How responsible are franchisees for their own success (or failure)?

LinkedIn logoI recently posted a question on Linkedin, “How responsible are franchisees for their own success (or failure)?”. The discussion was based upon an article posted on this site, “Get Off Your Ass for Business Success.”

Below please find several of the responses from a cross-section of non-industry professionals that I believe provides an interesting perspective. Certainly ones that may be different from franchise professionals that may be too far into the forest to actually see the trees, or of the franchisees that would rather point the finger of blame at someone else rather than at themselves. As I have done in the past, the names of the responding individuals will be kept confidential. Instead, they will only be identified by their Linkedin statement or profile.

The president of an HR consulting firm responded, “Franchising quickens the start-up of a new business operation with a systemized model. But in the end, a franchise is a business like any other. Each business owner is responsible for the success of their business. Drive, ambition, courage, determination and a keen focus on sales and marketing is critical. You reap what you sow.”

An operations manager from the telecommunications industry added, “I have the fortune of working with some great franchises in a manner where both the franchisees and the franchise are clients. As others have said, it is a combination of what is provided by the franchise and effort on the side of the franchisee. One could write a series of books on the subject, however I feel that proper guidance and training are more vital than even advertising when it comes to a good ratio of successful franchisees. Often I will see even the highest revenue producing franchisee left alienated by a brand, it is not uncommon for some franchisees to not even know who the current regional contact is for their brand until their is a problem. On the other hand I have seen franchises that provide complete packages for their franchisees including market research, technology like database, PBX, and websites, corporate trainers that are easy to contact and on a first name basis, and most importantly a feeling of partnership where the owner often makes contact for advice, ideas, and information. The right franchise provides two vital resources to a business owner: 1. Instant name recognition and consumer confidence. 2. Tools enough for a business owner to focus on growing his business and not burdened with reinventing solutions to common problems.”

Finally, an expert in the HR field stated, “They are totally responsible for their own success or failure. If the franchiser does not support them they have to remember they are the ones who made the decision to buy the franchise. They decided who to hire and to approve the location. If the system is not working then figure out what needs to happen and make it happen. When you buy a franchise you do not buy a job you buy a business. Would you let your employees blame it on you if they did not produce.”

Well, let’s not end the discussion here as I’m anxious to hear what franchise professionals and franchisees have to say. Please post your comments below. Thanks.

3 thoughts on “How responsible are franchisees for their own success (or failure)?

  1. What possible reason could there be for a person to buy a franchise if not that they should be more likely to succeed by their association with the franchisor?

    Due diligence can only take the most informed and analytical person so far. A person is not to blame if they make as informed a decision as they can based on reasonable and seemingly great information and validation from a franchise system, yet the business fails. There are to many external factors influencing conditions leading to failure to generalize at this level.

    Further, no sustained means of distribution (e.g. franchising) can exist without bringing a value to the end purchaser or intermediary in the supply chain that exceeds that which they could gain on their own. If they can get it on their own then spending any more for it would be irrational. So to think that the success of a franchisee falls totally on the franchisee just doesn’t make sense. The franchisor-franchisee relationship is symbiotic.

    Now there are franchisees who succeed in spite of the franchisors weak support or brand identity. But this does not prove up the notion that franchisee success or failure falls totally on their back. That speaks more to their talent and operational savvy.

    But not all franchisees are so capable and yet they are perfectly well suited to succeed in the right conditions. Afterall it is the franchisors who frequently state that the skills necessary to succeed are not characteristic of a pure independent operator (true entrepreneur).

    So when a franchisee fails and it can be seen they they could have done much more than they did to succeed (in retrospect) it is not an excuse to think that the franchisor may have been the one at least partially to let them down — particularly in the areas where they normally tout themselves as experts — namely in R and D, training systems, building brand name and systems.

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