National Advertising Spend
A franchisor with a national advertising fund is duty-bound to spend those dollars for the betterment of the franchise system. That generally means that franchisee’s benefit from the fund will not be a direct reflection of their contribution. As a simple example, Franchisee A, who has been operating for 3 months, is likely to contributing significantly less to an advertising fund than Franchisee B, who has been operating 3 years. Because of, not in spite of, this reason, a franchisor likely will spend more dollars in franchisee A’s territory for regionally-targeted advertising. All else being equal, the system will likely benefit most from helping a new franchisee gain market awareness.
These are just two examples of many different ways that a franchisor and franchisee may be, while not misaligned, not perfectly in sync even when they are focused on the “right” motivations.
What To Do About It?
So how should a franchisor, or a franchisee, address this?
Both parties acknowledging that they understand the other’s motivations, rather than questioning their integrity, is the first step to a non-combative relationship with franchisees.
Both sides signed up for this! A franchisee specifically decided to be a franchisee knowing the freedoms they were giving up. A franchisor specifically decides to be a franchisor knowing the many, and often seemingly opposing, motivations and pressures that the business model inherently contains.
Pick your battles
Franchisees have areas that they can demand their franchisor perform a certain way. Franchisors have the same. That doesn’t mean they have to. As a franchisee, when you are in a position that you don’t have to do what your franchisor is requesting, consider it anyway. Are you sure their request is incorrect? Whatever it is that the franchisor is asking you to do, could you give it an honest try, remembering that you bought into their brand and vision because you believed in them? As a franchisor, if you could insist on a franchisee performing in a certain way, do you really have to? How certain are you that your demand is the right thing for your system? Would your system, brand integrity, or customer experience really be harmed if you allowed the franchisee to “opt out”?
, I will say this; if you interact with your franchisor with this mindset, you will likely be perceived as a team player and a system contributor. That perception can have all sorts of positive effects on your business. If a franchisor is considering a new product line or advertising approach, you will likely be one of the people they seek feedback from. If opportunities for collaboration arise, the franchisor will turn to the franchisees that are known collaborators. Franchisors
, please keep this in mind. Your franchisees are your boots on the ground. Irrespective of the legal requirements of your franchise agreement, you can’t be all places at all times. If you want a system of cooperative franchisees, cooperate. If you want a system of collaborators, collaborate. World-class people make world-class organizations. For any franchisee or franchisor who has read this, I hope you take it to heart. You won’t be part of, or lead, as the case may be, a world-class system if you don’t deserve it. That’s just the way these things work out. So, if you have conflict with your franchisor or within your system, check a mirror.