The franchise business format model continues grow exponentially, offering individuals the opportunity to own and operate their own businesses with the support of an established brand. However, the key to success in franchising often lies in the strength of the relationship between franchisees and franchisors. Understanding the essential elements of franchisee engagement and how it can be improved to unlock success for both parties, is a key element to optimising joint growth.

The success of any franchise system hinges on the partnership between franchisees and franchisors. Franchisees invest their time, money, and effort into running a business under the franchisor’s brand, while franchisors provide the necessary resources, training, ongoing support and new product or service development. A strong and collaborative relationship between these two parties is essential.

One of the foundational pillars of a successful franchise relationship is effective communication. Franchisees and franchisors need to establish open, transparent, and regular channels of communication. This includes not only discussing day-to-day operations but also long-term goals and strategies. And communication is not just one to one. Its everything which conveys the messages you want to get across and provide franchisees the opportunity to be heard – newsletters, group meetings, webinars, emails, Franchise Advisory Councils, network team calls, annual conferences, operations manuals, ticketing systems and more.

Franchisees should feel comfortable sharing their insights and challenges, while franchisors should actively listen and provide solutions or adapt the system when necessary. A culture of constructive feedback can foster trust and enable both parties to work together more efficiently.

It’s an often-discussed subject but franchisees are are more likely to succeed when they receive thorough in depth initial training, comprehensive launch processes and ongoing support from their franchisors. Investing in training programs, workshops, in location or field support, webinars and conferences goes a long way to ensure franchisees have the knowledge and skills required to operate the business successfully. This seems obvious but far too often we hear that franchisees don’t follow the model because they didn’t fully understand the training and their knowledge wasn’t properly tested.

Franchisors should be readily available to assist franchisees with any challenges that may arise. Whether it’s troubleshooting operational issues or providing marketing guidance, a strong support system is crucial for franchisee confidence and success.

Every franchisee is unique, with varying strengths, weaknesses, and local market conditions. Franchisors must recognize these differences and offer customized solutions to address the specific needs of each franchisee. By tailoring support and resources to individual circumstances, franchisors can empower franchisees to overcome challenges and seize opportunities, ultimately leading to higher engagement and satisfaction. They must also be open to listening to franchisees about their local understanding of the territory. Whilst a franchisor has a broad understanding of the success formula, local conditions do vary and it’s the franchisee who, very often, has the knowledge of those conditions.

Franchisees often find strength and motivation in connecting with their peers. Franchisors can facilitate this sense of community by organizing franchisee conferences, online forums, and other opportunities for franchisees to interact, share experiences, and learn from one another. Even more powerful and effective is creating small peer groups of likeminded franchises. Peer to peer groups are best designed for collaboration by franchisees, facilitated by the franchisor or an external expert. Peer groups are also useful in creating ‘accountability partnerships’ – franchisees holding themselves accountable to their peers.

The franchisee-franchisor relationship is at the core of a successful franchise system. By focusing on open communication, comprehensive training and support, customized solutions, a sense of community, and measurable recognition of success, franchisors can significantly improve franchisee engagement. When franchisees feel valued, supported, and motivated, they are more likely to invest their time and energy into growing their businesses, ultimately benefiting both parties and the franchise system as a whole. Unlocking success in franchising is a joint effort that begins with building a strong and collaborative relationship.