The importance of communication for a successful franchise business
Anthony Davis| Director | Ink On The Run
Within a franchise business, communication between a franchisee and franchisor are of the utmost importance. Clear channels of communication ensure the support franchisees receive is strong and the franchise business is efficient. In this regard, as a prospective franchisee, getting more information on a franchise business’s communication structure can help you gain a better understanding of how well organised and professional a franchise business is and discover successful franchise opportunities.
Director for franchise business, Ink on the Run, Anthony Davis was happy to share with us his insights into communication systems in place within a franchise business and his experiences when communicating with Ink on the Run franchisees.
Clear communication in a franchise business is critical to ensure the smooth running of operations and it’s not confined to the franchisor – franchisee conversation.
Within a franchise business there are two communication links that are essential to supporting franchisees effectively:
1. Between the franchisor; in particular dedicated field support team members - and franchisees
2. Franchisee to franchisee communication
Franchising is a distribution channel to get to market. A franchise business is like any distribution channel in that our franchisees are the face to face contact point for our customers buying our products. Collectively our franchisees spend more time with customers than we do, and so are invaluable sources of information for us to gauge how the brand is perceived by the target market. Having frequent opportunities for our franchisees to give us feedback ultimately allows us to do our job of providing strategy, marketing and the latest products better.
"It's vital that you do your homework and conduct a thorough due diligence before commmitting to buy a franchise ... "
Listening to franchisees is one communication flow in a franchise business; another key flow is the distribution of information to franchisees. Maintaining a regular line of communication between a franchisor and franchisee is critical for new franchisees as well as experienced veterans in the franchise business. Doing so ensures that new franchise owners don’t feel they have been thrown in the deep end without support. For more experienced franchise owners, regular meetings, phone calls and emails give the opportunity to remind franchisees of the essentials of the business, discuss new ideas, and of course gain feedback from their everyday experience with end customers.
At Ink on the Run, we do our best to keep franchisees abreast of the latest changes in the market. To do so we have regular structured email communications with emails going to franchisees on a weekly basis on topics such as the latest cartridges and new technologies available. Email is just one communication method and the frequency of email communication you will receive as a franchisee will depend on the type of system you join. For example a mortgage broking franchise will likely communicate more frequently as interest rates change frequently with different lenders while a fast food company may be in touch on a regular 6 weekly email cycle tying into their promotions cycle.
Franchise systems tend to overlook the importance of communication between franchisees.
Communication within a franchise business is not only confined to the franchisor – franchisee axis: providing a good platform to facilitate the communication between fellow franchisees will expand the knowledge base of each single franchise owner and make them feel like they are part of a team.
Ink on the Run utilise a franchisee online forum to ensure communication flows smoothly amongst franchise owners based in different locations. Originally the forum was set to act as a liaison between the franchisor and franchisee, although very quickly we discovered the benefits of the liaison between the franchisees.
The franchisee forum has proven to be a successful tool of knowledge sharing for franchise owners as they have the chance to discuss on a daily basis anything from tips on how to perform a job more efficiently to new product lines and improved ideas in selling.
Opening up the franchise owner to owner communication line significantly strengthened the support provided to franchise owners. Importantly it gave them the opportunity to share successful insights about job execution with fellow franchisees. Now, if a franchisee is having difficultly assisting a customer, they are able to ask questions of fellow franchisees through the forum and obtain the solution required.
It is this group problem solving and sharing of tips on how to overcome hurdles that tightens the intimacy of any franchise group.