bond of trust and respect will form between franchisors and franchisees.
This will keep motivation levels high and individual franchises -- and in turn the entire franchise system -- will be more likely to succeed.