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Communication

Franchisees as a group and each franchisee individually must find a way to manage their relationship with the franchisor, and vice versa. Not enough attention is paid to how partners, who commit to as many as 20 years of working together, will remain focused enough to protect the brand and be flexible enough to react to constantly changing market forces. It is this very ability to manage the franchise relationship in a dynamic way that keeps a system viable for the long run. Additionally, when the franchise relationship builds in mechanisms to adjust to market changes, the formal legal boundaries of the license agreement should not constrain competitive advantage. In other words, no contract can be written that anticipates every change that may occur over the course of a 20-year period. But when both the franchisor and franchisee are committed to communicate openly and believe there is equity in the relationship, then the appropriate adjustments can and will be made in manners that benefit both parties.

This is the essence of relational dynamics—making adjustments to the relationship in response to market demand that benefit both parties and enable them to reach their mutually dependent goals of wealth creation. The role and interpersonal skills of the franchisor’s field personnel is the key to the informal communications system in the franchise relationship. When franchisees believe their field support contact with the franchisor is clearly and accurately communicating, the level of conflict remains healthy. This is true even when the message is not one the franchisee wants to hear! Frequent and direct contact with the franchisee by trusted franchisor personnel is essential to a positive relational dynamic.


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