Seven Habits of Highly Successful Franchisors

I began consulting with franchisors in 1979. Several years later I interviewed numerous franchisors for my book Franchising: The Inside Story. Since that time I have worked with more than 100 franchisors internationally, and through my experiences I have gleaned the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Franchisors.

The list is by no means exhaustive. There are other habits. These 7 are reflective of my experiences in franchising and they may not be helpful to you. However, if I were buying a franchise, I'd look for franchisors who cultivate  these habits.

Here they are:

1. They don't sell what they wouldn't buy.

Successful franchisors not only believe in their business, they believe in the replication of their business. Their integrity mandates that they sell only a business system that they, too, are willing to buy . . . a system that provides franchisees a roadmap for success. 

2. They build the system before they sell it.

Successful franchisors understand that success in franchising revolves around systems. They develop and test their systems before they sell a business to franchisees. And they willingly continue to invest in their franchise system for the good of everyone associated with their business.

3. They manage the process.        

Successful franchisors take charge. From marketing to selling franchises, to training and supporting franchisees, to managing and developing their home office team, to building their business in a financially responsible manner so that they (and the franchisees) can earn a profit, successful franchisors understand the importance of managing the process. This is one of the most challenging habits to perform consistently and successfully because the process is constantly evolving and changing. Holding the line and making difficult decisions are part of managing the process successfully. The most successful team members respect a franchisor that understands and values this principle. . . and so do stockholders, customers and the media.

4. They show, they don't tell.

Successful franchisors don't talk about what their system will deliver some day . . . or the benefits they will eventually deliver to their team members. Given whatever limitations of resources they may have, they make things happen now. They see a need and they fill it. Perhaps not always as quickly as their team members desire, but team members trust that the successful franchisor will deliver. Successful franchisors "show" by introducing (at their expense) new ideas, new technologies, new systems, and new training. That's how they continue to demonstrate the value of their franchise.

5. They deliver on their promises.

Successful franchisors carefully develop their disclosure documents and franchise agreements to be certain that they don't mislead their franchisees, or anyone else. Similarly, they carefully craft their operations and training manuals, their brochures, literature, their Web site and communications to their team members to make certain that they can deliver on their promises. And whatever they promise to deliver, they do deliver. That doesn't always mean, by the way, that they are giving or bestowing or granting. Sometimes that means they are taking, especially that which belongs to them. Highly successful franchisors do not make empty promises. What they say they will protect, they must protect, and in particular they must protect their system for transacting business, and their brand. Franchisees and employees--all team members--depend on the franchisor to protect what's valuable to all of them. Top franchisees expect their franchisor to pro-actively enforce the franchise agreement and all systems and standards of the business because otherwise the franchisor makes itself vulnerable and risks its own demise.

6. Their integrity matters more than their bottom line.

Highly successful franchisors strive to do what's right for the franchisees . . . period. That means that sometimes they make decisions that do not favor their bottom line. They do what's right, even when they didn't promise it, because they value their integrity. They understand that a franchise relationship is built on trust. That all they really have to sell is their reputation, and that the only way they will continue to motivate their team and continue their forward progress is by protecting their integrity.

7. They don't blame the franchisees.

Successful franchisors realize that they selected their franchisees. There are many franchise prospects and they could have selected others, but they selected their franchisees. No one forced them to sell a franchise to anyone. They profiled their candidates and determined which ones would be best for their business. They understand that business comes with no guarantees. They know that things go wrong. It's easy for a franchisee to fall on hard times. But when business isn't prosperous, successful franchisors don't blame the franchisees. They constantly ask: What could we have done better? What can we do better? And they go about getting it done without blaming the franchisees.

Based on my experiences, successful franchisors cultivate these habits, and when they do they cultivate successful franchisees.

John P. Hayes, Ph.D., author and speaker, has written the Franchise Pre-Investment Checklist to help you thoroughly research franchise opportunities. The FPIC makes it easy to understand how to search for and evaluate franchises. You can purchase a downloadable copy now at where you can also subscribe to John's free newsletter. In a future blog John will discuss the 7 Habits of Highly Successful Franchisees. He has presented the "Habits" speech at numerous franchise conventions in recent years.    

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Every Zor should follow these rules

Excellent blog. Please send them to the known bad zors that have been mentioned on BMM. John you need to teach them your principles.

Hayes Is Right

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