One of the best things about buying a franchise is that you are not on your own. This article will teach you how to maximize that partnership and get the most out of the relationship with your franchisor.
You cannot do it alone. Building a winning franchise that will serve to give you a life that is exceptionally gratifying, but it starts the realization that collaboration is superior to solo efforts. The role your business will play as the greatest solution to your clients’ every challenge as well as potentially increasing your personal wealth begins with the varied professional partnerships you will come to appreciate increasingly over time.
The chief partnership, the one that franchise empires are built upon is between you and your franchisor, so if you have already signed your franchise agreement, may you honor that one above all others. As Minuteman Press International Area Manager in Southern California Steve Szymanski says, “The most important relationship is with the franchisor and really you should look at it as just that. When you buy a franchise, you are buying more than a business. You are buying all the expertise, systems and years of experience that can help provide the pathway to success.”
Nothing grows without a strong relationship with your franchisor – here are 4 ways to solidify that partnership:
1. Honor the brand: If there was a cardinal rule inscribed on the halls of a truly successful franchising journey, this would be it. It is a dual agreement to use the branding – the images, slogans and colors that have been empowered by years of hard-earned respect and dedication – to the mutual benefit of franchisor and franchisee alike. You are buying into an exclusive community that, through strictly abiding by the franchisor’s guidelines for its use, propagates the belief that your brand is one that can be trusted for excellence and consistency. Adulterating this pact through altering colors, slogans or signage is not the way to make the most of your investment. Instead, to deliver results for clients upon which lucrative reputations are built, honor the brand as outlined by your franchisor and you are more likely to become an award-winning staple within your local community.
2. Be honest: Your franchisor fields thoughts that are both glowing and critical from the owners it supports and this feedback can be extremely valuable. As you agree to mentor-ship, training and support from your local representatives and put it to work in the practice of growing your business, your franchisor welcomes you to speak your mind directly to the source when you have concerns or good news to share.
3. Extend trust and receive it: Each party granted trust to one another when the franchise agreement was signed. You perused the disclosure document, studied Item 19, particularly and determined that this brand was the one to win your dedication. It is time to prove it. The strongest brands got that way by intelligent design and your franchisor deserves credit and trust for that design and its continuing strength. There will be times of change, perhaps a new slogan, new proprietary software, or a marketing campaign and you need to maintain the trust earned at the signing of your agreement that allows your franchisor to be the caretaker of the brand’s integrity and future, which will directly benefit all franchisees. Be excited to roll with those changes or additions and use them together with your fellow franchisees to help proliferate the brand that has and will serve you so well in business.
4. Be open to constructive dialogue and suggestions: As you rightly feel free to offer constructive criticism or suggestions to your franchisor, in turn, remain open to receiving critical feedback and critiques as needed. Remember, it is the responsibility of your franchisor to help guide you if they see you are doing something wrong so you can have the greatest chance to make the most of your opportunity to build success on the brand. It would be remiss of a franchisor to withdraw care when it comes to how well the system is respected and whether or not the brand is represented in an unadulterated way.
Dennis Beck, owner of Minuteman Press in North Palm Beach, FL, also offers thoughts on 2 important business partnerships to nurture from the moment you open your doors:
- Banks: I think one of the very first relationships you need to build is with your commercial bank. Why? Simply put, it is because they might be your best source for funds to purchase equipment or for short term loans to carry you over periods of downturn. How do you do this beyond opening an account? You can use the banks services for your payroll needs and you can use the bank for setting up your credit card purchases. In addition if you buy a home and need a mortgage use that bank/or for a car loan. All of these contacts make you a good customer and therefore a person to whom they will lend money when needed. In addition I would also try to develop a relationship with a leasing company for funding equipment purchases.
- Vendors: Of course, it goes without saying that if you are in the printing industry, you need to develop a good credit relationship with your paper company. This is vital as paper will constitute from 10% to 18% of your total cost of doing business. Most paper companies for a new franchisee will give you about $2500 credit. Use and pay it off at the end of the month. As you grow, the line will increase-but pay your bills on time. Frankly, all of your vendors are important for credit purposes.
Dennis adds some common sense advice, “The best to way to develop these partnerships is to pay your bills on time or sooner.”
Your sense of belonging and a heap of extra knowledge grows with a friendly partnership with your peers, fellow franchisees:
Those you meet during your discovery period: Way before you sign on the dotted line and joined their proud ranks, you should take the opportunity to observe how existing franchise owners relate to each other, respect the brand and interact with the franchisor. You can lean on the representative from the corporation itself to help you meet franchise owners living the life that you seek to make your own and use those early greetings as an opportunity to find if the depth and quality of support and training the franchisor told you they provide is genuinely worthy of your investment.
Once you sign your agreement, other franchise owners can become your “fam” (to borrow a term from popular culture): Truly there is an extra gift that comes with franchising that leaves independent business ownership wanting in comparison and that is fellowship, an uncommon bond behind the power of your shared brand. The most elite franchise selections offer regular opportunities to mingle with other franchisees from regional meetings to bigger affairs like worldwide conventions at which you can find the ones to whom you relate best. Interacting with your peers in business will help you understand your role and your industry from an entirely new angle. Developing a rapport with them allows you the chance to find partners who will be able to relate to you on your terms and those with greater experience are usually delighted to share their advice should you wish to call and discuss solutions. If you are really lucky, the culture of your franchise can be such that you can actually have a functional, working partnership in which equipment sharing and other cooperative agreements become natural and can make the task of running your daily operations a far smoother ride.
The gratifying partnership with clients only business to business services franchise owners enjoy
When you make a living helping others make a living in business, a unique bond is formed that is based on trust that your products and services will bring coveted prosperity to your clients. Nothing generates loyalty quite like a B2B franchise owner delivering on the promise to enrich their livelihoods.
Jeff Robey, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice-President in Florida, observes how Minuteman Press franchise owners become allies to clients who may not know how to fully integrate marketing efforts to their own advantage when promoting their own businesses. As Minuteman Press is the modern printing industry, encompassing digital print, design and marketing services that are central to success, the partnership that comes when positive results roll in for clients translates into loyalty and advocacy. “Essentially what Minuteman Press franchise owners are doing each day is building relationships that will last a long time if the customer sees value in the product or service they are providing. These partnerships or relationships begin with the first contact which can be done by a mailed piece, a personal visit, or club/organizational meeting. Today many of these first contacts are also generated by internet advertising.”
Wendy Krause, owner of Minuteman Press in Silverton, South Africa, acknowledges that a variety of relationships must be established and maintained for your own good as a franchise owner. She says, “Your suppliers’ support is critical to your success and I believe in building those relationships and maintaining the golden thread. Still, your partnership with long-time customers is worth everything. They often become your best referral partners as they experience your service and products first hand and can speak with authority. Networking organizations, like BNI, offer the chance to develop positive partnerships in an extended marketing force who actively finds business for you.”
Beyond referrals, the partnership a B2B franchise maintains with a client is also apparent by the trust that comes when the time comes to discuss how additional products and services can better serve his or her needs. Clients’ willingness to add more value to an already personalized marketing campaign is the hallmark of a strong, proven franchise system that is grounded in personalized service such as was designed by Minuteman Press International decades ago.
You launch your franchise in strength as a direct result of the partnership only an industry-leading franchisor can provide. From there, you will join a family of fellow franchisees and negotiate business relationships with lending institutions, vendors and peers within your community, to name a few. With the guidance of your mentors, you’ll learn how to create working relationships that will pool ingenuity, experience and comradery into a select environment from which you can expand your reach, capabilities and resources to the great benefit of your budding client base and your growing bottom line.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.