Zee & Zor Dispuptes (Part II)
This is a Continuation of Part One, published here on 4/2/07
How To Handle Disputes With Your Franchisor*(PART TWO)
Here's 11 more guidelines for How to Handle Disputes With Your Franchisor.
- Establish a good working relationship with an accountant and a lawyer. Whether or not their services are needed often, when needed it is always a crucial issue. Ask each professional questions in order to make sure financial and legal issues are understood and are being handled properly. Failing to get professional advice when needed (“I can do it myself, I know what I’m doing”), especially when motivated by a desire to save money, really does lead to bigger problems. There is a time to handle things on your own, but it is important to know when it is time to get and use professional advice.
- Many disputes (questions) with a franchisor can be worked out without too much trouble. A willingness to compromise is always helpful when resolving a dispute, but know when you have compromised enough. This requires knowing your position well, understanding the cost and other consequences of the options available for handling the dispute, and not accepting an option that is too costly (however “costly” might be defined).
- Do not make decisions based on emotions like anger, frustration, or self-pity. A decision made with the franchisor should be considered and accepted because it is the best decision available for handling the dispute. It is not necessary to be happy with the outcome of the decision, though. It is only necessary to make the best decision available and to then get on with business.
- If procedures are included in the franchise agreement for handling certain types of disputes, the dispute must be handled by that procedure. This is a contractual issue and will be enforced by the law.
- If remedies for certain franchise violations are described in the franchise agreement, these remedies are legally enforceable. The only real issue is whether a particular remedy applies to the situation.
- If a dispute cannot be worked out and the only option is to go into arbitration, then go into arbitration. However, go into arbitration prepared and willing to see the process through to the end. Whether or not the dispute can still be resolved before arbitration actually begins, or before the process is complete, some decisions require commitment and nothing less will do.
- If arbitration is not required in the franchise agreement, then go to court. The previous guideline applies to the decision to go to court in the same way as the decision to go into arbitration.
- Take everything seriously, but not personally (as much as possible). Both the franchisor and the franchisee who are in a bitter dispute can be wonderful people who are each loved by their family and friends. It may not seem possible, but an opponent in a legal dispute is rarely evil or “mean spirited.” They just have different interests and they see things differently from the perspective of their different interests. Besides, a much more effective case can be made by the person who sees their opponent clearly, instead of through a fog of anger and other emotion.
- Disputes are confrontational by nature. Many people who excel in business have no idea how to properly handle confrontation, although some think they do. There is no way to effectively handle any dispute unless you confront the problem and those people who disagree with you. Confrontation does not mean attacking, however. It means to face the situation and to deal with the situation. The only way to avoid confrontation is to surrender to the other side.
- Be informed, patient, persistent, and reasonable. Deal with things as they are, not as you wish they were. Confront problems and disputes. They do not go away because you ignore them or deny they exist. They only get worse.
- A failure to see any dispute with a franchisor through to its resolution will have bad consequences. There are no exceptions to this rule (only false hopes).
I hope you never have a dispute with your franchisor, but most likely at some point in the relationship you will. When you do, I hope you find these 21 Guidelines for How to Handle Disputes with your Franchisor to be helpful! Until next time...
Believe & Succeed,DaleFranSynergy, Inc.Synergizing Franchising!
* Taken from THE LAW & Your Franchise, a book specifically written for FranSynergy and the subscribers to The FranSynergy Franchise Service Package. by Kevin B. Johnson.