Greg Nathan's Franchise Relations Tip #3

Why Can Franchise Families Be Dangerous?

Here's a familiar scene. A franchisor CEO is talking to franchisees about the company's goals, vision and brand. The discussion includes a heartfelt reference to them being an important part of a “franchise family”. While the sentiment is noble, the family reference can be counter-productive and even backfire. Here's why, along with a better alternative.

In families blood is thicker than water. Whatever a person does, no matter how bad, they retain their place in the family. In franchising, a franchisee who does the wrong thing may be asked to leave. In serious cases legal action may also be taken against them.

Families in good shape don't sue each other

In families, people go on holidays and hang out together. There doesn't need to be a reason. When franchisees and franchisors get together there is (or should be) a purpose, an agenda and a

desired outcome. While these meetings may be pleasant, friendly and even fun, they have a business purpose, not a bonding purpose.

In families, we don't move mum or dad on because they weren't performing in their role. And we don't sell our kids (though we might want to at times!)  However franchisor executives and franchisees who aren't up for the role may legitimately be asked to move on. And most franchisees will sell their business sooner or later. In franchising moving people on is not a bad thing. Within limits, it can be a good thing as it brings in fresh talent and new perspectives.

Also, all franchise founders will leave their organisation at some stage. The more paternalistic these people have been, the tougher the transition will be for those remaining. Many franchisees will experience the loss of several leaders as their head offices evolve or change hands. The more they identify with being part of a family the more they are likely to feel abandoned and become cynical.

A better way – talk 'community' instead of family

A better way to retain the human feeling in your franchise network is to use the word “community” to describe your group. Communities share similar values and goals. People in communities look out for each other and treat each other with respect. And leadership changes in communities are seen as a normal and healthy process.

So don't welcome me to your franchise family. I already have a family thanks. But being part of your franchise community, that sounds great. Especially if it means I can work with like-minded people who share similar values and goals.

While we're talking about franchise relationships and learning communities, I'll be personally conducting one of our popular Profitable Partnership Boot Camps in Denver on May 25 & 26, 2010. I'd be thrilled if you and your team can join us.

Register for Profitable Partnerships Boot Camp! May 25 & 26 in Denver. Hope you can join us!

Greg Nathan
Managing Director
Franchise Relationships Institute

CFE LogoAttendees will earn 300 Education Credits towards completion of the
Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) accreditation or CFE re-certification
by attending this program.

Greg Nathan, Managing Director of Franchise Relationships Institute


Often described as the international thought-leader and expert on franchise relationships, no one understands the unique challenges and rewards inherent in the franchisee-franchisor relationship like Greg and his team of psychologists at Franchise Relationships Institute. They have spent the past 20 years researching the science of successful franchise relations.

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