Embracing the “I See” in Franchisee

by Mycah Hulst | June 19, 2018

Becoming a franchisee is one of the wisest moves a business-minded person can make. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, “Success rates for franchises are greater than 90%, making this the lowest failure rate of ANY type of business.” I will tell you why this is true, AND I will eventually share a valuable secret with you about how it can be a successful business relationship. 🙂

The biggest selling point for franchise-based companies is that franchising is about buying into a brand, strategy, and support system for a fraction of what it would take to pursue ownership alone. Buying into a brand and strategy is an obvious benefit of becoming a franchise, but many forget about the support system of individuals who are bought in to the same investment, motivated by similar goals, and are with you every step of the way. Internally and externally, there is a network of dedicated professionals who become like family and are determined to see all participating members succeed.

Essentially, franchising is a win-win situation for both parties; however, if we’re being honest, the journey is not always easy. Working with franchisees is an experience that is centered on mutual respect for one another but is often complicated by differing opinions concerning promotional strategy and decorum. There are two types of people within these interactions and relationships. First, there is a business owner who is driven, knows the community, and has a vision of what they desire their location to simulate. Next, there is a marketing team, comprised of various individuals who are working to develop/promote brand consistency while meeting the needs and wishes of the franchisee.

So… what’s the key to success? And how is middle ground established? Cue the secret sharing. Have a lot of conversations that involve both parties: the owner, and the marketing team. These initial conversations should be positive and goal aligning. It’s important to remember that like all other areas of life, nurturing positive relationships take time and a substantial amount of effort. An instant desire to prove promotional expertise is not productive or relationally nurturing. Marketing for a franchise establishment is just like dating, which can simply and always be described through a cheesy quote (I understand this is a weird way to view business but bear with me… I promise it will make sense).

“When a man (marketer) can listen to a woman’s (franchisee’s) feelings (ideas) without getting angry and frustrated (*insert any other emotions here), he gives her a wonderful gift. He makes it safe for her to express herself. The more she is able to express herself, the more she feels heard and understood, and the more she is able to give a man acceptance, appreciation, admiration, and approval.” – John Gray

The point here is that for everyone involved, listening is KEY. The marketing team often has a lot to say (we are creative and vocal about it—That’s our job!), and the business owner may dig in their heels and be stubborn. Nevertheless, in these types of situations (and for the entire franchising entity to be truly successful) one MUST put a lid on it at first. First, learn to intently listen and THEN speak with discretion. Embracing the “I see” in franchisee is about truly appreciating the perspective of the business owner, making sure they know you appreciate it, and then moving forward accordingly with recommendations and advice. In saying “I see,” you reflect a listening ear and hint at progressive correspondence. I hope if you’re working with franchises that this small piece of advice leads you to a happy and successful working relationship!