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One of the trickier parts of navigating the Canadian franchisee experience can be the relationship you have with your franchisor. With all the numbers and details, it's all too easy for this crucial communication pathway to get lost in the crowd. How well you are able to communicate with and get help from your franchisor will impact your success overall, so here are some key points to remember.
Set the tone straight out of the gate
Before you've signed the franchise agreement, try to get a feel for how the franchisor-franchisee relationship works in the system. Speak to current franchisees and find out how often they interact with the franchisor and how available their point of contact is when it comes to guidance and question answering. If you get the feeling that there just isn't a lot of willingness on the franchisor's part, it's probably best to start looking at other opportunities.
Establish ground rules
Once you've signed the franchise agreement, speak to your point of contact from the franchisor so you know exactly what he or she is there for. Find out if he or she is available for questions and when. For example, can you ask any time or is it a set schedule, like once per month? Ask if there are any resources or training materials he or she has that could be helpful to you. When you lay down the foundation of the relationship upfront with each party clearly understanding the expectations, you'll be off to a good start.
Keep in contact
Many times, franchisors hear from their franchisees only when things aren't going well. However, it is important to keep the doors open, so check in occasionally - even if it's just email - to share the good things with your franchisor. You want to stay on your franchisor's radar so they consider you when opportunities come up, and that's not going to happen if your only contact with them is always bad news.
Become more involved
The more your franchisor notices you, the more good things that could come your way. Get involved, such as by joining a franchisee mentoring program or taking part in the planning and running of a conference. Look for opportunities to become a bigger and more active part of the system.
As with any other relationship, how you work with your franchisor will require effort from both parties. Do your part by following the tips above and sticking to the company's guidelines.