How much time are you investing in building a better, more valuable relationship with your franchisor?
Just as with any important relationship, the more time and energy you devote to growing this bond, the more valuable it becomes. Here are three ways you can deepen the relationship between your franchise and headquarters – without spending a lot of money.
Attend Franchisee Training
The first time you went through the franchisee training program, you may have been a little nervous – and probably a little overwhelmed with the amount of information you were given. Now, having owned your own store for a while, and seeing your unit grow, the experience will be even more valuable. Keep in mind that you don’t need to stay for the entire session. Even if you’re only able to stay for a few days of training, you’ll likely pick up on things you missed your first time through. And for an added bonus, you’ll be on hand to provide real-world experience to the new franchisees.
Your presence will also impress your franchisor, who will notice the extra effort you’re making to not only enhance your own store, but to help the newer class of franchisees, as well.
When I was a franchisor, there was one owner who would show up at the office for no other reason than to build relationships with the staff. Not only did he make friends through the process, but his visits went a long way towards raising his profile in the brand and our franchise family.
If headquarters is close by, make a point to visit occasionally to get to know the staff. Or, if you’re hopping on a plane for a business trip, plan to stop by when you’re in the area. Not only will the experience help build your recognition factor, but it will allow you to play a key role in helping your franchisor understand what it’s like to be a unit owner. This first-hand experience can be extremely beneficial for them – especially since they’ve probably never worked in a store themselves. Think about how it could help them develop a marketing strategy or build vendor relationships, for example.
Volunteer for the Advisory Council
If your franchise system has an Advisory Council, I strongly suggest you get on that council as fast as you can. Volunteering your time to this group allows you to play a key role in many ways, including brainstorming new ideas for the organization. It also allows you to build relationships with representatives from headquarters and learn from other owners in the room.
These groups usually have a nice cross section of owners, including established franchisees, multi-unit owners and those who are new to the industry. Having conversations with such a broad range of individuals can give you a different perspective on how you’re currently running your store – and help you think of ways that might help you reach a greater level of success.
All three of these strategies are easy and inexpensive ways to build a deeper relationship with headquarters. Through this process, you’ll get to know people on a much deeper level and open yourself up to opportunities to learn new things - helping to add value to your business and improve your chances of success as a franchisee.