Franchise Development is all about partnerships. The most effective and efficient franchise systems I have been involved with were fantastic at managing relationships, expectations and keeping things kosher with large networks. This is a skill, one that very few people have the ability to truly manage well, the ones who do are typically extremely successful in business and life.
At the core of franchising is the formation of small, individual partnerships. The partnership is defined by the franchisor/franchisee relationship and really the franchisor calls all of the shots from a legal standpoint - but the good ones will work WITH franchisees, not dictate based on the structure of the arrangement.
As franchise organizations grow and brands are developed, franchise companies attract a large amount of potential strategic partners. A strategic partner is an outside organization that aligns itself with a company in order to benefit both parties involved. This could be a marketing firm that discounts work or provides free branding work to a franchise system in return for an exclusive relationship with all of the franchisees within the system. Or a commercial real estate firm that provides discounted leases based on a preferred referral from a franchise system.
The possibilities for strategic partners in franchising are literally endless. Good franchisors and leaders of successful franchise models will go through some careful steps before choosing and selecting organizations to do business with as a strategic partner.
1. Actually Do Research - this includes more that just a Google Search, check out the company's background and successes vs. failures.
2. Verify their work - check a reference of the organization to ensure that they are who they say they are.
3. Validate that the strategic partner will bring value to your organization and that you will bring value to theirs. One sided partnerships don't tend to work out well.
4. Tread carefully with exclusivity - make sure that you aren't losing opportunities that are down the road by signing exclusive arrangements - in some cases these are warranted, in others they are not.
5. Market your Strategic Partnership - let everyone know about it, partnerships that were set up correctly are enormous value add to franchisees, customers and anyone considering doing business with your organization.
For more information on establishing, evaluating and managing strategic partnerships within franchise organizations, contact Franchise Marketing Systems - (800) 610-0292.