As a franchisee, you must invest in relationships. Building relationships is the core of any successful endeavor. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a business or building awareness for a cause - relationships will go far.
Yes, product and service is important, but you can have less than perfect products but a great relationship with people and still be profitable.
Franchiser and Franchisee
It’s imperative that you keep open communications and work with the franchisor in the way that they’ve outlined. For example, the way that many franchisors figure royalty payments is by entering your accounting system remotely using technology and looking at the numbers themselves, then sending you an invoice for that amount. In some cases, they do auto bank drafts for the amount.
This may seem intrusive, but often this is how it’s done. If you fight the system after you’ve agreed to it, it could cause serious problems. The best way to form a good relationship with the franchisor is to stick to your agreements and to work hard to become profitable. The more profitable you are, the more the franchisor will want to have a relationship with you.
Employees and Franchisee
If your franchise has employees, then you’ll need to build relationships with your employees too. This can be tricky, especially if you’ve never been a boss. It may be tempting to hire a lot of family and friends, but the best thing you can do is to avoid doing that too much. And if you do, make sure you have training and firm boundaries at work. If you set up a system that is to be followed and is fair for everyone, you won’t have any problems.
Customers and Franchisee
Your customers are your lifeblood. You need to build strong, solid, friendly relationships with them. Train your employees to provide top-notch customer service. Put out comment cards so that your customers can say what they think about your place. Greet them personally, no matter what you’re doing. Make it a habit of making yourself known so that they know you're ready to serve.
Vendors and Franchisee
You’ll likely have various vendors delivering products and supplies off and on during the day. Try to develop a good friendship with these vendors because sometimes they have an extra product or can give you extra discounts that they’ll offer to you because they like you. If you have a food establishment and the vendor has time, sit down for coffee or a meal with them.
City and Franchisee
When you open a business, you become part of the city’s business landscape. You should join the chamber of commerce and participate. If you have the type of business with some space, offer to host a business after hours’ event. Go to chamber events, sponsor chamber events, and patron chamber member businesses. Be involved.
Community and Franchisee
As a business owner, you’re now part of the business community and the entire community at large as a leader. People see business owners as doing well, and therefore as leaders to the community. Get involved with community-wide fundraising events, parades, memorials and more. Show that you’re more than just a business owner getting wealthy in the community, so that you are part of the community.
There are many ways to build relationships with each of these people. You’ll need to give some thought about how you want to be known and viewed by each of these groups of people as a business leader in the community.