The role of the franchisor is to provide these tools and make decisions that will be of benefit to the entire system. While many great ideas have come from franchisees over the years, there needs to be a procedure to make that happen.
Inevitably, some franchisees forget this and try to figure out new ways to conduct their business on their own. When they do, sales begin a downward slide. Most consumers do not understand franchising, so when they have a strange or bad experience with one unit, it reflects poorly upon the entire system, not just that unit’s franchisee.
When you are researching a potential franchisor, you should evaluate the entire management team before deciding to purchase a franchise in their system.
Meeting the team
As with any other relationship, there has to be a good fit between the people involved in a business if that venture is to be successful. It is easy to get caught up in investigating the business opportunity, but you should not forget to also pay attention to the people behind that opportunity.
During the franchise-buying process, you will come into contact with several members of the franchisor’s team or, in some cases, representatives of the brand. You will likely spend most of your time with someone from the sales or development department, whom you might never interact with again after the sale, so it is also very important to get to know the people you will be working with daily, such as operations and marketing staff.
When approaching the management team, many franchisees tend to be very shy. Do not be afraid to ask tough questions. After all, you have the upper hand. Franchisors are looking for specific candidates who fit their company philosophy, so they can ‘grant’ franchises rather than sell them outright, but you are ultimately the one with the money and the power to decide whether or not to invest it.
If, for any reason, you cannot see yourself working with any part of the franchisor’s team or do not agree with their business philosophy and approach, it is best to walk away immediately. There are more than 4,000 franchise systems in Canada—you can sure find a better fit that will meet your needs!
Keep in mind franchisors evaluate potential franchisees the same way. They are looking for ‘intrapreneurs’—i.e. people who can work ‘inside the box’—who have value to add to the system and will be dedicated to developing the business. The greatest prerequisites they will look for are the abilities to manage time and people. You will need experience supervising, multitasking and prioritizing, as being a franchisee means being a good leader who can deal well with the stress of owning a business.