Q.

What’s the most common mistake first-time franchisees tend to make?

Author: Louise Harris

answered by Louise Harris

Franchise manager for easyStorage

Louise Harris writes:

First-time franchisees frequently think they’re asking too many questions. They’ve paid to join a ‘system’ and then forget that, if they don’t know the answer to something, it’s not only okay to ask it’s most likely critical they do.

The whole ethos of franchising is to learn from the franchisor, so it seems foolish not to use every ounce of the advice that’s available.

Franchising is an unusual relationship. It’s been likened to marriage and I think that’s the closest analogy, but in the very early stages there is, understandably, a parentchild approach.

If the franchisee understands that the franchisor needs the franchisee to be successful just as much as the franchisee needs to be successful, it should be a win-win.

Taking the view of ‘us and them’ rather than ‘let’s work together’ puts the relationship in imbalance - both parties need to have the opportunity to challenge the other in a ‘safe’ environment. The new franchisee should generally feel that the franchisor does know it all and has got great information to impart - and a system to follow. And then follow that system.

Louise Harris is franchise director of Wilkins Chimney Sweep. She sits on the British Franchise Association board and chairs the membership committee.

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