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Print Confessions

By Graphic Arts Professionals

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Print Confessions is brought to you by Bill Farquharson and Kelly Mallozzi. Each week, read the thoughts of a different graphic arts professional who will share a point of view that can only be written anonymously, and then join in the conversation by posting a comment.

Franchise Obligation Is a Two-Way Street

Dear Franchisee:

It hasn’t been that long since you signed on the dotted line, paid a hefty franchise fee and committed to sending monthly royalty checks. I’ve got to believe you did this because you thought franchising would give you a better chance than going it alone, and you were right. At least you would have been, if you were now taking advantage of all those things you paid for.

Now that you are my “customer,” you think you are always right. You want a relationship that requires me to do all the giving and all the listening. If you would acknowledge that this is a partnership, if you would listen, too, here is what I’d tell you:

We know what we are doing. We’ve been doing it for years. Our model gets results when you follow it. If you need help, you have access to subject-matter experts at the corporate level, as well as fellow franchisees.

Instead, you have decided to go it alone. You make excuses for your lack of participation and tell us we don’t understand “your unique set of circumstances.” You may find it hard to believe, but your circumstances are no more unique than those of our other owners. The only thing that’s different is your (in)ability to ask for help, listen to advice and apply what your learn.

I guess your business experience in a completely different industry is all you need to succeed. Never mind the fact that you didn’t sell anything in the corporate world. Don’t worry that you don’t know the first thing about how to hire and manage sales people, or that you’ve never spent a day on the manufacturing floor. I’m sure all of your pricing is based on better profit models than we could ever provide and that you know exactly what to look for from the reports generated from your point of sales system.

If you are a conversion (from another franchise), don’t think twice about the fact that you were willing to change your name and give up part of your profit because what you were doing before joining us wasn’t working either.

I’m curious as to why you spent the money if you didn’t intend to use our programs, follow the processes and learn from your partners? What did you think you were paying for?

Instead of playing the role of an unhappy customer, did it ever occur to you that you could choose to be a contributing partner? You spend much of your time reminding my team what our obligations are; do you realize that obligation is a two-way street?

Our commitment is to offer systems, programs, procedures, marketing, training and support. We do this. In fact, we meet our obligations even when you don’t take advantage of them. We have developed and delivered exactly what you need. Our best franchisees see the benefits in what we offer and get results beyond what we ever imagined.

You complain about what we provide, saying it doesn’t work or it doesn’t apply. Worse yet, you just ignore it. What makes you so different? Forgive me for being blunt, but the only thing I can see is your lack of success.

If you don’t like me, it’s OK. All we have to do is change the perimeters of our relationship. You have all the power, and there are really only two choices to get a different result:
  1. Buy out of our agreement and go do this on your own. Yes, it will cost some money, but staying is costing you more. Cut your losses and prove us wrong. We wish you nothing but the best.
  2. Stop looking for what does not work and start applying what does. Take off your customer hat and start acting like a partner. Hold us to our obligations by meeting yours.

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