7 Relationship-Building Lessons I Learned By Partnering With Over 20 Franchises

Developing a strong bond between a franchisor and a franchisee is critical to both parties' success. I expand on the key takeaways I've learned from working with over 20 franchisees.

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By JC Hite

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Franchising has become increasingly popular in recent years, and with good reason. There are two big reasons to do franchising: It allows you to partner with another business to share resources, customers and brand recognition. Secondly, the franchisor and franchisee rely on each other for growth — one can't grow without the other. So this creates an incentive for both to strengthen their relationship and keep each other happy.

Business is rough. It's a battle full of discomfort, pain, haziness, unpredictability and uneasiness. When I consider all the pieces of this business puzzle, the biggest realization I have is that I need to build a team. By working with other entrepreneurs, we can go to "war" together and become stronger because we will have built a supportive network for each other.

Related: 3 Tips on How to Empower Your Franchisees to Acquire Local Customers

Having worked with over 20 franchises, I've learned so much about partnering with other business owners. I've found many similarities between building a business partnership and getting married. In both cases, you're committing to working with someone else towards common goals, sharing resources and dealing with the good and bad times together.

Related: Why People are Rethinking Retirement and Franchising Instead

In business, we often discuss partnerships and franchising as if they are marriages. And in many ways, they are. Both require constant communication, trust, honesty and commitment from all parties involved.

Just like in a marriage, these relationships can be incredibly rewarding and fraught with challenges. But if all parties are committed to making the relationship work, it can be a very successful venture.

Here are some key lessons I've learned from franchising and partner relationships in business:

1. With more franchises, you'll have less time to give them

When you have just a few franchises, you can dedicate more time and attention to every franchise, as you can keep up and meet their needs. However, it's important to understand that as you grow in partners, the harder it gets to provide the necessary support and attention they need.

When you're starting out and only have to manage a few franchisees, you can get to know them personally and understand their business goals. But as your franchise network grows, providing that same support and attention becomes harder.

2. You need self-sustaining partners

As your franchise network grows, you need self-sufficient partners who can sustain themselves without your constant hand-holding. These partners clearly understand the franchisor-franchisee relationship and know how to operate their business independently.

Communicating and meeting your business partner's needs is important. However, having them be self-sufficient removes a lot of pressure from you and your team, allowing you to focus on other important matters.

Related: 10 Ways the Pandemic Transformed Franchising

3. Franchisees need to feel like they're part of the family

Like in a marriage, both partners need to feel like they are part of a family. For a franchise relationship to be successful, franchisees need to feel supported by the franchisor. They should feel like they are part of a team and that their success is the franchisor's.

As the franchisor, you must provide adequate training and support so franchisees can succeed. But more importantly, you need to create an environment where franchisees feel like they belong.

4. Disagreements are inevitable — it's how you handle them that's key

Just like in any relationship, there will be disagreements. It's important to remember that how you handle these disagreements will determine the relationship's success.

In a franchising relationship, both parties must be willing to compromise and find a middle ground. They need to be able to see things from the other person's perspective and be open to finding a solution that works for both parties.

5. It's difficult to keep everyone happy

In any relationship, it's impossible to keep everyone happy all the time. And in a franchising relationship, there will always be franchisees who are unhappy with something.

The key is to listen to their concerns and try to find a way to address them. But at the end of the day, you need to make decisions that are in the best interest of the franchise as a whole.

Related: How To Launch, Grow and Thrive in Franchising

6. All relationships require work

All relationships – whether they're marriages or business partnerships require work. If you want your relationship to be successful, you must be willing to put in the time and effort. You need to communicate constantly and work together towards common goals.

The relationship will suffer if you're not willing to do the work. And in a business setting, that can mean big problems down the road.

7. Focus on the opportunities

Having a successful franchising relationship comes down to focus. You need to focus on the opportunities that the relationship provides. You must understand that this requires hard work, but it's a very rewarding experience.

You need to see the potential for growth and expansion. And you need to be willing to work together to make it happen. You'll be well on your way to a successful franchising relationship if you can do that.

JC Hite

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

CEO / Founder of Hite Digital

JC Hite is the CEO and founder of Hite Digital, a white label digital marketing agency. With a passion for business and people, he’s successfully scaled his agency in just two years and counting. Now his companies help other agencies to do the same.

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